The business landscape is perpetually shifting, but the basic fundamentals of business rarely change.
Whether your company is a scrappy startup or an international juggernaut, it needs to find a way to consistently provide value to customers – and just as important, it needs to communicate that message succinctly and effortlessly.
At the foundation of these efforts exists the value proposition, a deceptively simple set of key messages that serve as an anchor for all sales and communications efforts for an overall brand or a specific offering.
Crafting the Value Proposition
Today’s infographic comes to us from Quick Sprout, and it covers the steps in establishing and communicating an effective value proposition that can help differentiate you from your competitors.
A quality value proposition is clear, easy to understand, and communicates the specific results a customer will get. It also must explain how the product or brand is different and better than competing ways to solve the same problem (i.e. competitors, legacy processes).
Nailing these criteria helps to create an effective foundation for all sales and marketing efforts, and it can also provide a useful compass for guiding any future messaging.
While the concept behind a value proposition is pretty simple, that doesn’t make coming up with one a simple task.
There are literally millions of companies in the world, and likely tens of thousands that do something similar to your company. How do you stand apart from these competitors? How do you clearly articulate the value that you can provide?
One suggestion is to look at the customer experience methodically, and to fill out an exercise similar to this one created by digital brand strategist Peter Thomson:
As Peter skillfully articulates, a value proposition is the intersection between what you make and why people buy it. This intersection is what connects business strategy and brand strategy.
What good is discovering value if it can’t be articulated clearly and concisely?
After you’ve explored the customer experience, here’s a way to put it into words:
1. Identify customer benefits
Make a list of all benefits you offer to your customers
2. Link benefits to value offering
Identify what value your products bring to your customer
3. Differentiate and position yourself
Make it clear who the target customer is, what you offer to them, and how you are different
Using these points, a winning value proposition can be crafted – and if it’s something that is being shown online (i.e. landing page, product page) it may make sense to include the following elements: a headline, a subheadline or paragraph, three bullet points, and a visual element.
Finally, here are some tactics that are relied on to further the effectiveness of the value prop:
|Tactics for developing effective value props||% Use|
|Clearly explain the value of products and services||71%|
|Clearly explain why the ideal customer should choose your solution||56%|
|Develop unique value props for separate products or services||52%|
|Target specific value props for specific buyer personas||45%|
|Testing value props through various media||20%|
What other tactics do you use to craft a compelling message about your company or product?
Charting Revenue: How The New York Times Makes Money
This graphic tracks the New York Times’ revenue streams over the past two decades, identifying its transition from advertising to subscription-reliant.
When it comes to quality and accessible content, whether it be entertainment or news, consumers are often willing to pay for it.
Similar to the the precedent set by the music industry, many news outlets have also been figuring out how to transition into a paid digital monetization model. Over the past decade or so, The New York Times (NY Times)—one of the world’s most iconic and widely read news organizations—has been transforming its revenue model to fit this trend.
This chart from creator Trendline uses annual reports from the The New York Times Company to visualize how this seemingly simple transition helped the organization adapt to the digital era.
The New York Times’ Revenue Transition
The NY Times has always been one of the world’s most-widely circulated papers. Before the launch of its digital subscription model, it earned half its revenue from print and online advertisements.
The rest of its income came in through circulation and other avenues including licensing, referrals, commercial printing, events, and so on. But after annual revenues dropped by more than $500 million from 2006 to 2010, something had to change.
|NY Revenue By Year||Print Circulation||Digital Subscription||Advertising||Other||Total|
In 2011, the NY Times launched its new digital subscription model and put some of its online articles behind a paywall. It bet that consumers would be willing to pay for quality content.
And while it faced a rocky start, with revenue through print circulation and advertising slowly dwindling and some consumers frustrated that once-available content was now paywalled, its income through digital subscriptions began to climb.
After digital subscription revenues first launched in 2011, they totaled to $47 million of revenue in their first year. By 2022 they had climbed to $979 million and accounted for 42% of total revenue.
Why Are Readers Paying for News?
More than half of U.S. adults subscribe to the news in some format. That (perhaps surprisingly) includes around four out of 10 adults under the age of 35.
One of the main reasons cited for this was the consistency of publications in covering a variety of news topics.
And given the NY Times’ popularity, it’s no surprise that it recently ranked as the most popular news subscription.
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