Value Props

Impact isn’t inevitable; it depends on what customers do with what they experience and learn.

Every startup must have value propositions (plural), at least one for each customer segment and just one for everybody. The big kahuna is called a universal value proposition (UVP). The One Ring to rule them all.

Before identifying our customer segments, I’ll mention that Humaginarium serves two types of customer: fans of the arts and consumers of health care. Though the same people are found in both categories, the categories don’t necessarily overlap. The way to keep them separate in your mind is to mark a basic difference between fans and consumers. A fan is an ardent admirer or enthusiastic devotee. Fans have passion. They buy what they love. A consumer on the other hand is a user of goods. Consumers have problems. They buy what they need.

During customer discovery in I-Corps, I tried to explain these customer types to our facilitators. They had a different mental model which I call materialistic. They understand consumers, they don’t understand fans. You can infer from this, as I did, that they obviously don’t understand behavioral science and economics, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

Humaginarium caters to fans of:

  • Strategy video games
  • Casual video games
  • Popular science
  • Science fiction/fantasy

These fans are equivalent to four customer segments. If customers don’t really truly love at least one of these genres of arts and entertainment, they’re not in our fandom. Though they may still be customers. Here’s why.

Humaginarium also caters to consumers of health care; specifically those who have a chronic illness. It’s safe to say that nobody loves health care but everybody needs it. The chronically ill need it more than others. We cater to two segments among consumers who have a chronic illness:

  • Those who are resisting (been diagnosed, being treated)
  • Those who are avoiding (at risk, maybe in denial)

These consumers are equivalent to two customer segments. If they aren’t resisting or avoiding a chronic illness, we don’t serve their needs. They may still be customers if we spark a passion.

So, seven customer segments show up in our business model. They can be refined and narrowed, but they’re good for now. The segments don’t necessarily overlap; people can be in just one. However it’s common to be in more than one. When that happens their perception of value in Humaginarium steeply rises. If you both love and need something or someone, that tends to rule some of your choices and decisions.

The gains we offer fans and consumers who use our product are listed below. Notice they are imminently palpable and harden with repeated use:

  • Pleasing entertainment
  • Useful health literacy
  • Aptitude for self-care
  • Deep physical self-awareness
  • Actionable framework for wellness

These gains produce beneficial aftereffects when they influence behavior beyond the product. For example in scenarios where consumers can control for things like:

  • Ignorant choices and decisions
  • Risky behavior and lifestyle
  • Irrational medical outcomes
  • Weak patient engagement
  • Avoidable medical costs

As with all entertainment and education, real-life impacts that minimize losses are not inevitable; they depend on what customers do with what they experience and learn. That’s one reason why repeatability (deliberate practice) is a pillar of video games. Practice makes perfect.

What about our UVP, the One Ring to rule them all? I’m still thinking about that, but for now I can’t do better than this:

A nudge to wellness.

May not sound like a big deal, but it is. Critical questions about every value proposition are: “Do customers care?” “How do we know they care?” “Even if they care, will they buy the product to see if they like it?” My answers are:

  • Customer discovery has strongly suggested that they care
  • They already spend liberally to satisfy or offset similar wants and needs
  • They don’t have to buy the product; they can use it for free

Easy. Frictionless. Risk-free. Huge upside potential.

Author: Robert S. Becker, Phd

Founder and CEO of Humaginarium LLC

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