Is your value proposition strategic?

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Strategic marketingStrategic accountsStrategic initiatives. The business world is littered with the term strategicWhat does “strategic” mean and are your value propositions strategic?  

Applying the opposite test [1] may offer insight. Just how much time should your business spend on non-strategic marketing, non-strategic accounts, or non-strategic initiativesMay I suggest noneThe nonsense nobecomes clearer. The word “strategic” is so over-used that it has effectively lost its meaning.  

The central rule of a framework, designed to unify all actions and decisions around busting the bottleneck to achieving the foremost aspiration 

But what does this mean?

This is where asking “is your value proposition strategic?” and comparing the definition a value proposition with strategy might help understanding. 

Value Proposition Definition

Building on the Jobs-to-be-done theory of Christiansen [2] , Ulwick[3]  and Osterwalder’s Strategyzer team[4] 

Customers aspire to get jobs done. Sending an email when travelling is an example of a customer job. Try to remember life before the iPhoneWhilst it was possible to send from a desktop PC, whilst travelling carrying a heavy laptop (together with a dial up modem, foreign adapters & cablesand working out the hotel phone codes was a painful experience. The solution addressed the customer jobs, but there were multiple bottlenecks to making it a painless experience. With the iPhone, and its partners, and an integrated product and service office, many of these bottlenecks to a painless experience were busted, creating a powerful value proposition.   

Is your value proposition strategic?

Strategy Definition

Compo’s Emergent Approach to Strategy [5]  uses a triad of 

Approach to strategy

to help classify the basic components of a framework for strategy. 

From a business perspective the aspiration is comparable to Christensen’s “outcomes that customers are seeking” when trying get a job done.   

Likewise, the bottleneck is like the customer pains and unachievable desired outcomes (gains).  The strategy definition focuses on busting bottlenecks, as a value proposition focuses on addressing pains and desired gains. Note a value proposition is not a long list of aspirations, and neither should be the strategy. Both terms solve the problems associated with achieving the aspiration. 

it may now be clearer that “strategy” has parallels with the “value proposition”. Indeed the “value proposition” could be seen as a special case definition of “strategy”.  

Definition of Strategy

A question for you. Thinking about these definitions of value proposition and strategy

  • How well defined are the value propositions in your business? 
  • How well understood is your business strategy? 
  • Might there be potential for improvement? And value creation?  

Arkaro can support your team to work through these challenges to help secure your profitable growth.

“Mark and I worked together in DuPont. We share the ambition to help businesses with strategy methods that quickly engage the minds of the people. He wants strategy that drives organisations with straightforward and down-to-earth guidance that brings harmony and efficiency to the organization in meeting its aspirations. This is why Mark is a natural partner to deliver the Emergent Approach™.”

Dr. Pete Compo, Emergent Approach to Strategy, Arkaro


Dr Pete Compo
Author of the Emergent
Approach to Strategy

[1] The Opposite Test is one of the 5 Disqualifiers of Strategy from Pete Compo’s “Emergent Approach to Strategy” described in “Have you tested your strategy recently?”
[2] Clayton M Christensen, Michael E Raynor “The Innovator’s Solution”
[3] Ulwick, Anthony “Jobs to be done : From Theory to Practice”
[4] Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda, Smith “Value Proposition Design”
[5] Compo, Pete “The Emergent to Strategy”

Mark Blackwell - independent consultant Arkaro

Mark Blackwell

Mark Blackwell founded Arkaro in 2016 following a career in organisations both large and small, covering a wide range of industries including animal health, specialty chemicals, advanced materials, food and feed ingredients.  13 years at DuPont included 8 years of consulting  roles across multiple businesses.  Expertise included Six Sigma, Integrated Business Planning, Product Line Management and Business Productivity. At this time Mark worked with Pete as the ideas forming Emergent Approach to Strategy™ were developed.  More recently Mark has provided feedback on the book prior to publication and is the first affiliated partner to deliver the Emergent Approach to  Strategy™

Mark is based in the Geneva, Switzerland area.