Why Your Value Proposition May Be Missing the Point

January 09, 2014

- Posted by Ryan Scott

Tip of the Iceberg

Floating islands of ice. Beautiful. Gleaming. Dangerous. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

When your marketing message is stuck on the tip of the iceberg, you’re missing the point. What can be seen above the waterline is only a tiny portion of the total mass. Most businesses spend 80% of their time marketing 20% of their value, missing the point of what matters most to their clients.

When you focus on the primary service too much, you make it boring and irrelevant both to your clients and yourself.

Anyone can see above the waterline and easily identify an iceberg, even in heavy fog. If you’re going to effectively communicate your unique value you must peel back the waterline giving your clients a peek at the 80% they wouldn’t normally notice.

It's in the underneath; that portion of your business that isn't elementary that identifies a brilliant company.

You can't fake it. Some companies are face-value; and that's okay. But if you've got value beyond common labels your customers will recognize it, but it's up to you to communicate it.

The Mistake in Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Brilliant is a transportation company. The scope of our clientele is limited to those who value premium, luxury transportation. Those outside of our client demographic won’t understand our value proposition.

The difficult part of marketing Brilliant isn't in appealing to the masses that don't understand. Those consumers see the tip of the iceberg; a price, a service, and that's all. Trying to explain to that market would be a futile practice of propping up a fraction of our business as a total of value.

It'll never work.

The better practice is to learn how to communicate what lies under the waterline, to those who understand and value what they see above the surface. Those who value "luxury transportation" can see our company above the surface; it's what we do beyond mere transportation that constitutes 80% of our value.

That’s the whole game.

What do we offer that’s valuable?

If my answer is transportation I’ve missed the point.

Transportation is the “main thing” we offer, but it's not what makes us brilliant.

What's Unique Below The Surface?

There’s thousands of transportation companies. In my hometown of Seattle, you can see vehicles driving by Lyft in Seattlewith big pink mustaches; a calling sign for yet another crowdsourced transportation service, Lyft, in the mold of Uber.

If transportation is our value, we're in the same ballpark as Lyft. We might as well buy a big pink mustache.

If our value proposition is based on our “main thing,” we fail.

Success isn’t marketing transportation, it’s in marketing what sets us apart in the transportation industry. We have to share the value that’s hidden below the waterline, which is 80% of our value.

This is marketing 101; what makes us different, or more valuable, than our competitors? Why should you go Brilliant?

Answering those questions can’t be relegated to our “main thing.” Anyone can take one look at us and identify that we’re a luxury transportation company.

Communicating that message is merely is informing people of what they already know. It’s a futile battle when you’re trying to convince clients your 20% is better than your competitors, when the "main thing" is technically the "same thing."

Trying to make “better transportation” our value prop is missing the point entirely.

On-Point Communication

Wedding planners, the value proposition isn’t in the wedding you plan; it’s what you do behind the scenes before the ceremony that sets you apart; things that no other wedding planner has thought of or is willing to do.

When marketing your business, spending time marketing the same thing as your competition is missing the point. Instead, give your clients a view of the value below the waterline, that part most people would never notice.

Which one makes more sense:

  • Offering slogans to convince our clients that we're a better transportation company than a competitor.
  • Educating the client that we do 80% of the work they pay for, before we ever pick them up; which makes the 20% they experience so phenomenal.

Our planning, practicing, training, logistics, and coordination below the waterline, is what makes the 20% that people see (the actual transportation part) amazing. Capturing our magic in a bottle, and giving it to our clients is how we can effectively market our premium service. 

We're a transportation company living on 80% of our expertise, doing more for our clients, in order to truly be a premium service; not in a product sense, but in the action sense. We do things to be of service to our clients.

Action over label.

Things like:

  • Drivers that know the best routes, and are experts at navigating those routes.
  • Sales teams that are customer service professionals rather than pressure salesmen.
  • Vehicles that are spotless, completely detailed before picking up the passengers.
  • Cutting-edge technology in perfect working condition for you to utilize on your trip.
  • Dry runs for each driver, practicing the routes and drop-off locations before major events and weddings.
  • Chauffeurs that are trained in serving the client, more along the lines of mobile butlers than drivers.
  • Vehicle interiors so comfortable it’s like riding in your living room.
  • 100% safety rating, even in the ice and snow-covered roads of the Northeast.
  • Strict chauffeur qualification screenings turning away 80% of applicants, ensuring each chauffeur is absolute expert.
  • Providing on-site coordinators that communicate between event coordinators, wedding planners, and all the vendors ensuring absolute seamless event transportation.

These add extra expense to the company, but it’s part of our unique value. You may not see the detailers cleaning each vehicle between uses, but you feel it when you climb aboard. Event planners don’t always see our drivers and coordinators staging dry-runs before the event; but they notice the efficiency and precision during the event.

That's the beauty of the 80% clients don't immediately recognize at face value; but that distinguishes great from normal.

Keeping The Customer the Main Thing

Marketing your business can’t be about your business. It has to be about the customer and the benefits they receive from a relationship with your business.

It’s in this subtle switch of focus wherein you’ll stop missing the point. It’s when you focus on the benefits of the customer that you start communicating the value below the waterline; the body of the iceberg.

The real value, below the waterline, is what you need effectively communicated to your clients. Businesses need to express, not what they do, but the benefits your clients receive from it.

Sometimes it’s hard as that line is a little blurry, and the distinction between the two is subtle. Mastering the ability to communicate your value is the powerful marketing message you’ve been wishing your company had.

Stop missing the point, and start communicating what really matters. Those things most people would never notice, but what constitutes the most of your unique value.


Free eBook: What Makes Us Brilliant

Topics: Business

Get your custom quote




Get a Quote

(212) 799-5555

[email protected]

The Brilliant Agency LLC
PO Box 9796, Jackson, WY, 83002

Luxury transportation experts focusing on special event transportation using Mercedes Sprinters, luxury mini buses, and coach buses in NYC and LA.