Be Who You Are

It’s Your Value Proposition, Stupid!

The missing link in too many strategies is the master link.


Have you ever walked into a store and said “I’m buying brand X because they have the best scientists?”

How about “I’m going to buy this car because the maker has an outstanding leadership development program?”

What about “I’m buying from them because they are going to double the size of the company in 5 years?”

Probably not.

When we are customers, we buy based on a really strange thing called a value proposition. That is to say that we buy something because it is worth more to us than the time and money it takes to (a) buy it in particular and (b) buy it or anything else from someone else in general.  That’s it.  That’s how you win.

The crazy thing, however, is that I see corporate and business strategies spending less than an iota of time defining a true value proposition. They instead tend to focus on internal capabilities or realities and pose them as value propositions.

Have you ever seen this?

“Our strategy is to be great at business to business sales.”

Okay, fine, but does the customer who actually buys from you really care?

“Our strategy is to use our impeccable R&D capabilities to drive innovation.”

Um, maybe, but unless you sell R&D services, the customer doesn’t buy R&D from you, they buy a different product or service.

I’ll leave this one shorter than it needs to be: Your value proposition is what wins you business. Your strategy has to encompass your value proposition. Sure, it can also encompass other competitive advantages like operations, unique skills, or low-cost assets; but if you cannot articulate your value proposition (which may very well be delivered via your competitive advantages) to the customer, then your strategy is probably a waste of space.

Are you wondering why your growth strategy isn’t resulting in growth? Are you struggling to figure out why your customer acquisition strategy isn’t acquiring customers? Are you clueless about why your operations strategy hasn’t given you the boost you expected?

Then, check their links to the value proposition you are delivering to the market.

It’s your value propositions to the customers you hope to serve that determine your success…and too often the customer value proposition is disregarded in favor of some internal, known, but altogether insufficient drivers of success.

Your value proposition is far too often both the master link of your strategy, and the missing link.

Mind your value proposition, stupid.

What do you think? 

1 reply
  1. George Palmer
    George Palmer says:

    In a BTB (specialty materials) business, we used to say “how will I help my customer maker more money” (by buying from me). Seems like it fits with your ethic.


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