Have you heard the well-worn advice about what happens anytime you assume anything? (I guess we’ll have to, eh…assume that you have.)

It is almost always better to look/ask/verify than it is to assume anything. This is especially true when it comes to your marketing.

The People Who Choose You

You’ve been marketing your business for years…or maybe only for a few months.

You’ve got customers. They give you money for your product or service but, even more to the point, they choose you over your competition.

Even though they might not ever have consciously analyzed why they choose you, there is always a reason they prefer your business. If you ask, they will give it to you.

When you find you are getting the same answer from a majority of people, you will have isolated what we call, in marketing, your value proposition.

For instance, a few years back, a coffee shop that’s been in our area decided to ask their customers why they choose this shop over others in the area. They were shocked by the results. For nearly ten years, this shop had promoted itself on the basis of its coffee and atmosphere. But the majority of people surveyed said it was the shop’s WiFi and access to power outlets (to plug in laptops, etc.)

Totally unexpected…yet vitally important. 

The One Safe Assumption

What if that coffee shop never asked its customers anything and just continued to promote its coffee and atmosphere? The return on their marketing investment would probably have remained about the same.

But they would be wasting time, money, and effort. You see, the value proposition exists, even if the business is unaware of it. But when they do know their value proposition (and make it the focus of their marketing message), they can get a greater return on investment without increasing their marketing budget.

So the one thing you can safely assume is that if many people are doing business with you for the same reason (value proposition), that many more will also do business with you, if they are made aware of that value proposition.

Three Steps to Find the Customers You’re Missing

  1. Start asking questions.

There’s no one right way to do it. Online surveys, in-person at the check-out, or written questionnaires are all good. But however you do it, keep it short (10 questions or less). Here are some ideas for the kinds of questions you might ask:

  • What brought you in today?
  • Why did you make a purchase?
  • Would you purchase from us again? If so, why?
  • What is most important to you about our product/service?
  • Why did you choose us instead of another ______?
  1. Create your hypothetical buyer profile.

For the best result, you will want to get a significant number of completed surveys—certainly no fewer than 100. By reviewing the responses, you will begin to see trends emerge. Certain answers will show up again and again. From this, you can isolate the top answer for each question. From those top answers, you can work out a hypothetical statement about your typical buyer: “Pete Purchaser buys from us because _________.”

The reason it’s hypothetical is that you’ve still got to qualify it as being a true value proposition.

  1. Qualify the value proposition.

A true value proposition will always be about a benefit to the buyer. Here we are not talking about why your product or service is better than your competition’s. So, it’s never a matter of having more fleet trucks or greater processing speed, or “new super booster G-40.” It’s some emotional benefit and should fit into at least two of these categories:

  • Safety/security: Does it provide more peace of mind?
  • Money: Will it help them make/save money?
  • Beauty/image: Can it make them more attractive?
  • Ease/efficiency: Will it make life easier for them?
  • Productivity: Will it help them get more done, faster?


Once you’ve ensured that the value proposition emphasizes at least two of these benefits, you’re ready to test it in your next postcard campaign, which you can easily do by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

If you need help isolating and/or formulating your value proposition, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. They’ll help you work it out and put it into fresh, eye-catching direct mail postcards that will increase your return on investment.


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