Aligning value prop & customer goals

An immensely valuable discussion to hold with your key product stakeholders (like the Product, Sales, and Marketing leaders) involves a critical assessment of two essential ingredients of ascertaining your product/market fit: the product “value proposition” and the customer’s goals. Alignment between these two increases the likelihood of achieving a fit that enables business success (hey, there’s no guarantees!) but how to get there? First, ask basic questions among your stakeholders, all together if possible, for full transparency.

a) What is the product’s value prop…and how is that being messaged in the corporate website, as well as in the current application interface? Just jot down a key phrase or two, not some long-winded Dilbertian mission statement full of buzzwords! This is about the product’s purpose, raison d’être if you will. Chances are, various members of the product & company leadership team have varying perspectives…which is fine, as that speaks to a range of potential, but need to find the focus and identify any divergence or contradictions.

b) What are the customer’s goals? Actually, the antecedent assumption to this is identifying who exactly is the targeted customer per utility and revenue. Perhaps there’s a range or a single target—just be clear and fully in agreement. Then, via the devices of user profiles, contextual analyses, and personas, ascertain the aspirations and goals sought from using this product. What lifestyle qualities are enhanced? Which emotions are evoked and sustained? Who else benefits in terms of the “social life of information” extending from the product itself, but the broader ecosystem?

Capturing the responses to these basic yet critical questions will help determine if there’s mutual inter-dependence or crucial conflict in arriving at an appropriate product satisfying customers and driving business value.

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