Before you can create a compelling value proposition, you really have to understand your customer and the very specific problem or need that customer has. It’s not rocket science to do this, but having a detailed template to guide your thinking is really helpful. That way, you make sure you don’t miss anything.
This article from Dave Bailey provides a terrific template for what he calls the “need narrative.” From the article:
As Steve Jobs said: you have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. Jobs understood that when you try to reverse-engineer the need statement from the product, it’s too easy to lose touch with reality.
Every need is contextual. It’s felt by a particular person, at a particular time, in pursuit of a particular end-goal. It has a functional side — e.g., ‘I need to make this picture look beautiful’ — and an emotional side — e.g., ‘I need attention from my friend’. And needs find a way of getting themselves met . . . with your product or without it.
I wanted to find a way to express my customer need that:
- builds empathy with an early-adopting niche
- clarifies the functional and emotional aspects of the need
- avoids the trap of working backwards from the product
That’s when I came up with the ‘need narrative’.