Pop Cans, Parity, and Positioning Your Product
Three Rules to Help You Create Preference, Not Parity
According to a survey of 9,000 companies by the Corporate Executive Board’s Marketing Leadership Council, only 14% of the so-called unique benefits companies choose to promote drive enough preference to have a commercial impact. This means that 86% of the things companies claim as unique features and benefits are not perceived as significant enough to get customers to consider doing anything different.
The video below illustrates what can happen when your latest and greatest product offering isn’t a whole lot different from what’s already available and you are not connecting your differentiation with the customer pains you solve better.
The bottom line is that most companies overestimate the uniqueness of the benefits they promote. The failure point, according to the Corporate Executive Board, is proximity. Companies are too close to what they do and lose sight of what is relevant enough to drive customer preference and compel them to take action.
Here are three rules for creating preference vs. parity in your value propositions:
Rule #1: No context. No value proposition.
Due to Marketers’ proximity to their own company and products, they overestimate the uniqueness and relevance of the benefits they choose to promote.
One of the biggest problems with proximity is mistaking customer “touch-points” for value propositions. Companies like to tout such things as customer service as a differentiator. But, the research shows that decision makers see these types of “touch-point” activities as marginal or poor drivers of preference.
Meanwhile, what really gets customers excited is hearing about clear, unique benefits attached to their business needs. Strategic agenda items such as “streamline my supply chain” or “help me get more out of my existing capital investments” are what people will pay you for because it’s relevant to their responsibilities and how people hold them accountable in their organizations.
Rule #2: No contrast. No value proposition.
Value lies in the contrast between the pain and the gain.
Brain research proves that humans make decisions that are more adaptive than rational. They need to see a change in their environment that makes the status quo no longer acceptable. They need to see that change is coming now and fast. And, they need to see your solution as critical to their survival.
In fact, emotion needs to be injected into your messaging. Even in B2B, you have to get decision makers emotionally invested in the decision. They will justify with facts, but they will buy based on how this will impact their success or failure in their jobs.
Rule #3: No corroboration. No value proposition.
The third rule pertains to proof points. Most Marketers think of proof points as quantifiable validation of the value you provide. This is true. Actually, it’s partially true.
When you are trying to get prospects to care enough to consider a change and choose you, proof points must corroborate your solution on two levels:
First, you need proof points that will corroborate or turn up the heat on the problem. “Amping up the pain” as we like to call it. Notice at the beginning of this article, we told you that 86% of unique benefits cited by companies don’t create preference. Did it get you thinking about your own benefit statements and value propositions? It hooked you into the story and got you to care about a potential solution.
Second, you need proof points that will corroborate your claims to be able to solve the problem in a meaningful way that eliminates the pain and brings measurable gain around the strategic agenda item you are addressing. Do you have documented results that validate what doing something different tomorrow will mean to your customers – in terms they care about?
Use these three rules when creating your value propositions and you will discover the difference between preference and parity.
To learn more visit this instant webcast: