Marketing for entrepreneurs: Tests of value proposition

/ 05:02 AM November 22, 2019

I was again invited by Go Negosyo to the free “Mentor Me On Wheels” caravan on Oct. 17 at SM Megamall.

Three entrepreneurs were assigned to me, but due to space constraints, I will only share one case then cite marketing lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from the case.


Remy is an Iloilo-based entrepreneur who wanted to distribute leche flan to online resellers.

When I asked him why I had to buy from him, his answer was typical of many entrepreneurs, “low price,” meaning three for P100 with each leche flan at 230 milliliters.


He could not answer why another leche flan was needed in the marketplace. He could not explain his uniqueness beyond the low price, and he could not explain his qualifications to make leche flan, aside from the fact that his partner knows how to make it.

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 some 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 person (400 ml), too expensive (P120), too pale and too sweet.

He thus 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 emphasize branding. He can compete and win in food shows to prove the value of his product.

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.

The Go Negosyo mentee got not just lessons applicable to his business, he also got an opportunity to enter a new food location.

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

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.

Identify pain points of the target customers. This is a big opportunity for a new entrant to exploit.

Think beyond low price by highlighting key features and uniqueness.

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.

Be clear about your target market, then plan how to reach them by creating awareness and trial. For food products, sampling has proven to be effective.

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