Three “Value Promises” I like

I’m not crazy about new jargon, but when old jargon completely loses its luster it’s time to replace.

“Awesome” certainly needs replacement.  So, IMHO, does “value proposition”.  It’s like when you repeat a word over and over until it sounds meaningless?  That’s what’s happened to me with Value Proposition.

So let’s try a new term for it, a “value promise”.

Arguably it’s a slightly better term.  A “proposition” is an entire proposal, a “business plan”, if you will.  In this era of Lean this and Lean that, a “value promise” is a Lean “value proposition.”  It’s part of a complete package.  It’s an element.

Here are three Value Promises I think are quite interesting in a business:

  1. The “Amazon” Promise.  Amazon got its start by promising that you could get any book in the world at the site.  Now they kind of promise that you can get anything at all in the world at the site.  Any business that promises “all of <x>” is a powerful promise:
    • “Everything you wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask”
    • For my future website on “Intelligent Pitching”, I want to promise “everything you need to know about pitching”.
    • Zappos: “every kind of shoe”
  2. The “Progressive” Promise.  Progressive Insurance made a big impression on me by promising to get you the best price on insurance, even if it’s a competitor’s offering.  Extremely useful in new markets where the very form of a solution is still not understood and there are competing approches:
    • “We’ll help you understand the best solution to your problem, including our competitors'”
    • “We’ll help you evaluate your timeshare agreement regardless of its form and tell you how to renegotiate it if appropriate”
  3. The “Hammacher Schlemer” Promise.  Hammacher Schlemer is a gadget catalog (grandmother of SkyMall or Sharper Image), and every item in the catalog is either “best” or “only” in its category.  “Best Turkish towel bath robe”.  “Only infrared drone taser.”  This value promise is very important for establishing competitive differentiation.  Compared to your competitors, where are you “best” or “only”.  And if your “best or only” is some squirrely little niche, how do you pivot?

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