The market for managed print services is a competitive one and businesses looking to secure a larger share of the market need to find ways to differentiate their offering from competitors. A relatively cost-effective way to set your business apart is creating a compelling value proposition which accurately and concisely communicates the value of your solution to prospects and customers. There are no hard and fast rules for creating your MPS value proposition, but we put together some best practices to help you develop a clear value statement about your product.
What is a value proposition?
There are countless definitions of what constitutes a good value proposition. Here are a few of the definitions we consulted when putting together our best practices for crafting an effective value statement:
- A statement that clearly identifies what benefits a customer will receive by purchasing a particular product or service from a particular vendor.1
- A positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well.2
- A business or marketing statement that a company uses to summarize why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.3
Remember the Five Ws – who, what, where, when and why? These are often taught in journalism programs and used in research methodologies as a way of gathering information for a complete story on a subject. All of the above definitions use at least one of the Five Ws, but the three key ones you should consider in your own value proposition are who, what and why.
Who do you want to sell your solution to? What does your solution do? Why should your target audience be interested in your solution? There are four components of a good value proposition that will help you answer these questions in a clear and impactful manner: a specific audience, a defined goal, clear tactics and key differentiators.
Why you need a value proposition
Whether you are launching your MPS program for the first time or revamping an existing one, it's important that you have a defined value statement about your managed print solution. Apart from your solution, your value proposition is the foundation of your business.
People often find value propositions difficult to write and rightly so – how are you supposed to communicate all of that information in a simple statement? Given that you can also expand the message to create advertising, guide your sales pitches and create numerous content offerings such as webinars and eBooks, it comes as no surprise that they're so daunting to create.
You may think that a value proposition is intended exclusively for your prospects and customers, but it's also an excellent tool to use internally. A good value statement identifies what your businesses’ strategic focus is – if your statement lacks focus or is unclear in any way, it's usually a good indication that you and your team need to revisit your goals for your MPS program. Without an accurate value proposition, your program is like a ship adrift at sea without a map – you may have a compass to guide you, but you do not have a clear direction.
There are no hard and fast rules for crafting your value proposition, but here are some best practices to guide you through the writing process.
- Keep it concise. A strong value proposition should not be a lengthy block of text that is difficult for a prospect or customer to get through. When it comes to value statements, remember that less is more. A short and clear statement is easier for people to remember and in a competitive MPS market where providers are often trading in the attention of prospects, being memorable is essential.
- Be specific. One of the worst things you can do when writing your value proposition is keep it broad. You may be inclined to do so because you want to address a large audience or make your solution appeal to a larger target market, but if it's too vague, no one will be able to identify the benefits of your solution.
- Choose your words wisely. Simplicity is key when crafting your value proposition. Try to avoid being wordy as you run the risk of alienating the audience you're addressing if they need to get out a dictionary to understand your value statement. Similarly, use industry-specific language or words that your target audience would use. You want your value proposition to resonate with them, so make sure they can easily understand you.
- Don’t be afraid to be witty. B2B companies don’t often use humour in their business communications in the same way that B2C companies do, but some of the most impactful and memorable value propositions involve a play on words or form.
For example, Bitly’s previous “Shorten. Share. Measure” is an example of form playing into function. Known for link shortening, their statement mimics the service they offer, making it clever and memorable. Similarly, Apple’s “Light. Years ahead” is a play on the common phrase, but using the period makes it a memorable statement about two key features of their MacBook: it’s light-weight and the technology is advanced. Don’t be afraid to embrace some of these strategies when you are crafting your own value proposition.
Although there are countless best practices and recommended strategies for writing an effective value proposition, it comes down to one fundamental question: what is the promise you want to deliver to your customers? Once you have identified the value you offer, you can write a statement that conveys this to prospects and customers so they know who you are and what you can do for them.
Download our free Value Proposition Worksheet to guide you through the writing process. The worksheet will help you craft a value proposition that speaks to your target audience and tells them what they will get with your offering.