Value Proposition Fundamentals


A value proposition is a set of promises that defines how your offering will create value. Some of these promises matter and some don’t. The key to success is to know the real difference between the two. To win, you need to stay focused on the promises that matter.

Definition of an Offering:

Before diving into value proposition fundamentals, there are some key concepts that we need to review. First of all, we need to define the meaning of an offering. An offering is a specific solution that you offer in a specific market. It is the atomic unit of value creation.

A market is a specific customer and the relevant competition.

A customer is a population with similar preferences in a specific region.

Nothing matters more than your offering. It is the way that you create value and succeed.

Promise Fundamentals:

To create value and succeed your offering needs to meet two key requirements. First, a customer needs to experience it. Second, your offering must keep promises that matter.

A promise is a specific commitment to the way your offering will and won’t create value.

A promise has three parts. First, there is its direction. Second, its path. Third, its type.

The first part of a promise is its direction. This is the purpose of an offering’s promise. Each promise has two possible directions. It is either maximizing or it is minimizing.

A maximizing promise is focused on making life better. This means that the promise your offering makes is kept by maximizing your customer’s experience with the offering

A minimizing promise is focused on making life easier. This means that the promise your offering makes is kept by minimizing the customer’s barriers to experiencing the offering.

A maximizing promise has two possible paths:

  • Flexibility is the customization that the customer gets.
  • Quality is the functionality that the customer gets.

A minimizing promise has two possible paths:

  • Price is the cost a customer pays to get the offering.  
  • Delivery is the time a customer waits to get the offering.

The third part of a promise is its type. There are two possible types of promises:

  • Objective refers to a promise you can measure directly.
  • Subjective refers to a promise you can’t measure directly. 

Each promise that an offering makes always has three key parts. A promise has two possible directions. Each direction has two possible paths. Each path has two possible types. This means that each offering has eight possible promise options. 


Every offering makes promises. Some of these promises matter and some of them don’t. To win you must prioritize the promises that matter and ignore the ones that don’t.