The Value Elevator Speech for your Innovation | innovationexcellence.com


The Value Elevator Speech for your Innovationby Stephan Liozu

Are you able to clearly articulate the value proposition for your innovation, your business model, or your startup? Can you recite in one quick minute this value proposition and two to three value drivers that illustrate its power and monetized differential value? If you are a business leaders in the trenches, a multi-tasking entrepreneur or a busy innovator, chances are that you have not gone through the exercise and are not ready for it.

I was recently participating in a top management conversation at a fairly large high tech start up and I asked leaders around the room if they were able to articulate the business model value proposition and their critical value drivers. The question took them by surprise and generated some interesting internal discussions. I was invited to speak with them about their potential pricing problems but we quickly realized that the problem resided in the business model fundamentals and the overall value proposition. The conversation uncovered internal disagreements, some frustration among the various executives, and a real need to take a step back and reflect.

Case closed! How can one have a creative and constructive discussion on pricing models without have a clear idea of what your innovative business model is all about and what types of differentiating features you bring to your customers? This is fundamental exercise that every marketing manager, business manager, innovator,  and entrepreneur should go through to create a crisp value story that will create excitement and interest for customer, investors and partners.

There are three critical elements to work as shown in the figure below.

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Why Price Isn’t the Biggest Factor on Big Deals | Inc. |


Inc.com - The Daily Resource for Entrepreneurs

Most deals aren’t won on price alone. Align your value proposition with your buyer’s strategic needs and the deal will get bigger and possibly better.This is an excerpt from Tom Searcy’s latest book, “How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett—Lessons from the World’s Greatest Dealmaker” written with Henry DeVries and published by McGraw-Hill, available now.

When Walmart sold Warren Buffett their McLane Company Division, which was valued at $22 billion in 2003 at the time of the sale, they made a choice they never made before—to sell a part of the company.  Was it the money? A fair question, but Walmart has plenty of money—and although the $1.45 billion cash acquisition price was a nice chunk of change—the real reason was strategic benefit.

McLane was well run, profitable and successful, but it was still the ugly stepsister of the family. It had razor-thin margins and it’s ability to grow was limited because competitors to Walmart were wary about contributing in any way to the success of their biggest rival. McLane was the weakest link in the chain for Walmart. Buffett’s transaction was quick and easy and it brought an independence that would allow investments and revenues for McLane to grow without negatively impacting Walmart’s balance sheet. This was addition by subtraction.

An outright auction may have been more financially beneficial in the short run, but Walmart wanted to keep the capability of McLane as a part of its supply and distribution.

What do you bring to a customer’s strategy? Leer más “Why Price Isn’t the Biggest Factor on Big Deals | Inc. |”

Avoid the Overlapping Value Proposition

No brand is immune to competition. Even market leaders have their nemesis, and direct competitors keep a company from having the entire pie for itself. In many cases, competition can actually be mutually beneficial, as it keeps the competing parties from becoming complacent. In always trying to outdo each other, the companies push themselves to improve their brands and the products or services they carry. It is a welcome cycle that not many businesses want to admit (or enjoy).

Competitive analysis begins in much the same way a company would evaluate its own brand. You can examine your competitor’s value proposition in I3 terms based on their marketing claims. Find out exactly what they are saying that gives them an edge from their competition and compare that to your own unique selling points. If both of you are claiming the same thing, you end up canceling each other out on that factor, all other things remaining equal. I call this the overlapping value proposition: two companies making equally valid claims to a differentiator, neutralizing each other in the market on that attribute.


No brand is immune to competition. Even market leaders have their nemesis, and direct competitors keep a company from having the entire pie for itself. In many cases, competition can actually be mutually beneficial, as it keeps the competing parties from becoming complacent. In always trying to outdo each other, the companies push themselves to improve their brands and the products or services they carry. It is a welcome cycle that not many businesses want to admit (or enjoy).

Competitive analysis begins in much the same way a company would evaluate its own brand. You can examine your competitor’s value proposition in I3 terms based on their marketing claims. Find out exactly what they are saying that gives them an edge from their competition and compare that to your own unique selling points. If both of you are claiming the same thing, you end up canceling each other out on that factor, all other things remaining equal. I call this the overlapping value proposition: two companies making equally valid claims to a differentiator, neutralizing each other in the market on that attribute. Leer más “Avoid the Overlapping Value Proposition”

Selling is Not Smoke and Mirrors

There used to be a time when ads had to be written with hyperbole. ‘Amazing,’ ‘Miraculous’ and ‘Spectacular’ made common appearances in old print ads, usually in large bold letters. Add to that a few more impressive, flowery phrases and an image of a person with a wide-mouthed smile, and the product was almost as good as sold.

Selling meant singing nothing but praises, and getting customers to buy was the only end point for marketing efforts.

And then… it changed. Over the years, sales and marketing have become quite sophisticated due in part to evolving consumer behaviors and expectations. Today’s customers are not as so easily wowed by “smoke and mirrors”. It is not enough that marketers say their product is the best. Even ‘New!’ doesn’t work as well any more. We live in an over-saturated — over-messaged – marketplace. Nothing is really new, and every trick in the book has already been tried and tested. Smoke and mirrors, flowery words and calls to action do nothing except annoy consumers and make them ignore the product being promoted in that way. Of course, direct marketing and hard sells live on in the world of infomercials – but fundamental brand advertising has changed.


There used to be a time when ads had to be written with hyperbole. ‘Amazing,’ ‘Miraculous’ and ‘Spectacular’ made common appearances in old print ads, usually in large bold letters. Add to that a few more impressive, flowery phrases and an image of a person with a wide-mouthed smile, and the product was almost as good as sold.

Selling meant singing nothing but praises, and getting customers to buy was the only end point for marketing efforts.

And then… it changed. Over the years, sales and marketing have become quite sophisticated due in part to evolving consumer behaviors and expectations. Today’s customers are not as so easily wowed by “smoke and mirrors”. It is not enough that marketers say their product is the best. Even ‘New!’ doesn’t work as well any more. We live in an over-saturated — over-messaged – marketplace. Nothing is really new, and every trick in the book has already been tried and tested. Smoke and mirrors, flowery words and calls to action do nothing except annoy consumers and make them ignore the product being promoted in that way. Of course, direct marketing and hard sells live on in the world of infomercials – but fundamental brand advertising has changed. Leer más “Selling is Not Smoke and Mirrors”

A Second Look At Blogging And Your Business

Whenever my marketer friend visits a website, right after looking at the product or service, he goes directly to the company’s blog. He tells me, “Show me a company’s blog and I’ll tell you if that company will be successful or not.” He makes an interesting point.

A blog, when used strategically, is an effective way to communicate with customers and clients – it’s also a powerful tool that can help directly generate revenue.

Blogging doesn’t require upfront expenses (well, except the time to create the content, which is something that can be managed by a dedicated person). Built attractively and written well, a blog can also drive traffic from search engines. Since each blog post can stand alone as its own page, marketers can merchandise relevant products and services on those pages, without any direct cost!


Whenever my marketer friend visits a website, right after looking at the product or service, he goes directly to the company’s blog. He tells me, “Show me a company’s blog and I’ll tell you if that company will be successful or not.” He makes an interesting point.

A blog, when used strategically, is an effective way to communicate with customers and clients – it’s also a powerful tool that can help directly generate revenue.

Blogging doesn’t require upfront expenses (well, except the time to create the content, which is something that can be managed by a dedicated person). Built attractively and written well, a blog can also drive traffic from search engines. Since each blog post can stand alone as its own page, marketers can merchandise relevant products and services on those pages, without any direct cost! Leer más “A Second Look At Blogging And Your Business”

How David Can Beat Goliath

The story of David and Goliath is, of course, a classic Biblical story. Some of you might have heard it at Sunday School when you were kids.

The headline would read: “Shepherd boy defeats giant, using only slingshot and a few carefully chosen stones!”

The story is often told as a metaphor for the victory of the underdog — how a small, usually insignificant entity can overthrow the dominating opposition.

In the realm of marketing and sales, the Davids are small businesses while the Goliaths are big, established brands. The latter overshadows its little competitors by their sheer size and reach. Everyone knows about Starbucks, what to buy there and how much it costs. The same cannot be said for the local café down the other block.


The story of David and Goliath is, of course, a classic Biblical story. Some of you might have heard it at Sunday School when you were kids.

The headline would read: “Shepherd boy defeats giant, using only slingshot and a few carefully chosen stones!”

The story is often told as a metaphor for the victory of the underdog — how a small, usually insignificant entity can overthrow the dominating opposition.

In the realm of marketing and sales, the Davids are small businesses while the Goliaths are big, established brands. The latter overshadows its little competitors by their sheer size and reach. Everyone knows about Starbucks, what to buy there and how much it costs. The same cannot be said for the local café down the other block. Leer más “How David Can Beat Goliath”

How’s Your Website’s Landing Page?

Question: Is your value proposition reflected in your landing page? Can people tell right away:

* What you are offering?
* Who you wish to appeal to?
* Why they would be interested in your offer?
* What they need to do to participate/purchase?

If you own a website, a particular challenge that you’ll face is how you can be found amidst a throng of like-minded individuals who are also grappling for a potential customer’s attention in this free-for-all space. What will make you stand out from the rest? What will set you apart?

As trivial as it may seem, first impressions really do last, so look your best the first time. And this is where landing pages, the first thing that they will see, will play a crucial role in your business.


August 6, 2010

Question: Is your value proposition reflected in your landing page? Can people tell right away:

  • What you are offering?
  • Who you wish to appeal to?
  • Why they would be interested in your offer?
  • What they need to do to participate/purchase?

If you own a website, a particular challenge that you’ll face is how you can be found amidst a throng of like-minded individuals who are also grappling for a potential customer’s attention in this free-for-all space. What will make you stand out from the rest? What will set you apart?

As trivial as it may seem, first impressions really do last, so look your best the first time. And this is where landing pages, the first thing that they will see, will play a crucial role in your business. Leer más “How’s Your Website’s Landing Page?”

Are Your Marketing Materials Consistent?

So you started your business with a clear mission, vision and values. You know your objectives, and you’re excited to implement your marketing strategies.

You know you need to build your communications based on your value propositions, so you look at some of the most commonly used marketing materials and decide which ones you’ll create for your company such as brochures, newsletters, product sheets, and business cards.

With a copywriter and a great graphic designer, it should be easy right? So why do we still see some inconsistent marketing messages in some marketing materials?

The importance of consistent look and feel

A few weeks ago I was at a mall with a friend and we were handed out these brochures and flyers by a real estate developer. At first look they were pretty nice, but after reading through the materials I spotted several grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the contact information. At home I checked their site to look at photos of the residential housing units they’ve developed and saw the same inconsistencies, this time including themes and colors.

As a marketer and writer, I’ve developed an eye for these things, and this tells me that as business owners, marketers and salespersons need to be reminded of the importance of the consistent look and feel of all marketing materials. These materials are the ‘face’ of the company, so it’s important that they deliver the right, consistent messages in order to be attractive and effective. Some guidelines:


So you started your business with a clear mission, vision and values. You know your objectives, and you’re excited to implement your marketing strategies.

You know you need to build your communications based on your value propositions, so you look at some of the most commonly used marketing materials and decide which ones you’ll create for your company such as brochures, newsletters, product sheets, and business cards.

With a copywriter and a great graphic designer, it should be easy right? So why do we still see some inconsistent marketing messages in some marketing materials?

The importance of consistent look and feel

A few weeks ago I was at a mall with a friend and we were handed out these brochures and flyers by a real estate developer. At first look they were pretty nice, but after reading through the materials I spotted several grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the contact information. At home I checked their site to look at photos of the residential housing units they’ve developed and saw the same inconsistencies, this time including themes and colors.

As a marketer and writer, I’ve developed an eye for these things, and this tells me that as business owners, marketers and salespersons need to be reminded of the importance of the consistent look and feel of all marketing materials. These materials are the ‘face’ of the company, so it’s important that they deliver the right, consistent messages in order to be attractive and effective. Some guidelines: Leer más “Are Your Marketing Materials Consistent?”

Disney – Why People Wait on Line

That’s how we felt after six days of shifting between Disney’s three theme parks, Universal, and Universal’s Island of Adventure (where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Wizarding World of Harry Potterdebuted this year). I don’t want to merely repeat the thoroughly covered subject of Disney’s service excellence. But, I do want to share some observations about the whole theme park experience and its relevance to all service business models and marketing.

For one, there were a lots of similar rides, experiences – clearly a lot of copying going on in this industry of best ideas and similar concepts. In itself that’s certainly not a bad thing. We really had a great time, but there were a few things that stood out.

There was Disney’s queuing system and methodology that has become the standard of how to make 1 hour lines not feel like one hour lines. Everything from a lot of twists and turns peppered with a lot of entertainment along the way. Basically everything and anything possible to distract you from the fact that you are asked to wait an hour or an hour and a half to enjoy the ride.

And here came my question… ‘Why do we wait in line for an experience?’


Exhausted…

That’s how we felt after six days of shifting between Disney’s three theme parks, Universal, and Universal’s Island of Adventure (where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Wizarding World of Harry Potterdebuted this year). I don’t want to merely repeat the thoroughly covered subject of Disney’s service excellence. But, I do want to share some observations about the whole theme park experience and its relevance to all service business models and marketing.

For one, there were a lots of similar rides, experiences – clearly a lot of copying going on in this industry of best ideas and similar concepts. In itself that’s certainly not a bad thing. We really had a great time, but there were a few things that stood out.

There was Disney’s queuing system and methodology that has become the standard of how to make 1 hour lines not feel like one hour lines. Everything from a lot of twists and turns peppered with a lot of entertainment along the way. Basically everything and anything possible to distract you from the fact that you are asked to wait an hour or an hour and a half to enjoy the ride.

And here came my question… ‘Why do we wait in line for an experience?Leer más “Disney – Why People Wait on Line”