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How to become more interesting

Boring marketing costs you 7x more than being interesting. Provoke a response from your Buyers by becoming ‘newsworthy’: Relevant, Urgent, Specific and Surprising.
How to become more interesting

Creating your Value Proposition

Value is a slippery beast. Obviously the Buyer decides if you’ve added value or not. Previously, I’ve shared that value most often can be found in ‘How’ you help the Buyer get their Jobs done. It doesn’t lie in promises about how much better your widget is vs competition. It sits fairly and squarely in the experience of the Buyer and if they can get their painful and frustrating Jobs done more efficiently with your help, or not.

These two blog posts [10 & 11] go into some detail about Value and how it can be discovered. Spoiler alert – it comes from sensitive customer discovery work following the Jobs to be Done methodology. Our Webinar on Value Propositions goes into a lot more detail about it too.

So in this post I’d like to share an approach Elysian Fields uses to create and evaluate Value Propositions.

The first step of Value Proposition creation, made popular by Strategyzer, is to match the Value the product offers with the specific Jobs, Pains, Gains of the buyer. Our Webinar on Value Propositions goes into this process in some depth, so I won’t spell it out here. 

Instead I’d like to skip to the good bit – the matching of the ‘New Thing’ you create in your product and accompanying customer success work, and the ‘How’ gap.

The ‘How’ gap is the space between where your Buyer is at in their Job ambitions, and where they’d like to be. 

What this means is that they have a Job to the Done, such as rolling out a Learning and Development (L&D) Programme for their company’s employees. They have measures of success and some idea of the People, Processes and Platforms they may need to get that Job done. This is a large Job, and it will involve multiple Job Steps; those stages of the process they will follow to get the Job done. Read more about Job Steps and how to break down and evaluate Jobs in this post.

In our Unfair Advantage Sprint we help you a) find out what the ‘how’ gap is for each Segment, and b) discover what your ‘New thing’ is. Your Product or Service’s ‘new thing’ is the newsworthy innovation you’ve created. You can learn about how we do this in this blog post.

The point is that your Value Proposition will be constructed from insights and strategic discoveries through the Unfair Advantage Sprint process. It’s assembled – like Lego pieces. This is both efficient and reassuring, as you won’t miss communicating something important. 

Your Value Proposition will read like this:

  • Our [new thing]
  • Helps [Persona]
  • Who want to [most important Jobs]
  • By removing [most important Pains]
  • And increasing [most important Gains]
  • Unlike [the Alternative and Workarounds they’ve favoured to date]

Now, this is efficient but generally pretty dull to read. This isn’t a public facing statement, but one that provides the accuracy behind a Positioning. What you say, and how you say it, will be judged by how well it communicates this statement of Value.

It’s worth pointing out that this statement will be validated through all the customer interviews you’ve done. In our process the interviews are transcribed so Jobs, Pains, Gains etc are identified, assigned to Segments, and their frequency quantified. Their importance is ascribed through the process described in this blog post.

Evaluating your Value Proposition

So, how do you evolve your Value Proposition so it’s not the boring statement above?

This is the process of creative Positioning. We’ve collectively decades of experience in creative marketing working with some of the world’s largest brands. So the process we follow has been honed for fast growth tech businesses who need B2B marketing that is exciting and relevant.

How it works

We take the raw information in the Value Proposition and put it through a creative process to discover something provocative to say. 

In this blog post I go through the process of Ηow to be Provocative.

Here’s what we look for:

  1. Relevant: “You know me”

Relevancy can be tested by first, ranking the importance of the Buyer’s Jobs and aligning your product or service to them and second, completing this statement: “Now you can…”

This is a website headline that talks to how the Buyer can now get the Job done that they’re struggling to get done.

Let’s take the L&D programme example above. A statement might read: “Now you can devise and deliver a L&D programme for your company in days, not months”. This is relevant to the buyer’s Jobs and highly specific…

  1. Specific: “That’s what I need”

In the The Art and Business of Online Writing, copywriter Nicholas Cole says “The broader you are the more confusing you are”. 

Think back to the endless scrolling you’ve had to do to work out what some companies actually do, and critically, how it could help you. Vague promises about changing the future of X or reinventing Y do not help. They are a bad case of a poorly crafted company strategy leaking through to customer copy. Poor customers!  

So, being specific takes time and insight. The final elevator pitches our clients receive are specific: Why this problem, Why you, and Why now. This simplicity leads to headlines like the one above – relevant and clear. 

  1. Urgent: “We need this now”

Most sales pitches lack urgency. We know that for our clients, time is ticking: every day without increased clarity and focus leads to lost sales and diminishing investment or IPO potential.

The trick is to talk to your buyer’s High Ranking Jobs: important, tangible and unsatisfied. These are ‘burning platforms’ in their business. Make your promised results achievable within a set time frame and create a customer success programme to deliver it.

Every B2B buyer needs to increase efficiency, increase performance (time, leads, revenue, retention) and decrease costs (time, money). Urgency can be found in missed revenue, missed opportunity costs, actual costs or competitor performance, to name a few. If you can find a way to show how your widget gets the Buyer’s Job done quicker and easier, delivering the outcome sooner, you’re in the right area. 

For example, learning platform Thinkific uses opportunity cost. It features a calculator showing how much course creators could earn if they hosted courses with them. Big numbers prompt faster action, providing they’re credible with examples of how it has been done before. 

  1. Surprising: “Oh wow! They’re different”

Boring marketing costs you more. 

Consultant Peter Field has found evidence of this in the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s database of 20 years of advertising effectiveness case studies. In this detailed and validated data set Peter has found that ‘emotional’ and ‘exciting’ marketing works 7x better than ‘dull’. That’s an immediate 7x effectiveness boost from the messaging alone. Often creative messaging loses out to media optimisation in marketing priorities. 7x suggests it shouldn’t.

So dullness costs real money. A lot more money. To increase effectiveness B2B marketers can take a leaf from some great B2C marketing campaigns and add humour, energy and excitement to your story. 

We find that being provocative helps. 

Provoking a response requires that a) you know what the audience thinks and b) you know what the category says. The opportunity is to kill those category ‘sacred cows’ and find ways to get Buyer Jobs done in new, more effective ways. 

For example, Salesforce launched with “Die software die” and made a massive stir. But since then it has become pretty boring. Oatly proclaimed its oat drink is “Like milk, but made for humans”. When dairy industry bodies around the world complained they enjoyed free publicity. 

Becoming ‘newsworthy’ means being Relevant, Urgent, Specific and Surprising. News stories are about the human impact of events. News is about (mostly dramatic) stories that affect the lives of people, organisations and the economy. We work with PR professionals and journalists to create newsworthy positions for our clients. The trick is to be bold enough to deliver them!

Take action now.

Time is ticking! We’ll get you from ordinary to provocative in 8 weeks. Get in touch today

Do you want to run the Unfair Advantage Sprint yourself?

Our webinar series covers these topics and more about the Unfair Advantage Sprint  – watch them all here before we put them behind a highly profitable paywall 😉

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