The first question in business is the value proposition and the question comes from the consumer as he asks “what can your product or service do for me”.  A marketing company would try to convince businesses to use them because their methods are diverse and effective at generating interest in the companies they represent.  Restaurants offer new foods, fresher foods, great sit-down ambiance, or customer service that brings you back.  Maybe you just offer a coupon that says “we’re equally as good as the competitors, but you’ll save $10 when you come to us for your next oil change”.

As a quick challenge exercise, I invite you to think about your favorite products or companies that you are loyal to.  Why do you spend time or money with those products and companies?  Here are a few of mine:

Blackberry – I haven’t made the switch to the all mighty iphone yet because I fell in love with the Blackberry keyboard for texting, emailing, and taking notes.  Sure, I don’t have as many apps, but I don’t mind that at this point.

Dr. Pepper – I swear there is something addictive in it.  23 flavors!  I know it’s bad for my health, but when I take a sip I hear angels singing, I feel confident, and for a brief moment I can actually understand women.  Strangely, I can’t drink any other soda.  If Dr. Pepper isn’t an option at a restaurant or BBQ, I’m probably just getting water.

Toyota – I value dependability.  I also value not having engine troubles – EVER!  Well, that’s Toyota.  When I buy one of their vehicles, I know I’m getting a car that is well built, runs for a long time, retains much of its value over time, and gets good mileage.

Now, I bring up this topic as an opportunity to think about your own business for a minute.  Are your sales where you want them to be?  If not, why?  Are you offering a value to your target market?  Are you providing a solution to the pain points of your potential clients?  If your business has a good value proposition and offers solutions, then you need to find a way to market yourself better.  If your business is lost among the competition, or worse, you aren’t actually providing a real value to your target market, then maybe it’s time for you to innovate.

This is the first of 2 blog postings dealing with value propositions and innovation.  At this point I want to open it up to discussion to hear your thoughts and examples of creating value for your customers and innovating effectively to set yourself apart from your competition.  I also want to invite our site leaders to open up the meetings more to innovation brain storming sessions for our attendees in the coming month.