«Who are you making a mobile application for?» it is one of the most important questions our team asks at their first meeting with customers. When answering this question, most people resort to the concept of target audience. They identify gender, age, location, average wage, interests etc. Everything is reduced to «filtering» people according to reference values, as it is done by a computer when analyzing big data: if «0» doesn't fit, «1» fits.  

So, who are you making a mobile application for? For men aged 23-43 with above-average income, who live in Kiev and are interested in cars? Or for women who have private cars? Are you sufficiently aware of customer goals, challenges and needs? And what if your application doesn't solve their tasks in full and doesn't provide any substantial advantages? The answers to such questions are found in the Value Proposition Canvas.  

The Canvas consists of two elements: Customer Profile and Value Map. Through Customer Profile, we try to understand customer, their main goals and «pains», and through Value Map, we describe an application, create gains and «pain relievers» for customers. The Canvas seeks to ensure a fit. The fit is achieved when Value Proposition satisfies customer, i.e. meets their needs, helps accomplish goals and gives benefits.  

There are only three steps to take:  

1. Investigating customer;  

2. Creating value;

3. Achieving fit.  

This way, you will get an accurate answer to who you make your mobile application for. Let us look at each stage of Value Proposition Canvas development in more detail.  


Investigating customer  

This stage starts with a comprehensive analysis of potential users and customer profiles development. When analyzing potential users, we first and foremost focus on identifying all possible customer segments, for instance, a business owner or a construction company director, a logistics manager or a truck driver, and so on. Once we have the list of all user segments, we proceed to customer profiles development.

Customer profiles give a well-structured and detailed description of each user segment and contain customer objectives, pains and benefits.  

To objectives belongs something customers wish to accomplish in their professional or personal life, for instance, projects they seek to create, problems they want to solve or desires they wish to achieve. When analyzing customer objectives, we put ourselves in their position and try to think the way they do. It is important to consider all objectives and classify them according to specific types, such as functional, social, emotional, personal and other. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that not all tasks are essential to customers. Certain tasks are a priority, while other tasks are of almost no importance. That’s why, all customer objectives are sorted out on a priority basis. Consequently, we have an accurate and clear understanding of all customer goals and objectives.  

Pains are everything that «hurts» customers  –  their fears, worries, risks, hindrances, unwanted outcomes. When analyzing pains, we seek to answer the following questions: «What bothers customers before, while and after accomplishing a task?», «What stops them from accomplishing a task?», «What outcomes are they trying to avoid?», etc. Similarly to customer objectives, challenges may be serious or moderate.

Benefits are results and advantages customers wish to obtain. A benefit can be necessary, expected or wanted for customer, but it may likewise appear to be unexpected. To benefits belong usability, social advantages, positive emotions and costs reduction. Similarly to pains, benefits may be assessed by users as serious and moderate.


Creating value  

Value proposition is a detailed and well-structured description of functions, peculiarities and capacities of an application. Value proposition consists of products and services, «pain relievers» and gains.  

Products and services are a list of what our clients offer, main functions and a basis of a mobile application. Products and services help customers solve their functional, social or emotional tasks or meet their basic needs. Not all products and services are equally significant to customers. Some of them are mandatory for value proposition, while others are optional.  

«Pain relievers» are a description of exactly how products and services of our clients help customers overcome their pains. Pain relievers eliminate customer problems before, while and after accomplishing tasks. Successful value propositions usually focus on several problems they tackle exceptionally well. We separate mandatory and optional pain relievers, as not all pain relievers represent equal significance to customers.  

Gains mean benefits customers can have from products and services. They show how value proposition ensures outcomes and gains to customers. Gains include usability, social advantages, positive emotions and cost-effectiveness. They should also be sorted out on a priority basis, as not all gains may valuable to customers.  

When developing customer profile and value proposition, we try to be objective, to accurately determine each constituent of Value Proposition Canvas, to appropriately rank each constituent in relation to customers as well as not to mix up objectives and outcomes.  


Achieving fit  

At this point, we have a complete value map and a list of customer profiles. Our goal is to achieve the fit and identify the main customer profile. We check the extent to which value proposition fits each available customer profile, and only some achieve this fit. The fit is achieved when value proposition takes into account important tasks, offers help in dealing with serious problems and creates appropriate gains to customers.  


A Value Proposition Canvas development checklist:  

1. Make up a list of all potential users of your mobile application, whereby try to accurately determine each customer profile. For instance, a person who…  

2. Investigate every customer.  

2.1. Outline all goals and objectives. Rank them from the most important to the least important.  

2.2. Consider all «pains» and problems. Rank them from serious to moderate.  

2.3. Emphasize benefits and rank them.  

3. Present your application as a value map.  

3.1. Describe its main functions and services.  

3.2. Describe how functions and services will alleviate customer pains. Emphasize pain relievers.  

3.3. Create gains which will provide certain benefits to users.  

3.4. Arrange products and services, pain relievers and gains according to their significance to customers.  

4. Achieve the fit for each customer profile. Place the value map on the left and customer profile on the right. Tick each customer pain and pain reliever in case this pain is eliminated, and do so for each element of customer profile (gains create benefits; functions and services solve tasks). Please note that certain pains can be dealt with via application functions.  

5. Choose the main customer profile. After all previous stages, you have a clear picture of which segment is excited about your value proposition.

6. If you failed to achieve the fit, keep investigating! Create and test new customer profiles, improve your value proposition until the fit has been achieved.  

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