There is certainly a degree of softening demand across a few sectors currently, or at least some big fluctuations between monthly demand. The world is nervous. In a tough environment we need to be even more highly adaptable and flexible, and we need to make the most of every possible opportunity.

A key growth initiative in tough times is to review your value proposition to make sure it is aligned with the current trading environment. Simply put, the value proposition is the reason why a customer turns to one company over another. It is your primary ‘points of difference’. The Gains and Pains Model* below is a good method of evaluation your product and service offering, to ensure it aligns with your customers’ current needs.


Gains describe the benefits your customer expects, desires or would be surprised by. These can include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

With regards to your product and service offering ask yourself, does your offering:

1.  Create savings that make your customer happy? (e.g. in terms of time, money and effort)

2.  Produce outcomes that go beyond the customers’ expectations? (e.g. better quality, more of something, less of something)

3.  Copy or outperform current solutions that delight your customer? (e.g. regarding specific features, performance)

4.  Make your customer’s job or life easier? (e.g. flatter learning curve, usability, accessibility, more services, lower cost of ownership)

5.  Create positive social consequences that your customer desires? (e.g. makes them look good, produces an increase in power, status)

6.  Do something customers are looking for but haven’t yet been able to source? (e.g. good design, guarantees, specific or more features)

7.  Fulfil something customers are dreaming about? (e.g. help produce big achievements, produce big reliefs)

8.  Produce positive outcomes matching your customers success and failure criteria? (e.g. better performance, lower cost, better ROI)

9.  Help to make adoption easier? (e.g. lower cost, less investment, lower risk, better quality, performance, design)


Pains describe negative emotions, undesired costs and situations, and risks that your customer experiences or could experience before, during, and after getting the job done.

With regards to your product and service offering ask yourself, does your offering:

1.  Produce savings for the customer? (e.g. in terms of time, money, or efforts)

2.  Make your customers feel better? (e.g. kills frustrations, annoyances, things that give them a headache or stress)

3.  Fix underperforming solutions? (e.g. new features, better performance, better quality)

4.  Put an end to difficulties and challenges your customers encounter? (e.g. make things easier, helping them get things done, eliminate resistance)

5.  Wipe out negative social consequences that your customers encounter or fear? (e.g. loss of face, power, trust, or status)

6.  Eliminate risks your customers fear? (e.g. financial, social, technical risks, or what could go awfully wrong)

7.  Help your customers sleep better at night? (e.g. by helping solve big issues, diminishing concerns, or eliminating worries)

8.  Limit or eradicate common mistakes that customers make? (e.g. operating mistakes)

9.  Get rid of barriers that are keeping your customer from adopting solutions? (e.g. lower or no upfront investment costs, flatter learning curve, less resistance to change)


Once you have completed this exercise, ensure your marketing collateral and activities, and your sales strategies and conversations are fully aligned to your value proposition.

*This article has been derived from the Gains and Pains Model which is copyright of Business Model Foundry Gmb.