Building C-Suite support for your new product idea

New product ideas jostle for attention of C-Suite executives for people, or time, or money

How do you capture C-Suite attention and gain approval of your idea?

In senior executives’ minds, product development is only one of many proven ways of turning resources into growth and revenues. They are keenly aware that uncertainty is baked into product development. Uncertainty about an idea’s marketplace acceptance and dynamism is high in the front end of development. Some executives are “parachute” critics who do not take time to read pre-meeting materials. Your request to them for people, time, and money must be fast, novel, and concrete.

You can capture attention and gain approval by presenting a compelling value proposition

A new product idea’s compelling value proposition is a short, three-sentence document. It is prepared in the front end of development to guide resource sharing. It also clarifies and confirms prime customers’ interest in the idea. It is used inside the business unit to guide the idea’s commercialization. Later derivatives such as a unique selling proposition are used for outside sales and marketing tasks.

1st Sentence

For those (target customers in the new product’s value chain) who are dissatisfied with (competitive products).

2nd Sentence

Our new product provides (a unique ability for solving customers’ key gain/pain* problem).

3rd Sentence

Unlike (competitive products) our new product solves this problem with a gain/pain ratio ≥ 10.

A compelling value proposition is novel, concrete, and built for action now. It contains the key, and often unique, discoveries from wide-ranging fieldwork with prospective customers on gauging marketplace acceptance and market dynamism.  It gains C-Suite commitment to go ahead to the next milestone on the road to commercialization.

Pros and cons of building a compelling value proposition


  • Reduces early stage risks for B2B product ideas.
  • Builds an investment-ready idea.
  • Serves as an internal guide for commercialization and launch


  • Lengthens early stage fieldwork on size and value of opportunity
  • Needs primary market research skills and sources to gauge marketplace acceptance

But wait, there’s more

  • Fieldwork helps discover lead users.

Lead users want to work with the development team in the fuzzy front end.

  • Fieldwork helps unearth latent needs. Often the idea can uniquely deliver these previously unarticulated needs.

Building a compelling value proposition

There are many ways to gather information to build a compelling value proposition in the front end of product development. I prefer elicitation through phone interviews for its speed and global reach.


*Gain … competitive advantage the new product delivers to customers.

*Pain … total cost for customers to adopt the new product.

(2002) Castellion, George Telephoning Your Way to Compelling Value Propositions The PDMA Toolbook For New Product Development p63-86, John Wiley & Sons, NY, NY

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