The value proposition is not just the responsibility of the CEO.
Because for truly effective marketing, value communication must happen at many levels.
To inspire your own value-infused marketing, here are examples from Montefiore Health System, a digital marketing agency, real estate brokerage, and online high school.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
When many marketers hear the term value proposition, they think of one all-encompassing thing – the overall value proposition of the company. If you think of value prop that way, it can be easy to feel like you have no say or control.
However, the value proposition isn’t just one big thing, it is a spectrum, according to MECLABS Institute’s methodology (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa). There are four essential levels of value proposition on that spectrum:
In this article, we’ll give you an example of how marketers like you handled each level of value prop.
An online high school partnered with MECLABS Institute to determine how to increase the conversion rate on its website.
Like many brands, the company focused on having a short mobile page, thinking that visitors would not care to read something too long. (It should be noted, when this experiment was shared in How to Amplify the Power of Your Value Proposition, some attendees thought this relatively page should have even less copy).
Creative Sample #1: Original (control) mobile webpage for online high school (has been anonymized)
The MECLABS team hypothesized that page length wasn’t the issue, but rather value communication. They created a webpage that more thoroughly communicated the primary value proposition of the online high school. In so doing, they created a webpage that was significantly longer.
Creative Sample #2: New (treatment) mobile webpage for online high school (has been anonymized)
The MECLABS team conducted an experiment, running the original (control) and new (treatment) landing pages against each other in an A/B split test. By intensifying the force of the value proposition on the page, the treatment drove a 32% relative increase in conversion.
You can learn more about this experiment in How to Amplify the Power of Your Value Proposition from MarketingExperiments (MarketingSherpa’s sister publication).
It’s easy to forget that our company’s homepage is a vital, real-time communication mechanism. To use a brick-and-mortar analogy, it should be less like a bank façade – stolid and granite – and more like a roadside stand where signs for “fresh and juicy peaches” give way to “homemade apple pie” as the seasons change.
But during the start of the pandemic – and still today – I was shocked by how many homepages made no reference to Covid-19. If you looked at the homepage for many companies in industries hard-hit by the pandemic – like travel and tourism – you would think nothing had changed. But in reality, many current and potential customers visiting those sites likely wondered how the pandemic would affect their use of that product. They had new anxieties; anxieties that were being ignored.
For a golden lesson in how to react to a massive jolt to society, let’s take a look at a company that was in the eye of the storm in the early days of the pandemic – Montefiore Health System. The hospital system’s team had three prospect-level value propositions it needed to communicate: to inform patients with Covid-19 that it could help them, to inform patients without Covid-19 that it was still open for their needs as well and could keep them safe from Covid-19, and to let employees know they are valued.
“As the pandemic rapidly spread throughout New York, completely shutting down the state and life as we traditionally knew it, we had to transform our website and quickly build a Covid-19 platform that would help service patients’ questions and concerns,” said Loreen Babcock, CMO, Montefiore Health System.
This was a new and unprecedented challenge and the team needed to move quickly to communicate with their community. They mobilized all resources – including agency partners and consultants – and built a Covid-19 microsite in both English and Spanish featuring Covid-19 visitor policies, FAQs (frequently asked questions), a hotline, online doctor’s visits, a news hub, and a gratitude page with a live social media feed.
Creative Sample #3: Hospital’s Covid-19 microsite
The home page featured a prominent link to the microsite.
Creative Sample #4: Hospital homepage with link to Covid-19 microsite
The microsite included essential information to inform the community about Covid-19, but it also included information for patients who did not have Covid-19 but wanted to know the hospital’s procedures for avoiding the spread of the coronavirus while they were treated for other ailments at the hospital.
Creative Sample #5: Hospital’s COVID-SAFE Care webpage
Herein lies a great lesson for every marketer – how can you clearly communicate the impact of the pandemic (or other newsworthy events) on the use of your products and services specifically? What is the prospect-level value proposition during this difficult time for each prospect type (which can include different customer segments, but also partners, distributors, retailers, vendors, employees, regulators, etc.)? And how can you reduce customer anxiety with information about steps your company is taking to reduce health, financials, and other risks for customers?
Montefiore-Einstein was featured prominently in news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as a major treatment center filled with Covid-19 patients. Without clear information about the procedures in place to avoid spread of the novel coronavirus, potential patients for other procedures and treatments might be unsure if it was safe for them to book an appointment…or if the hospital was even treating other conditions at the time.
In addition to being featured prominently on the Covid-19 microsite, the COVID-SAFE Care page was linked to from an alert bar at the top of every page of the website, including the homepage, so if potential patients had any questions or anxiety about Covid-19 transmission during their treatment they could easily find information before they booked an appointment. They could also clearly see that all locations were open, the hospital system is currently booking appointments, and that they could even choose a doctor video visit if they preferred to not make an in-person appointment.
Creative Sample #6: COVID-SAFE Care alert bar at the top of hospital website
In addition to the Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patient audiences, the hospital system had an audience of employees – the healthcare workers treating patients and putting their lives at risk during the pandemic.
“Montefiore-Einstein believes the time for tribute is now. Not later. The time for inspiration and recognition is now. And it’s forever. This is a very significant healthcare crisis. But the significance of what every healthcare worker does for New York City and the world, so selflessly, continually, cannot be overstated,” Babcock said.
The microsite included a gratitude section honoring these modern-day heroes with modern-day art.
Creative Sample #7: Gratitude section of hospitals’ Covid-19 microsite
“The current outpouring of appreciation for New York’s healthcare workers has been truly humbling. Our community’s grace and optimism in the face of hardship inspires us every day. So many have cheered and honored our heroes, through letters, drawings, art, videos, deliveries (food, donations, etc.) and are giving to support our Covid-19 efforts, Montefiore-Einstein thanks them by highlighting their efforts through this page,” Babcock told me. “It’s another way for our healthcare heroes to see the endless gratitude folks continue to send them, keeping them motivated every single day.”
The communication was a two-way street. Not only did Babcock’s team facilitate communication to healthcare workers, it used its social media channels to communicate from healthcare workers as well.
The Stay Strong video series offered guidance from Montefiore-Einstein experts on Covid-19 topics like symptoms, testing, treatment, handwashing, elderly care and family care. The video series garnered tens of thousands of views on the microsite and the Montefiore-Einstein YouTube channel with, for example, a Spanish-language video about Covid-19 symptoms garnering 46,044 views as of the writing of this article.
Beyond the communication of information, the hospital’s social media channels also communicated the sheer humanity of the situation. For example, a video of Montefiore-Einstein’s nurses dancing to celebrate a patient taken off a ventilator. “This video includes the theme song selected by Montefiore-Einstein to play during the height of Covid-19 (‘Empire State of Mind’) each time a patient was taken off a ventilator. This video has reached nearly 500,000 people (organic) on social, was included in Alicia Keys tribute video on BET, and was tweeted by Alicia Keys as well,” Babcock said.
Creative Sample #8: Social media video of nurses celebrating when a Covid-19 patient is taken off a ventilator
Appreciation for healthcare workers wasn’t limited to the microsite. Montefiore-Einstein collaborated with artist Tristan Eaton on a large-scale mural along New York’s “Canyon of Heroes” that captured the nurses’ heroism. The team used the Canyon of Heroes theme in a video that has garnered 5,189,282 views on YouTube as of the writing of this article.
“Right now, we cannot come together to celebrate in public,” Babcock said. “We can’t throw a true ticker-tape parade – but we can throw one digitally.”
Creative Sample #9: Video from hospital thanking nurses for their service
The campaign included a Nurses are Heroes website that leverage Eaton’s artwork and allowed visitors to create their own custom hero image.
The entire integrated campaign – including Montefiore-Einstein’s Nurses Week Mural, “Canyon of Heroes” video, Covid-19 microsite/gratitude page, and Covid-19 patient discharge videos has garnered more than 2.2 billion impressions across print, digital, broadcast, out-of-home, and social (both paid and organic). The campaign has received media coverage from Adweek, NPR (National Public Radio), GMA (Good Morning America), The Washington Post, The Daily News, Bloomberg, and other media outlets.
“We believe, and we’ve heard, that these campaigns resonate with New Yorkers in ways we never imagined. That they’re experiences, not just commercials, not just ads. They reverberate. Allowing us to all share in the triumph over adversity even through lockdown, through quarantine,” Babcock said.
“Challenge marketing strategy and channels as you have known it. Be brave about resisting conventional marketing practices, and above all, show your authenticity,” she advised other marketers.
“You need to experiment a lot before finding what works for you by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes – just like you mentioned in your Visualizing the Conversion Journey blog post,” Stewart Dunlop, CEO, LinkBuilder.io told me.
When he put himself in his customers’ shoes, he realized they wanted detailed examples of his services in action to understand his product-level value proposition, so he added case studies of existing customers to his website.
“We compiled the success stories indicating the client’s industry, their goals, and our strategy including illustrative materials – like screenshots from Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Pitchbox, etc. – and published them dedicating a separate menu block on the main page,” Dunlop said.
After publishing the case studies, the number of inquiries increased by 18%. When discussing the projects on the first call, clients often referred to these case studies saying that they want to achieve something similar.
“Make sure that the client is fine that you are sharing the results publicly, otherwise, there’s a risk of losing reputation. Include goals, challenges, and the strategies you used to solve them. Avoid generic info, use numbers to inspire trust, and get attention,” Dunlop advised.
One of the most successful marketing tactics for Felix Homes has been focusing on the last stage of the customer journey – creating a process-level value proposition that encourages current and former clients to tell their friends and family about the business.
“If you offer a product or service that provides value, this word of mouth should come pretty naturally,” said Tyler Forte, CEO, Felix Homes. Still, the team explored if there was a way to encourage this natural referral behavior in a way that reliably impacted its growth. They tested different ideas such as a thoughtful closing gift, an Amazon gift card if the customer shared their review on social media, and even a coupon that they could give to a friend or family member for $250 off their listing fee.
The best-performing tactic was having clients share a review on social media. “After all, word of mouth can also take a digital form on Facebook through friends sharing helpful tips and recommended companies in addition to cat memes and pictures of your nephew’s birthday,” Forte said.
Before they provided past customers with any incentive, the real estate brokerage was already getting organic referrals. For every one client, the client would refer 1.4 new clients. Once they implemented a way to incentivize clients to be advocates, they got 2.3 new clients in return for every client.
“The best advice I have for any marketers looking to start a referral program is to never underestimate the power of a $20 Amazon gift card,” Forte said.
MECLABS Institute Value Proposition Development online certification course – Learn how to clearly communicate an effective value proposition
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