Why We’ve Altered The Value Proposition Canvas

After discovering the Value Proposition Canvas last year, I’ve been meaning to write about it for quite some time. I’ve written about the Business Model Canvas before, which ties in to the Value Proposition Canvas. For us here at Digital Heart, the Value Proposition Canvas is very interesting to us as it ties heavily into UX design. By understanding all of the six sections of the canvas, not only will it help you to streamline your product offering, but it will help you to streamline your user experience on your website. 

Read: Streamline Your Business Plan with the Business Model Canvas

The value proposition canvas template

It’s a tool that will allow you to design, test, build and manage great customer value propositions. It’s like a plugin to the business model canvas. The tool is based on two elements of your business model.

  • The customer segment who you intend to create value for
  • The value proposition which you believe will attract customers.

You can use this canvas to visualise your current value proposition,  competitors and plan the value proposition for ideas new products and services that you are considering building. 

Our version of the canvas

However, we feel that the ‘Customer’ section of the Value Proposition Canvas isn’t as clear as it could be. This is why we’ve modified the original canvas and created our own version.

Below is the original canvas. In our opinion, the wants, needs, and fears sections are clear enough. The ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ are too similar.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 15.43.30

The original Value Proposition Canvas

 

Here is our version. We’ve swapped out ‘wants‘ and ‘fears‘ for ‘pains‘ and ‘gains‘.

 

Our tweaked version of the Value Proposition Canvas

Our tweaked version of the Value Proposition Canvas

A good exercise is to download the Value Proposition Canvas template and fill it in. You can download it here. 

The product section uses the widely accepted marketing syntax of features and benefits with the addition of experience (from design thinking and UX). The product understanding sections include:

Product

Features
In this section, you’ll want to detail how your product works. For example, let’s use the work messaging app Slack as an example. Some of its benefits are that messages can sync across multiple platforms (desktop/mobile/tablet) and whole teams can communicate in a more centralised way.

Benefits
The benefits are what your product does for the customer. They are the ways that the benefits make your customer’s life easier. I.e. the seamless sync feature on slack allows your customer to stay up to date on team messages with other devices, making it a useful application for when you’re travelling or on the move. For this section, think about how exactly your product is helping your customer. Once you’ve done this, list all the points into the benefits section on the template canvas. This section is important because the benefits of your product are the driving force behind the value proposition.

Experience
The product experience is how the customer feels from owning your product. It’s different from the benefits and features sections because it covers the emotional points to why people have purchased the product.

Customer

The next section which is focussed on the customer jobs, gains and pains. For us, this section ties in nicely with our recent article on customer personas. You could plug in your customer persona details into this section of the value proposition canvas.

Read: How To Create A Customer Persona

Gains
The gains describing the outcomes and the benefits your customers require, expect, desire, or would be surprised by. This includes this like functional utilities, social gains, positive emotions and cost savings.
Pains
The pains describing anything that annoys your customers before, during and after getting a job done. This could be undesired costs and situations, negative emotions, or risks. Some customer pains will be severe, others, light.
Needs
Jobs describe an important issue your customers are trying to solve in their work and in their lives. It could be the tasks they’re trying to perform and complete, the problems theyre trying to solve, or the needs they’re trying to satisfy. Jobs can have a functional, emotional or social intent. Some jobs will be crucial to the customers, others will be trivial

Slack: Value proposition canvas example

Slack’s value proposition is included throughout their website. Their product page and homepage include features, benefits and the experience – everything we’ve covered so far. 

 

Value Proposition Canvas Example - Slack

Conclusion

The value proposition canvas can be used for testing new product ideas and also for quickly brainstorming marketing messages for websites and campaigns by figuring out the features, benefits and experiences in a short timescales. At Digital Heart this is something we believe is powerful not just for startups, but also for small businesses with limited resources that are working on updating or creating a brand new website. 

What do you think about our customised version of the canvas? Do you agree with our changes? Let us know in the comments below.

Download the Value Proposition Canvas template

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