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Apr 17, 2012

Marketing Research Chart: Top-rated tactics for developing value propositions that resonate and convert

SUMMARY: Our research finds that 69% of B2B firms have established value propositions, which clearly communicate what your company does, and the unique benefits you have over the competition.

In this week’s chart, see what 1,745 B2B marketers said were the most successful tactics for developing effective value propositions that resonate and convert.
by Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager

“Clarity” rated top tactic in developing effective value propositions

Q. Please select the top tactics for developing the most effective value proposition for your organization.

View Chart Online

Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart

MarketingSherpa is part of the MECLABS Group. MECLABS is a science lab that uses real-world research to help business leaders get better use out of sales and marketing technology and resources, including Internet marketing, website optimization, and lead generation and nurturing.

As part of its expertise, MECLABS focuses on best practices for developing and optimizing value propositions, and has set the following criteria for success.

A value proposition should define the key reason why your company is the best choice for your ideal customer. It should clearly communicate what your company does, and the unique benefits you have over the competition.

Essentially, a value proposition should answer the following questions in a clear, concise manner:

  1. What does your company do?

  2. Why should buyers who meet your ideal customer profile buy from you, and not one of your competitors?

Most B2B organizations understand the importance of value propositions, and have defined them for one or more of their products or services — but are they following best practices for developing effective value propositions? To answer this, we have displayed the results in the above chart.

Coming in at the bottom of the list, with only 20% of respondents, is the best practice of testing value propositions through various media. Many organizations have defined value propositions, but this data indicates that organizations may not test them as often as they should.

After all, how will you know if a value proposition is the most effective for your organization, if you don’t test it?

The list of most effective tactics includes MECLABS best practices – clearly explaining the value of your product or service, and clearly explaining to ideal customers why your solution should be chosen over the competition. By executing these top two tactics, organizations will answer the two key questions (mentioned above) in developing value propositions.

Competitive research appears lower on the list, but is required to execute the second-most effective tactic. Organizations cannot really explain to ideal customers why their solution should be chosen over the competition without first conducting competitive research.

For additional research data and insights about B2B marketing, download and read the free Executive Summary from the MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report: Research and Insights on Attracting and Converting the Modern B2B Buyer.

Useful links related to this research

Optimization Summit 2012

Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts

Transparent Marketing: How to make your product claims credible … not incredible

Value Prop: Is there true value in your marketing proposition?

See Also:

Comments about this Chart

Apr 17, 2012 - kevin dubrosky of Private Marketing Consultant says:
Thanks for your latest report. I found it interesting. I do have a problem with your results, however: With all due respect, to suggest that such a large percentage of companies involved in this study/survey actually even have a true, distinct, differentiated value proposition is a gross exaggeration. Any industry - or should I say - EVERY industry is absolutely full of me-too companies that sincerely believe they are bringing unique value to market, but are in fact simply copying what everyone else is doing. Pick any industry, and try to identify five companies that are trying to bring something truly unique to market, and you'll have a challenge on your hands. I respect the goal of the study, and the diligence of the MECLABS people involved, but unfortunately, in a survey situation, every participating respondent company feels that they are amazing when it comes to possessing and promoting a unique value proposition, but the reality is very different. To illustrate, I recently surveyed eighty business owners within a specific industry, and asked them if they felt they were bringing unique value to market, and communicating that unique value well. Unsurprisingly, 77.7% thought they were doing an "average", "strong", or "very strong" job of doing just so. However, when I analyzed the online marketing efforts of that 77.7%, I saw ZERO true differentiation among them. Zero. They had their own vivid perceptions of it, but their viewpoint was not even close to reflecting reality. My point is, you can't ask people about this subject of differentiation, and expect to take their input seriously. It's an area that is particularly fraught by skewed self-evaluation. Again, I respect your intentions, and would love to see you carry out a true 3rd-party study on the subject of differentiation. Not survey-based, like this one.

Apr 18, 2012 - Bob Kemper of MECLABS says:
Kevin, thanks for stepping in and making a couple of great observations. There’s no question that the blind acceptance of survey respondents’ self-assessments of the quality (or even validity) of their own company or product value propositions would be irresponsible. Perhaps in the pursuit of editorial über word-economy, the Summary over-stepped and lost some nuance of meaning in the phrase “…have established value propositions.” Fortunately, your challenge offers a great opportunity to add back the clarity that was lost. What the highlighted question does do is offer insight about what the professional marketers who responded to the survey believe to be the best ways of approaching the discovery of “Company Value Proposition,” and that 69% of respondents stated that their B2B firms took a conscious and formal approach to that discovery for their own organizations. How sophisticated were they in those efforts, and how thorough were they in soundly applying the principles? There are actually a few clues offered by other, complementary survey questions that do provide at least directional insights there, but as you said, self-reporting (particularly in the context of a self-selection sample survey) is far from justifying any grand declarations about the share of companies that presently objectively “have” unique and compelling value propositions. So, again, Kevin, I appreciate your direct, yet gracious challenge to the inadvertent connotation of that editorially oversimplified (and consequently overreaching) inference. I’m grateful, as are we all at MECLABS, for the investment of thoughtful reflection and time, both by enriching our content through your own experience and insights, and by keeping us from getting complacent about the balance of clarity and economy in our editorial process. Cheers, Bob Kemper, Director of Sciences, MECLABS

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