Competition from companies with closely matched products and services is a common challenge for B2B life science companies. It can be difficult to stand out in a crowded market, especially when companies are quickly innovating to offer more and more advanced products and services. Whether you’re a biotech startup trying to gain a foothold or an established contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) aiming to differentiate yourself more clearly from the competition, a unique and compelling value proposition is essential for defining why a potential customer or partner should choose you over a close competitor.
What is a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)?
A unique value proposition, also known as a unique selling proposition or unique selling point, is a clear and concise statement that explains how your business and its products or services can make life easier for your target customer. You want to have and convey a clear understanding of how you propose to solve your customers’ problems, how your solution differs from the rest, and why customers should take the time to learn more about it. Unlike product-centered content, which focuses solely on features and benefits, a strong value proposition should be customer-focused, highlighting the advantages the customer will receive or the pain points they will avoid from using the product or service.
It is important to note that each product offering can have a different UVP. In addition, each one should be tied to the brand’s overall value proposition.
What is the Purpose of a Unique Value Proposition?
A good, compelling value proposition can serve several purposes. Its primary job is to help set your company apart from your competitors.
In addition, a unique value proposition can communicate that you understand your customers’ central pain points and have a solution. With a strong value proposition, you can effectively demonstrate how your business can solve those challenges or fulfill specific needs.
If successful, a value proposition can also help establish your credibility as a leader in the industry. Over time, it can help build trust and loyalty, fostering long-term customer relationships.
An effective UVP also creates a solid emotional connection with your target audience. Your customers may ultimately feel like they’re not just buying a product or service but buying into a brand and a vision.
Value Proposition as Part of a Brand Messaging Framework
To understand what a value proposition is, it might help to understand what it is not and how it fits into a comprehensive brand messaging framework. Other related elements of this framework include:
- Mission and Vision — A simple statement summarizing your company’s purpose and future goals primarily for internal use to motivate and focus employees. The remaining brand messaging elements should harmonize with and support your company’s mission and vision.
- Target Audience — Specific group(s) of consumers most likely to want your product or service. You must define what each audience should know, feel, and do after interacting with your brand.
- Brand Pillars — Three fundamental values or “pillars” that support your value proposition and help your company stand out among competitors.
- Features — What your product or service does, including unique selling points.
- Positioning Statement — One concise sentence explaining what your brand does for whom and why.
- Tagline — A short (10 words or less) but sweet phrase that conveys your brand’s promise and inspires your customers.
- Elevator Pitch — A brief introduction of yourself, your company, and what you offer. It should express one or two key points and take no more than the time you typically spend on an elevator with someone (~20 to 30 seconds).
To Determine Your Unique Value Proposition, First Research
Identify your ideal customer and their everyday challenges.
Thorough market research is necessary to zero in on your customers’ specific pain points. Surveys can provide quantitative data on customer experiences, preferences, and needs, while interviews and focus groups can provide qualitative insights into customer frustrations and obstacles.
Examine the benefits you offer.
Identify the specific benefits of the products or services in your portfolio. You’re most likely already very familiar with these features and benefits, as they tend to drive product-focused marketing.
Describe how these benefits solve your customers’ problems.
Ideally, you can draw a clear line between your identified customer pain points and how your product solves them. If not, refine your value proposition until you achieve that seamless connection. A great value proposition should easily bridge the gap between your customers’ specific needs and your specific solutions. Refining your value proposition is an ongoing process of honing and polishing until every word aligns with your target market.
Analyze the competitive landscape.
Identify the key players in your field — your close competitors who are actively creating and promoting content relevant to your industry or product. Monitor their website content, marketing materials, publications, and social media channels. This will give you real-time insights and a deeper understanding of the pain points your competitors are addressing, the solutions they offer, and how you might differentiate your product and business.
Differentiate your business as the best choice.
To make your value proposition unique, find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. Common differentiators highlight the specific ways that a business can help customers save time or money or eliminate a common pain point around product ordering or accessing technical support. For example, as a B2B biotech, you might offer a product or service that helps drug developers bring their products to market faster, save money, incur less risk, or automate a cumbersome process.
How to Write Effective Value Propositions, with Examples
After you have identified your specific value proposition, you’re ready to write. One familiar formula for writing a unique value proposition is to describe the target customer, the common pain point, and how the business solves the problem. In other words:
We help (customer) avoid (pain point) by providing (solution).
Consider a hypothetical contract manufacturing organization (CMO) in the pharmaceutical industry. Speed to market is a central customer pain point. Unlike some competitors, they exclusively develop cell and gene therapies and offer comprehensive services. To highlight the CMO’s focus on breadth of service and speed, their value proposition could be:
We help companies developing cell and gene therapies avoid production bottlenecks by providing end-to-end development and manufacturing services to accelerate your progress from discovery to commercial scale.
Another option is to focus on what the customer can achieve.
For (customers) seeking to (critical customer need), we deliver (benefit).
For example, consider a chemical engineering company that develops custom solutions for businesses in the textile industry. Their value prop might be:
For textile manufacturers looking to streamline processes, we offer specialty chemical products, expertise, and next-level customer service.
In the real world, ThermoFisher’s value prop follows this model:
We help our customers accelerate innovation and enhance productivity, underpinned by quality.
Zapier’s value proposition similarly focuses on how the company helps customers advance their business goals.
Zapier empowers you to automate your work across 5,000+ apps — so you can move forward, faster.
When you start looking around, you’ll notice value propositions everywhere, for products and brands, and you may even notice that value propositions evolve over time as companies make subtle shifts in response to market trends and customer needs.
Testing and Refining Your Value Proposition
After you have crafted your value proposition, it’s time to gather feedback from your customers, partners, and prospects. By analyzing the results of customer research, you can identify areas where your value proposition may need to be refined or adjusted to better resonate with your target audience.
Value Propositions and More
Crafting a unique value proposition is vital to standing out from the crowd in the B2B marketplace. By effectively communicating how your business and its offerings can solve customer problems, differentiate from competitors, and provide distinct benefits, you can capture the attention of potential customers and gain loyalty among your target audience. A well-crafted value proposition sets you apart, establishes credibility, builds trust, and fosters long-term customer relationships.
Your value proposition is just one aspect of a complete brand identity. By aligning your unique value proposition with cohesive brand guidelines, including brand voice and visual identity, you can create a compelling and memorable presence that sets you apart and leaves a lasting impression on your customers.
Partnering with Cobalt
To learn more about how Cobalt helps science-focused B2Bs with all aspects of branding, marketing strategy, and communications, visit the Cobalt services page or contact us today to get started on your journey to marketing success.
To stay up-to-date with Cobalt news and blog posts like this one, subscribe to our newsletter, Bolt from the Blue.