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What The Heck Does "Value Proposition" Really Mean Anyway?

By Paul Flowers, President, Circa 46, a Senior Housing Forum Partner

Since Pam McDonald gave me a shout out in her excellent article on website value propositions, I wanted to add my two cents on how to develop a strong one – not only for your website, but for all of your marketing communications.

When considering what makes a strong value proposition, start by recognizing there is a problem with the word “value.” It is one of the most overused terms in advertising. After all, what makes something “a value” is really in the eye of the beholder.  

What Makes Something “A Value”?

There are at least four ways to define “value,” depending on where you are coming from:

  1. Value can be “low price” – Is your community the low-cost provider in its market area?

  1. Value can be “getting what I want” – Can you focus your messaging on something your community is uniquely qualified to deliver that is also valued by a certain segment of the senior cohort?

  1. Value can be simply the “best quality available” – Does your community deliver better quality living than the other communities in your market, regardless of price?

  1. Value can be “what I get for what I am willing to pay” – Does your community deliver better quality living than other comparably priced competitors?

A community must deliver on one of these value definitions in order to have a winning value proposition. Given these definitions, can you identify an aspect of your community that creates sufficient value to encourage a prospect to gravitate toward you instead of other communities in your market? Here are some ideas you might wrap around your messaging that can create value in the eyes of your prospects:

  • Demonstrate how your community offers clearly better quality than competing communities, whether that better quality relates to living arrangements, amenities, service levels, medical support, etc. (I know of one community that conducts exotic travel excursions as part of its value offering. They took residents to Peru to visit Machu Picchu this past spring!)

  • Describe unique attributes your community has that your competitors cannot match. (One community hired a well-known local chef to oversee its food preparation.)

  • Demonstrate how you make it easier for a prospect to move to your community. (Maybe retain a “downsizing consultant” to help prospects decide what possessions to take to the community, or a real estate investor who will purchase a prospect’s home at a fair market price.)

  • Are you in a more convenient location than your competitors? If so, how can you demonstrate it? (Another community promotes its close proximity to a large shopping mall.)

  • Are there any recent improvements you have made to your community that you can flag?  

These are just a few ideas. There are many more. But if you want to hit a homerun in the value delivery game, see if you can take your value offering to a higher level by finding ways it defies comparison to other communities – that is, areas where your community offers benefits for prospects your competition simply cannot deliver, and likely never will.

A Contract between You and Your Prospect

Pam explains in her article, a value proposition is “a clear statement of what you do or offer.” I like to take it a step further by suggesting a value proposition should be a contract between you (the senior housing provider) and your prospective resident. That contract reads something like this:

If you (the prospective resident) will move to my community, you will be rewarded by (value promise goes here), which is different and better than what other senior living options offer because (whatever it is about that value promise that makes it different and better than what competitors can offer).

By thinking of your value proposition as a contract, you will clarify what you want your prospect to do and how you will reward that prospect for doing what you ask them to do.  And by doing this, your contract can become the foundation upon which all other marketing communications can be built.

For more information, about Circa 46, an advertising agency with a speciality in senior living, please click on the Circa46 button below. Or call them at (469) 227-3271.


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