Marketing for Entrepreneurs: 3 Tests of Value Proposition

I was again invited by Go Negosyo to the free “Mentor Me On Wheels” caravan last October 17, 2019 at the SM Megamall. Three entrepreneurs were assigned to me, but due to space constraint, I will only share one case then cite marketing lessons entrepreneurs can learn from the case.

Remy is an Iloilo entrepreneur who wanted to distribute leche flan to online resellers. When I challenged him why I have to buy from him, his answer was typical of many entrepreneurs, “Low Price”, meaning 3 for P100 with each leche flan weighing 230ml. He could not answer why another leche flan is needed in the marketplace, he could not explain his uniqueness beyond low price, and he could not explain why he has the credential in making leche flan aside from the fact that his partner knows how to make one. This is a symptom of supply side thinking. And his case is not unusual for an entrepreneur.

To help Remy market his leche flan well, I shared with him the three tests of value proposition being used by my training firm, Mansmith and Fielders Inc. The first test is the relevance test. Upon probing, he shared that in Iloilo, he dislikes the leche flan of an existing maker because they are too big to be consumed by one (400 ml), too expensive (P120), too pale looking and too sweet, thus, he learned that these four are called pain points, and his creation passed the relevance test. The second test is the uniqueness test. Upon deeper probing, I was able to identify the following four key features that he can highlight — single serve, appetizing caramel appearance, no sugar added, and friendly Pinoy price.

Finally, I encouraged him to be believable by emphasizing branding as well to compete and win in food shows. Meantime, he can do mass sampling so people can know that he has a good product. To compete and do sampling simultaneously, I introduced Remy to Mercato Centrale (the biggest night food market in the Philippines) by founder RJ Ledesma, who generously offered a free trial booth in his popular food stall that incubates new food entrepreneurs. Remy was extremely delighted that his dilemma was solved in 20 minutes. He confessed that he has been mentored previously by many but none were as specific and as quick. The Go Negosyo mentee got not just lessons applicable to his business, he also got an opportunity to a new food location.

Here are some marketing lessons from Remy’s leche flan business that other entrepreneurs may also learn from:

  1. Avoid supply side thinking. Always think from demand side or use the point of view of customers in formulating both your offer as well as your marketing.
  2. Identify pain points of the target customers. This is a big opportunity for a new entrant to exploit.
  3. Think beyond low price by highlighting key features and uniqueness.
  4. Build your branding to be believable. Branding is not about imaging alone, it entails critical activities such as endorsements, testimonials, winning credible awards to attain desired brand identity.
  5. Be clear with your target market, then plan how to reach them by creating awareness and trial. For food products, sampling is an effective system.

Josiah Go

Josiah Go is the Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., and Chairman of Waters Philippines (the market leader in the direct selling of premium home water purifiers in the Philippines). He is Chairman / Vice Chairman / Director of over a dozen companies. Known as one of the Philippines’ most respected marketing gurus, he is the most awarded business educator of the Philippines having been recognized as one of the Agora Awardees in 1994, one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines in 2001, one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of the World in 2002 (the 1st and only Filipino in Business Education given by World JCI in a competition of over 1,000 TOYMs), and one of only two Lifetime Achievement Awardees by the Association of Marketing Educators (2007), the youngest marketing educator to be bestowed this honor. He was also given the Brand Leadership Award during the World Brand Congress in India (2009). His accomplishments was recognized by the international community where he has been included in the 10th edition of the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals (England). He is also the first Filipino to have completed the Blue Ocean Strategy qualification process in Blue Ocean Institute in INSEAD, France and is the first in Southeast Asia to have taught this as a 3-unit, full semester course in a university. He specializes in the fusion of marketing and innovation using the lenses of data-driven entrepreneurship and teaches advanced marketing subjects like Market-Driving Strategies, Business Model Innovation, 5 Skills of Master Strategists, Marketing Innovation, Mastering Innovation and Defense Strategy. He has given talks and facilitated over 1,000 marketing seminars in the Philippines and internationally to teams in diverse industries, in different situations and contexts. A thought leader with 18 bestselling and recordbreaking marketing and entrepreneurship books, Josiah has taught at the De La Salle and Ateneo Universities. He is an Executive Scholar of the Kellogg Business School (in Marketing and Sales Management) as well as the MIT Sloan (in Strategy and Innovation). He also took advance marketing programs at Harvard, Wharton and at the London Business School. His industry affiliations include being National President of the Philippine Marketing Association (1991), Chairman of the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (2002), National President of the Association of Marketing Educators (2004-2005). He continues to be involved in various advocacies aimed at youth empowerment and entrepreneurship namely, the Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA), Mansmith Innovation Awards, Day 8 Business Academy for SMEs, and the MarkProf Foundation.

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