Marketing: Customer Proposition

What it is, and why you should have one

Publication date:2016


A customer proposition is a clear and concise definition of what your business offers your customers. It is in effect your promise to your customers – “do business with me, and this is what you will get”.

Why is a customer proposition important?

A customer proposition is important because it crystallises why customers should use your business rather than your competitors. This is important both internally (for your own staff) and externally (for your customers) as it highlights and reinforces the gap you are targeting in the market and any unique capability that you may have.

The development of a customer proposition can also highlight areas where perhaps you are not as strong as your competitors, and those where you are stronger, allowing you to either develop your weaknesses or promote your strengths.

A sign post for your business

In effect therefore, your customer proposition is your business rationale. Its iteration can help any business to focus its efforts on its core business and customers.

A robust customer proposition can also aid in the identification of new market sectors which your business can expand in, as the proposition should be highlighting the things that your business excels in, and has a competitive advantage in vis-a-vis your competitors.

Helps to develop marketing and sales…

A customer proposition can also act as a foundation for the creation of marketing and sales messages and collateral. It clarifies what your business is about, and therefore, makes your communication messages (your sales and marketing messages) more concise and clear. The more concise and clear your sales messages – the greater the chance they have of being received and understood by your target market.

What does a customer proposition look like?

So, we can see the benefit of having a customer proposition in that it outlines what you are offering to the market, and what your customers can expect of you. But how do you construct one, and what do they look like.

Well in terms of constructing them, that should be the easy part, because it is iterating your business concept into words. Perhaps you have not done this before, but if you think why you started your business in the first place, you should be well on the way. And in terms of what they should look like, you should always try to make them as simple as possible.

Additionally, they should always highlight a key competitive advantage that you have over your competitors, as this helps to reinforce why your customers should continue to use your business, and why your business is targeting those customers.

For example, our customer proposition is:

“To provide cost-effective, appropriate personalised markeitng and online services to the SME / mid-corporate market”.

In the above proposition, the key words are:

“cost-effective” – were not looking at providing “big ticket” studies or fantastically expensive recommendations, were looking at providing effective solutions to your problems which don’t cost the earth, either in resources or money.

“appropriate” and “personalised” – just because something has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. All our advice and consultancy is unique to you – we haven’t got a standard package or template. Our services are unique to each of our clients and appropriate for their needs.

“SME / mid-corporate” – here we are defining our target market. Whilst we will do business with larger companies, it would be silly not to, our focus is on companies which do not have large marketing departments, which do not employ large agencies, i.e. companies where our advice and consultancy can make the most difference.

Download: Customer Proposition (PDF)