Value-based marketing: How to create your value proposition

Value-based marketing: How to create your value proposition
Fab Giovanetti
Fab GiovanettiAlt Marketing School

Posted: Tue 25th Jun 2024

As someone who runs a marketing school, I hear it all: "Marketing is sleazy", "Marketing gives me ick", "Isn't marketing just about selling?”

Great marketing is not about who shouts the loudest but who stands for something real. That's where value-based marketing steps into the spotlight.

It’s like giving your brand a soul. This approach isn’t about hammering folks with endless offers. It’s smarter than that.

So, let's dive deep into how as a small business you can build a castle on the bedrock of values and impact and really make a difference in your marketing strategy.

Understanding value-based marketing

Imagine you're at a farmers' market on a sunny morning. Each stall has its charm, but you find yourself drawn to a particular vendor. This vendor isn’t just selling fresh produce they will stop you by sharing the story of their business before even offering you a taster.

They explain how their goods are sourced from local farms, grown without harmful pesticides and how they support the community's economy. Just like this vendor, value-based marketing is a powerful way of connecting with customers not just through products, but through shared values.

Just as you might choose the farmer's stall that matches your commitment to sustainability and community support, customers choose brands that help them express who they are and what they stand for.

Watch this webinar to learn why storytelling is so effective and how to use it to grow your small business:

The essence of value-based marketing

  • Reflects shared values: Value-based marketing centres on aligning your products and services with the core values and ethics that the target audience holds dear. This alignment not only attracts like-minded customers but also fosters deeper loyalty and advocacy among them

  • Prioritises customer relationships and feedback: By placing a strong emphasis on nurturing relationships with customers, it treats them as partners in a shared journey rather than mere transactions. By actively encouraging and valuing feedback, your actions continue to resonate with customers’ values and expectations

  • Leads with stories: Value-based marketing harnesses the power of storytelling to convey your brand's values and mission. These stories illustrate not just what the brand sells, but why it matters, effectively creating emotional connections that transcend conventional advertising

This approach turns the old business playbook on its head. No longer is the big question: “How do we sell more?” Nah, the biggie now is: “How do we show we care?”

By answering that, you create a bond with your audience that's tougher than steel.

Crafting a strong value proposition

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, crafting a robust value proposition is about as crucial as it gets. But what’s that, you ask?

Think of it as the promise you're making to your customers. And it’s got to be more appealing than just, “Our stuff works”. It's about how your product or service taps into the unique selling flavour of your brand.

Here are three key elements to consider when developing a strong value proposition:

  • Target problem identification: Clearly define what problem you are currently serving for your customers. Dig deeper into your audience's demographics, needs and challenges as it will tailor your value proposition to your customer feedback

  • Transformation-driven benefits: I heard once that your customer does not buy because of who they are, but because of who they want to become. Once I made that shift, I was able to create a solution that truly inspired them. This part of your proposition should focus on the unique benefits that are fuelling the transformation, emphasising how these benefits meet the needs of your target audience

  • Alignment with core values: Ensure that the value you promise is in line with your two core values. Of course, you could try and cover everything you stand for but focus brings results. This consistency reinforces your brand’s integrity and supports long-term relationships with your customers

Example of a value proposition starter template

If you are looking to get started, the template below is a great starting point.

To [target audience], [your company name] is the [category] that provides [unique benefit]. Unlike [competitors], we [key differentiator] because we believe [connection to the company's core values].

Let's go back to our farmers market stall example.

To health-conscious families in our community, FreshFarm is the local farmers' market stall that provides organic, freshly picked produce every weekend. We offer fruits and vegetables that are harvested at peak ripeness from nearby farms because we believe in supporting local agriculture and providing wholesome, healthy choices for your busy weekdays.

This value proposition clearly identifies the target audience (health-conscious families), highlights the unique benefits (organic, wholesome, healthy choices), and reiterates the values of supporting local agriculture and promoting health.

Value proposition versus unique selling proposition: Understanding the difference

Alright, let’s clear the air here. You might hear value proposition and unique selling proposition and think it’s like comparing apples to apples. But, spoiler alert, they ain’t the same fruit.

  • Your value proposition is tied to the wider impact you are making, sometimes beyond your products

  • On the flip side, your unique selling is the spice, the one thing that sets you apart from the crowd. It’s what makes your brand the needle in the haystack

Imagine walking into a pizzeria. The value proposition might be serving the best Italian cuisine in town celebrating their unique heritage. But the unique selling point? That could be the secret family dough recipe they’ve used since 1952.

When building a marketing plan, it's important to identify both.

Both are crucial but while the value proposition sets the table, the unique selling proposition is what gets folks drooling.

How Apple makes its values its mission

Let’s talk about Apple, a prime slice of the value-based business pie.

Apple makes its values its mission, weaving them into every product, every ad and every decision. It’s not just about what it makes but how it makes it, focusing on sustainability and privacy as core components of its value proposition.

And it pays off, big time. Why? Because customers don’t just buy Apple products. They buy into Apple’s values.

Let's take an example of Apple’s ingenious approach with its Mother Nature ad. Casting Octavia Spencer as Mother Nature is a marketing masterstroke.

It embodies the brand's commitment to sustainability and brings a face (and fierce attitude) to a topic that's often abstract to many. The choice of Spencer gives the message gravitas while ensuring viewers are engaged.

Now, blending humour with critical topics? Not always easy, but Apple does it with finesse.

The comedic tension as Spencer grills the Apple execs serves a dual purpose: it makes the viewer chuckle, while simultaneously highlighting Apple’s genuine efforts towards carbon neutrality. The whole setting also makes the point clear: even big tech is answerable to nature.

Remember, in marketing, it's not just what you say, but how you say it. Apple gets this, reminding us once again why it is at the pinnacle of branding.

If you feel that you may not have the means to go head-to-head with brands like Apple, there are plenty of other businesses of all shapes and sizes that do just the same in their marketing.

The impact of values-based marketing

At the end of the day, value-based marketing isn't just a fancy term to toss around. It builds brand loyalty brick by brick, on the solid foundation of trust and shared belief.

By aligning your brand’s core values with strong messaging, you can then start identifying how your values can show up in your marketing.

Value-based marketing turns the spotlight on customer value, making every campaign a reflection of your audience's aspirations and dreams. And in the process, you can grow your brand impact. What’s not to love?

Relevant resources

Fab Giovanetti
Fab GiovanettiAlt Marketing School

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