A couple of weeks ago, I published the first of a 3 part post about the start of my adventures in repositioning my product design company Inertia. Inertia is growing and changing quickly, and I’ve been working on repositioning my business so that our messaging/story/brand/website better reflects some of the recent changes as well as our future aspirations.
I shared that we’ve be using the Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas (BMC) as a framework to help map out all the interconnecting pieces of our business. If you’re not familiar with the BMC, here is a video from Strategyzer, the company who developed the framework. Before going any further, I strongly urge you to watch the video. It will help a great deal in understanding how we’re approaching this exercise.
In order for your BMC to work for you, the folks behind BMC insist that you get your value proposition right. Again, we used a tool called the value proposition canvas, which is a precursor to the BMC. Here’s a great video on how the VPC canvas works.
The first step in creating our value proposition was to define our customer segments. Our three top customer segments are Corporate, Hardware Start-Ups & Investors. In this blog post, I’m going to share how we’ve fleshed out our value proposition in preparation for developing our BMC for our corporate clients. As a first step to defining our value proposition, we mapped out our customers jobs, pains and gains & Inertia’s services, gain creators and pain relievers.
Here’s the lists we came up with.
Once we created our lists, we picked the top 5 or 6 most pressing customer jobs, pains and gains along with Inertia’s main gain creators, pain relievers and services. We placed the lists side by side so we could see where the the fit was (or wasn’t) between our customers pains/jobs/gains our what Inertia was offering by way of pain relievers, gain creators and services.
This isn’t an exact science, but at the core of it, this exercise was a great way for us to start organizing our value proposition around our customer’s most important jobs and pains. This part of the exercise is often referred to as finding your product-market fit. Going through the value proposition exercise for Inertia has reminded me just how truly important it is to get the fit right. It’s not just for Inertia’s sake either – our customers’ need to find it for their customers as well, so I’m very focussed on getting it right for us, and leading by example.
CRAFTING OUR VALUE PROPOSITION STATEMENT
So if you look at both the customers circle and Inertia’s square – you’ll see green markers and red markers. On the customer’s side our red markers highlight some areas where the customers jobs, pains and gains aren’t currently reflected in Inertia’s services, gain creators or pain relievers. The green markers suggest there is a match between the customer and Inertia.
Here are the top Customer Pains weren’t reflected in Inertia’s Top Pain Relievers:
- Lost revenue opportunities from lack of sales and marketing ability/resources
- Poorly executed product launches
- Not enough financing/budget
The same applies to Inertia’s side. The red markers highlight areas where the the pain relievers, gain creators and services aren’t a match with our customers top jobs, pains and gains.
Here are Inertia’s Pain Relievers that we provide, that weren’t reflected on our Customer Pains list:
- Reduction in product defects
- Transparent costing for clear budget/design/vision
- Resource Load Levelling
What this told me is that what Inertia believes to be our key pain relievers don’t necessarily reflect the customer’s key pain points. This brings me back to the importance of product market fit.
With this information I set out to craft our value proposition for our corporate clients. The folks at Strategyzer offer a template to help structure the creation of the value proposition. It looks like this:
I didn’t end up following the structure exactly, but I did try to address the customer’s top jobs, pains and desired gains, while highlighting some of Inertia’s top pain relievers and gain creators. For me this part of the process was a real challenge. I couldn’t address everything (The BMC folks warn against trying to be everything to everyone), so I was left to try and cover the most important points as succinctly as possible. Here’s what we came up with….and yes, it’s a work in progress!
We help businesses imagine, create and launch exceptional product experiences their customers actually want. By proving demand, removing obstacles, amplifying collaboration and obsessing over our customer’s success, we ship amazing products faster.
It wasn’t a linear approach for sure. We took some time looking at the maps we’d made of Inertia’s top services, pain relievers and gain creators as well the map of our customers key jobs, pains and gains. From there we started to reverse engineer our value proposition to speak to the customer most important jobs, pains & gains served by Inertia’s gain creators, pain relievers and services. Below, I’ve shown specifically how we pulled from various parts of Inertia’s Value Map & Customer Map to create our value proposition:
- Innovation (Customer’s Job) & Ideation; Design Strategy (Inertia Services) speaks to why we included [We help businesses imagine] in our value proposition.
- Turn Key Product Development (Inertia Services); Providing Access to Expertise Helps Create Best in Class Products (Inertia Gain Creators); Launching/Shipping Products (Customer Jobs) speaks to why we included the word [create] in our value proposition.
- Poorly Executed Product Launches (Customer Pain); Stress Free Product Launches; Market Leadership; Valuable IP Portfolio (all Customer Gains); Consolidated Product Development Services speed up development ; High Quality Design Makes Products Desirable (Inertia Gain Creators); Reduction in Product Defects (Inertia Pain Reliever); Industrial Design (Inertia Services) speaks to why we included [launch exceptional product experiences] in our value proposition.
- High Quality Design Makes Products Desirable; Knowledge Capture and Application Creates Powerful IP’s; Product Roadmapping, Research and Validation Lowers Customer Risk (Inertia Gain Creators); Making Things People Want/Need; Market Research to prove product/market fit (Customer jobs) speaks to why we included [their customers actually want] in our value proposition.
- Internal Conflict About Competing Priorities; Idea Indigestion From Too Many Product Ideas, Not Enough Execution (Customer Pains); Reduce Corporate Constipation (Inertia Pain Relievers) speaks to why we included [removing obstacles] in our value proposition.
- Innovating; Making Things People Want/Need (Customer Jobs); Access to Expertise Helps Create Best in Class Products (Inertia Gain Creators); Transparent Costs facilitate clear budget/design/vision (Inertia Pain Reliever) speaks to why we included [amplifying collaboration] in our value proposition.
- Providing Access to Expertise Helps create Best in Class Products; High Quality Design Makes Products Desirable; Product Roadmapping, Research and Validation Lowers Customer Risk; Accelerate Time to Market; Reduction in Product Defects (Pain Relievers); Poorly Executed Product Launches (Customer Pains) speaks to why we included [obsessing over our customer’s success] in our value proposition.
- Consolidated Product Development Services Speed Up Development (Inertia Gain Creators); Resource Load Levelling (Inertia Pain Relievers); Positive Customer Reviews, Accelerated Product Portfolio Growth (Customer Gains), Stress Free Product Launches; Increased Profit (Customer Gains) speaks to why we included [we ship amazing products faster] in our value proposition.
So this is an example of our process laid bare. I recognize it’s not perfect, but at this stage I’m really starting to see how the value proposition exercise forced me to look at (and fill) the gaps in our product/market fit. As I mentioned a little earlier on, our value proposition is at the heart of creating a useful business model canvas for Inertia – which is what I’ll be exploring in my next blog post.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know what you think. My intention behind sharing my process at this level of detail is to encourage feedback and conversation.