How to Write a Killer Value Proposition Part 3: Where the Magic Happens

In the previous blog in this series, we discussed how to be more ‘Sherlock’ when performing discovery interviews to uncover the truth about what your customers really care about. Remembering the words of Sherlock Holmes,

“I never guess, it is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. ... Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

So moving on, you’ve completed your first round of discovery interviews. In front of you, on the desk are probably 10-20 discussion guides with handwritten notes and scribbles all over them. You need to convert this valuable data into actionable insights, but where on earth do you start? Unfortunately there is no magic wand and I’m not going to lie; this part of the process can feel like a real slog and it’s going to take a significant amount of time and effort to analyse your data. But this is where the magic happens, as you reflect on the stories you’ve heard from your customers you start to really understand the role you can play in solving their problems.

I’ve tried various methods to analyse interviews and in this blog I’ll share my favourite. Probably worth noting that I much prefer the freedom and creativity of a high-lighter pen, Post-it notes and a Sharpie at this stage, but if you prefer a bit more structure then an Excel spreadsheet with colour-coded cells will do the job.

1. Grab your Highlighter Pens

Reading through your handwritten notes, start by highlighting your customers frustrations, challenges and pain points. Then, taking another colour start to high light your customers gains - the things that delight your customers. I will then usually select another colour and highlight ‘things that I find interesting but I don’t know why yet’. I realise that this probably sounds a bit odd, but I do believe that innovation is an emotional sport; of course our main focus is following the data but occasionally we do follow the gut. These insights can sometimes be the real nuggets which differentiate propositions.

2. Grab your Post-It Notes

Transcribe the things you have highlighted from all your discussion guides onto Post-it notes – one insight per Post-it note. Virtual Post-it notes can be used here and tools like Miro and Mural are great for analysing data across remote teams.

3. Let the Magic Begin

Start to cluster your Post-it notes together. You are looking for themes and patterns to start emerging. A theme can be a cluster of insights around a common cause or pain point/opportunity gain. The themes are not normally easily identifiable until you look across your data as a whole. A pattern is when you see that insight reoccurring, for example, with a specific customer segment. When you have built your clusters of themes and patterns, take another Post-it note for each and write a short title, or headline which summarises the cluster.

4. Do It Again

Often, when we are looking for themes and patterns the first time we default to the easiest and most obvious. For example, if when exploring home fitness we might discover that many people have unused exercise bikes at home because they find it difficult to self-motivate. When you have done the Post-it clustering exercise once, challenge yourself to start over again and start to look more specifically for root causes, trying to understand why certain pain points occur. Using the same example, through further analysis we might learn it’s difficult to self-motivate to use your exercise bike at home without the encouragement of a trainer or the camaraderie of a class with a common purpose.

5. Start Ranking

This is where we start to move from qualitative to quantitative data and it can be useful to start collating how many times you see the same pain point or opportunity gain. We are looking to identify our top pain points or opportunity gains. You can keep track by tallying on your Post-it note, i.e. we heard five times that travelling time to a good gym was a pain point when considering personal training options.

After you’ve written up your discovery interviews you should now have a clear idea of the top pain points and opportunity gains from your customers perspective; and if all has gone well, somewhere through this process you’ll have had a true ‘Abracadabra’ moment.

In the next blog we’ll discuss how we convert this into your value proposition statement.

If you found this blog useful then maybe you would like to read Part 1: What is a Value Proposition Anyway and Part 2: How to be More Sherlock.

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash


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