I recently taught a digital and social media course at HKU SPACE. My students came from diverse backgrounds. Among them were current marketers who intend to learn more about the profession. There were also others without a marketing background and just wanted to learn the basics. Faced with the challenge of having a mixed audience, I decided to revamp the entire course content. I’ve included new theoretical frameworks and supplemented traditional theories with real-life case studies.
Good marketing is not simply talking about your brand.
A value proposition isn’t a new buzz word. In essence, it isn’t about finding the strengths of a brand within the needs of its customers, which competitors may or may not have. The usual marketing approach may be hackneyed. Although the brand is good, and the marketing agency is experienced, many may fall into the ruse of self-promotion. They have listed the features of their brands. But it appears that they pray and hope that the outcome is desirable as if awaiting one’s destiny or to strike the lottery. My question to you is: have you truly evaluated your brand from the customer’s perspective?
Is your brand a pain reliever?
Alex Osterwalder‘s books on business are worth reading. One of his books on Value Proposition Design is also well-suited for marketing. In that book, he illustrates a Value Proposition Canvas, where a brand is represented on the left of the diagram and the customer on the right.
I suppose that the marketers of every brand can rattle off a list of functions of their products and services. But how well can they relate these to the needs of customers and the things that they want to be solved? Or are brands simply flooding the customer with all their product benefits to create an illusion that their product is what customers are missing in their lives? Even if the actual problem is met with the product’s features, are your customers’ emotional needs considered?
When customers look for a product or service, they have one or more pain points that they are keen to solve. When the brand is a pain reliever to these pain points, there is a perfect match. The right marketing content, message, and strategy would follow accordingly. The product should help solve these pain points and offer extra benefits that the customers are looking for and BINGO!
The Value Proposition Canvas is not just a theoretical framework. It’s very handy in practice. As an agency, our company uses it to conduct and discuss researches about our customers from time to time. This is to make our marketing messages well-tailored to target our customers more strategically. Marketers should spend time reading this book carefully.
As a lecturer who works hard for his clients every day, and armed with the academic theories of marketing in this new era, I suppose I can also say that I have found my own Value Proposition.