If you were asked to evaluate the solution to an easy math problem, such as 24 + 17 = 45, you could definitely say whether it’s right or wrong. If, on the other hand, you were asked to evaluate a painting by a modern artist and judge it “good” or “bad,” you would have to make a judgment based on your own preferences and, perhaps, after reading some reviews by experts or others (who probably wouldn’t agree). Evaluating art is akin to evaluating a value proposition—it’s definitely a subjective process, and others may disagree with you. That said, below are a few pointers that can help you.
It is easy to recognize when a value proposition is bad:
- If it is so general or universal that it doesn’t articulate unique value, then it likely isn’t very good. (For years Tony the Tiger promoted Kellog’s frosted flakes saying, “They’re grrrrreat!” It’s a cute catch phrase for a tiger, but it’s not a value proposition.)
- If a value proposition has so many words that you need to read it twice—or worse, you stop reading and move on—then it’s bad. As noted in the Quick Sprout infographic from the previous reading, it should take five seconds or less to read a value proposition.
- If the value proposition does not provide clarity about the offering to the target market, then it isn’t providing value. The target customer should understand exactly what is promised.
- If the value proposition for an offering mimics the value proposition of a competitive offering, it isn’t good. In the technology industry, many critics have poked fun at Microsoft for imitating Apple’s simple marketing language and presentation style. No matter how compelling the value proposition for an offering is, copying it for a competitive offering doesn’t make sense or work. An offering can’t be unique if it’s exactly like something else.
In this section, you’ll get to review some value propositions that are quite good (in our view). As you read them, them think about what they are doing right and how they could be improved.