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How to create a compelling offer

Segment your customers the right way: according to jobs, pains and gains to give meaning to your value propositions. Products and services are meaningless without customer context.

Most businesses tick the box of customer segmentation by saying ’our customer is typically (age) old, lives in (place of residence) and is (marital status)’. Perhaps a few ’insights’ on what they think or feel at times of wanting your highly valued product or service. Sound familiar? Well, these same businesses often go out of business or stagnate exactly because of this dead-end profiling.

The solution? Don’t start with your product or service (again) but go out of the building and talk to potential customers to identify jobs. What do they want to get done that if they can’t/don’t, it will have a painfully negative consequence for them? Or a missed opportunity they could benefit from? List these and prioritize your post-its. Customers not only want functional jobs satisfied (mow the lawn), but also social ones (have a party in a garden that impresses guests) and emotional ones (feel good as the envied and cool host with a nice house and garden). Say we want to help business owners grow their business by innovating their business models. Our customers’ main jobs to get done would be to find, learn and apply methods; make decisions with confidence; assess and reduce risk; improve or build a business; improve skillsets and advance their career, etc.;

Next: identify their pains and gains. Such pains could be lack of time; dealing with risk and uncertainty; going down the wrong path; wasting time with ideas that don’t work; or not having a clear path to applying method. Their expected gains could be: leads to results, quick win; clear indicators to measure progress; can apply with confidence; connect with like-minded people; leads to better collaboration; concrete tips (e.g. to reduce risk) and applicable ideas.

Now comes the fun part! Take a look at your value proposition box (see below square) and see how you create gains that address customers’ expected or desired gains; and how your painkillers address customers’ pains; You won’t be able to address all gains and pains with your gain creators and pain relievers – but don’t worry, customers don’t expect you to do that anyway. Focus on the most important ones. Keeping the above business consulting example, I could help my customers shape ideas, create products and services people want, provide a proven and effective suite of business tools, offer a common/shared language to communicate and collaborate with your team, help you understand what matters to customers and provide step-by- step instructions to get started. Those are the gains, while addressed pains could include a practical, visual and enjoyable format, minimizing risk of (big failure) and offering a brief, clear and applicable content.

Image idea copyright of Strategyzer AG, Alexander Osterwalder

Action to take: draw up your customer profile circle and value proposition square the way illustrated below and described above. 


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