Valuable Message For Entering New Markets
It’s no secret that a strong Value Message is crucial for entering new markets and launching products, as it communicates why your company, brand, or product is uniquely appropriate and beneficial for that audience. But crafting a strong Value Message requires more than good writing skills; it requires fact-based market intelligence and a disciplined process.
This article describes a proven methodology and tools for crafting a strong Value Message and support points.
NOTE: We prefer the term Value Message to Value Proposition, because it is simpler and clearer. Business Insider reported, “Value propositions may be the most misunderstood element in newly formed startups.”
#1: GATHER MARKET INTELLIGENCE
The first step is to fully understand the audience and the dynamics of the market. What does your audience need and want? What problems or pain points do they experience? Are there new trends causing them to be concerned or ready to take action?
Go into the market and talk with current and potential customers. Without a deep and empathetic understanding of your audience, you won’t be able to craft a Value Message that will connect with them. Also, you may learn there is a better audience or different way to segment the market.
#2: ASSESS COMPETITORS
The second step is to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and focus of the companies competing in the market. This assessment should include both current and potential new competitors. The goal is to identify gaps that your company, brand, or product might address in the market.
You can find information about competitors from industry reports and published research and articles. Company websites, 10K reports, and new product announcements offer a wealth of information. Trade shows are a great place to research an industry, too.
#3: EXAMINE INTERNAL FACTORS
In addition to examining the market, competitors and potential audiences, it is vital to examine the strengths and weaknesses of your internal organization. Does your organization have the resources and expertise to deliver on compelling Value Messages? Will you have to reconfigure or revamp your products and/or services to address an unmet need in the marketplace?
It’s important to be impartial and objective when examining internal factors. We recommend using an outside consultant or advisor to conduct this examination and assessment. (It’s hard to be objective about yourself.)
#4: MAP VALUE OPPORTUNITIES
The next step is to determine what to say in the Value Message. The Value Message statement should be concise and clear. It is best to focus on one value (or benefit) rather than multiple values (or benefits), so it will be simpler and clearer.
We utilize the Value Map Model developed by Robert Goldberg, head of Rocket Market Development’s strategy practice, to determine the optimal Value Message and support points. This model organizes the market, audience, and competitive information gathered in the earlier steps into one framework with:
· Value Categories
· Audience(s) Needs and Wants
· Product, Brand, or Company Features
· Benefits of These Features
Importantly, the model identifies whether each feature is a Table Stake or a Differentiator. Table Stakes (features currently offered by competitors) don’t add much value and shouldn't be part of the core message. Differentiators (features NOT offered by competitors) will help your product/brand/company gain traction in the market.
For example, virtually every new car has four to six cup-holders, so it would unwise to communicate the presence of cup-holders to support a Value Message of “a smartly designed commuter car.”
NOTE: Value Maps are also extremely useful for product strategy, Research & Development, organization alignment, and pricing decisions.
Our client wanted to introduce an online marketplace connecting job seekers with employers in a highly specialized field. Internal factors were financial resources and technical expertise. After gathering market intelligence and assessing competitors, we created this Value Map.
From this Value Map, it was easy to identify what was both unique and important to their audience of job seekers. Current competitors only offered resources for finding jobs. No company offered resources for finding project work in this field. This insight led to both the WHAT and WHY of the Value Message, which was phrased:
By following a fact-based and disciplined approach, you can craft strong Value Messages. It does take more time than a creative writing exercise, but the valuable results are worth it.
If you’d like to talk more about how this approach might be valuable for your company, please contact me at: email@example.com