A Taxonomy of Customer Pains and Benefits

I’m sure you’ve seen this before.

A triangle with the three vertices labeled as follows: Premium, Convenient, Cheap
positioning triangle

This triangle is a super-simplified way of discerning what pains your product or service is solving. In short, it helps you discern your value proposition.

Your company’s value proposition must provide benefits that perfectly match your customers’ pains. If the customer has no cash, you’ve got to be cheap. If they have no time, you’ve got to be fast, and so on.

First-time entrepreneurs asked to document their hypotheses about Pains and Benefits often experience “blank canvas” paralysis, the inability to get going because of a lack of a clear starting point.

That’s where this handy triangle comes in. It gives you a brief list of options, from which you can choose what fits best with your company and your customers.

This is very imprecise though.

It’s never as simple as, “I don’t have any cash,” or, “I’m short on time.”

If you want to solve the customer’s pains, you’ve got to understand them on a deeper level.

Of course, this requires interviewing your customers at length to get a full picture of the problem they are facing.

But, there is an intermediary step you can take.

This blog post aims to provide a set of categories and examples to guide an entrepreneur to find the relevant pain hypotheses, which can then be tested in interviews.

Each heading lists a category of Pain/Benefit. This is not an exhaustive list. Deep knowledge of your stakeholders will provide far more specific pain points and benefits. However, this list can kickstart the exploration process by giving you a running start.

So, find the pains that you think your customers may be feeling, then go out and talk to them about it!

Existential Risk / Survival

PainsBenefits
Losing their jobSaving their position
Ruining their careerMaintaining their career
BankruptcyFinancial stability
Physical painFree of discomfort
DyingLive long & prosper

Money (too little / more)

PainsBenefits
Expenses too highA growing savings account
Revenue too lowMore customers
More revenue from existing customers

Time / Convenience

Pains:Benefits:
Too many tasks to do every dayA simpler schedule
No personal timeMore personal time
Deadline missedHit the deadline with confidence

Shame / Status

Pains:Benefits:
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)Pride in being in the “in” group
Failure leads to public shame
Fear of being mediocre
Status increased
Impact recognized

Lonely / Connected

Pains:Benefits:
Depressed by lonelinessJoy from belonging
Socially isolated
Can’t find their “tribe”
Can’t breakin to social network
Connected to a community of like-minded people.

Bored / Fun

Pains:Benefits:
Ignorant of a topic of interestMastery of their craft
Seen it all beforeNovelty, something new to experience

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s