/ Blog / Value Proposition Canvas – How To Manage Consumer Pains And Gains


Erik Petrov1


13 October 2022

Value Proposition Canvas – How To Manage Consumer Pains And Gains


We have all heard the famous proverb "No Pain, No Gain," and while it befits artists and athletes, it fits into the business and marketing world as well. 


Your business will better understand its customers’ wants and needs if the list of pains is more elaborate and comprehensive; hence the better your business "gains." 


Day after day, millions of new services and products are introduced into the market. Every business claims that its products are better than its competitors. Every new edition asserts that it's better than the one before it. 


Pains and gains identified


Why is this the case? 


The reason for this is a mismatch between what consumers desire and what businesses provide. Understanding the requirements of your customers and developing the product is a challenging task.  


Customer requirements are a complicated amalgamation of several criteria and are frequently in conflict with one another. Businesses should map out these demands, decide which ones they wish to address, and then rank those needs in order of importance. They also need to determine what problems to tackle — this also refers to market positioning – and includes choosing a target market and prioritising meeting their demands. 


This is where the Value Proposition Canvas plays an important role. 


By the end of this blog, you will get a complete understanding of the following: 


✔ What is the Value Proposition Canvas? 

✔ Benefits of VPC 

✔ What is a customer profile? 

✔ Jobs To Be Done 

✔ What are customer pains and gains? 

✔ Are customer pains and gains the same thing? 

✔ What are pain relief and gain creation? 

✔ How to properly use the canvas 


Let's begin! 


What is the Value Proposition Canvas? 


The VPC is a framework that can aid in positioning a product or service in light of the demands and values of the client. The Value Proposition Canvas puts a lot of emphasis on comprehending client problems and creating goods or services to address them. 


People don't want your product/service just because you tell them it's amazing. 


People won't purchase an item even though it has all the lights and bells if it doesn't substantially benefit them or if the worth and benefit aren't made obvious. 


Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, said, "In the factory we make products, in the drugstore we sell hope." 


Understanding what motivates consumers to make purchases is at the core of the Value Proposition Canvas. 


Dr. Alexander Osterwalder designed the Value Proposition Canvas as a framework to make sure that the market and product are compatible. It is a thorough tool for depicting the link between value propositions and client segments, two components of Osterwalder's larger business model canvas. 


When a new service or product offer is being created from the start or if an existing one needs to be improved, the Value Proposition Canvas can be utilized. 


A company's value proposition and customer profile serve as the foundation of the Value Proposition Canvas. But before diving into the depth of the entire framework and dissecting it, let's look at some advantages of the value proposition canvas. 


Advantages of the Value Proposition Canvas 


A business framework must have a value proposition canvas. It aids in decision-making and product positioning for the company. It goes beyond only being a graphic depiction of consumer preference. Businesses can adapt their strategy to meet the needs of their customers. This can assist in creating a product that consumers want. Let's look at the Value Proposition Canvas's key benefits. 


Broadens The Scope Of Marketing 


A lot of branding and marketing work goes into a new product's launch. Customers have to be informed about how purchasing the product would meet their demands. Customers' perceptions of the brand are strengthened as a result. Customers quickly begin to identify the brand for its high quality and responsiveness. Here, a Value Proposition Canvas is an effective tool. It recognizes client demands and creates a plan of action for them. This makes it easier for promotions and advertising to grab consumers' attention. 


Focused Planning 


It's easy to lose sight of the fundamental principles when fresh ideas are coming in at a rapid pace. Consequently, the designed product might fail to satisfy customer expectations. This is a situation you do not want to end up in, as the repercussions go beyond only financial losses. 


A VPC acts as a graphic guide and guarantees a focused approach to creating a product with great demand. 


Strong Consumer Engagement 


The secret to getting customers interested in your product and brand is to become customer oriented. Consumer happiness is prioritized as the most crucial aspect of product creation with this method. An overview of a value proposition canvas shows how needs are recognized and met. The benefit of this approach is that it enables you to concentrate on the qualities that clients find most valuable. Resulting in significant customer interaction. 


Simple and Practical 


Consumer Value Canvas provides a concise picture of the operation of the company. The performance analysis and product strategy become thorough yet straightforward. 


The Value Proposition Canvas also helps in: 


● recognizing the client's expectations and requirements 

● creating a product based on the requirements and desires of your target market; 

● evaluating an existing offering against a user's demand; 

● determining the appropriate product-market fit; 

● saving money and time by not making something that no one needs. 


Structure of the Value Proposition Canvas 


The 2 segments of the value proposition canvas


Customer Profile and Value Proposition are the only two blocks that make up the Value Proposition Canvas, as was explained previously. Since they emphasize "What" and "To Whom," they form the basis of the business model. Alternatively put, how your business offers value to your target market. 


The Customer Profile is towards the right side of the canvas, and it is divided into three categories: Jobs-to-be-done, pains, and gains.  


The Value Proposition is towards the left side of the canvas and is again divided into three categories: products & services, pain relievers, and gain creators.  


Let's examine each of these in detail. 


The Customer Profile 


The Value Proposition Canvas' Customer Profile section focuses on the needs of the target market. While there may be some complex motivational and psychological theories involved, the relieving of pain points is at the core of the need. 


Your value proposition needs to pinpoint an obvious but unmet client need and then instantly address it. The model of your service or product that was created through the development of your value proposition is the basis of your business framework.


An individual whose needs exactly match what you can accomplish better compared to anyone else is your ideal client. This doesn't imply that you should ignore your current clientele; rather, you should consider how they might develop into your ideal clients. 


Typically, the customer profile is your first step toward creating a value proposition canvas.  


The three categories of the customer profile, jobs-to-be-done, pains, and gains, should all be listed within the circle. Each client segment should have its own customer profile because each segment has different "jobs to be done," pains, and gains. 


When identifying the jobs, difficulties, and wants that end users can have, this group enables you to do it from their point of view. Put yourself in your customers' place. 


This might be a very transforming encounter for your company, one that has a strong influence on how well you develop your service or product to satisfy the needs and wants of your target market. 


Passing over this stage and rushing into product development are among the most frequent (and usually catastrophic) errors that businesses make. To successfully reach and satisfy your targeted audience in today's fiercely competitive markets, you must have a broader understanding of who they are, what they value most, what or who influences them, their pain points or weak points in relation to your service or product, and the benefits they stand to gain from using it. 


Now that we have established the importance of creating the customer profile let's move on to the categories. 




All of the tasks that consumers are attempting to solve are considered jobs. Any task a client is attempting to do might be included in these jobs. It could be the resolution of an issue, the completion of a task, or the satisfaction of any other desire they have. 


Additionally, it's critical to record each job's regularity and significance, as well as all the many functions that customers must fulfill and the settings in which they must be used. To finish this phase, you can evaluate the following questions: 


● What operational duties is my client attempting to carry out? (Daily chores, issues at work, etc.) 

● What societal goals is my client attempting to reach? (Gain status, earn a promotion, build a network, etc.) 

● What emotional chores is my client attempting to finish? (Get fit, feel better, be inspired, etc.) 

● What fundamental requirements do they wish to be met? (Communication, sexuality, hygiene, etc.) 


Jobs-to-be-done can be functional, emotional, or social.  


Functional JTBD 


The practical tasks that the client must complete are known as their functional jobs. It's interesting to note that needs aren't always obvious; clients may have demands they are unaware of. Helping customers discover this need is an element of what we do. 


The act of driving from one point to another is an example of this.  


Social JTBD 


The reasons we believe we must perform social tasks as part of our responsibility in relationships and community include aspiration, fear, and optimism. For instance, a social JTBD might be to reflect your social status when purchasing an automobile. 


Emotional JTBD 


Something that people wish to be, do, or have are the emotional motivators of decision-making. Typically, we have aspirational consciousness on how people want to enhance their lives. Business owners can have interesting perspectives on both themselves and their profession. Try to comprehend the emotional bond that a consumer has with your company.  


When purchasing an automobile, the emotion we want to experience while driving will be important. 


Fear is another important aspect that influences JTBD, and while it is an emotion, it has such a strong influence on how people make decisions that it merits consideration on its own. Numerous other relevant phobias exist, such as the fear of losing something or making an error. Fears are a powerful motivator of consumption and the unspoken source of demands and want. 




This one includes anything that frustrates your consumer when they are completing their JTBD, including unpleasant sensations and feelings, difficulties, dangers involved, expenses, mistakes, and penalties, among other things. 


Don't forget to categorize every pain as intense or moderate and record its frequency. 


You can describe customer pains by answering the following questions: 


● Which items does your consumer deem to be excessively costly? (Something that takes a long time, is expensive, involves a lot of work, etc.) 

● Which are the present solutions that your clients find unsuitable? 

● What are the primary difficulties and issues that your client is facing? (Lack of comprehension of how items function, challenges with execution, etc.) 

● What makes him/her feel bad? 

● What undesirable societal repercussions do the consumer already face or fear? (Losing reputation, trust, trustworthiness, social standing, etc.) 

● What dangers does your client worry about? (Technical, social, and/or financial) 


Essentially, pains are the roadblocks keeping your client from finishing their JTBD. Pains can manifest as unwelcome expenses or circumstances, unpleasant feelings, or risky situations. 




Customer gains are something that makes them happy and saves time, effort, or money. These are the goals that would simplify their lives and the main task at hand. 


Gains consist of pleasant experiences and goals that customers hope to accomplish. Gains can be anything from routine to existential. Gains, however, may not necessarily differ from pains. They are characteristics that persuade customers to utilize a certain service or product. 


Customer gains are prioritized in different ways: 


Expected Gains – this gain symbolizes an expectation from the solution, which would work even without it. 

Required Gains – this represents gains that are necessary for a solution to work. 

Unexpected Gains - Gains that were not anticipated are referred to as unexpected gains. 

Desired Gains – this represents the gains we'd love to attain but aren't anticipated from a solution. 


You can list each gain in the order of importance and frequency. You can achieve this by asking yourself questions like: 


● What type of saving will be appreciated by my consumer? (Money, effort, time, etc.) 

● What modern solutions might captivate my customers? (Functionalities, efficiency, effectiveness, etc.) 

● What outcomes does my client demand? Who among them has that power? (Measure of quality, revenue, and gains, cost savings and upgrades, etc.) 

● What does my customer want, exactly? (Conception, warranties, functionality, particular features, etc.) 

● Which jobs can I simplify for my client? (Easier to understand, better options, more affordable, etc.) 

● In what ways does my client define strengths and weaknesses? (Price, speed, quality, appeal, social networking favorites, etc.) 

● What benefits do my customers desire? (Status, influence, appreciation, satisfaction, inspiration, etc.) 

● What will make my customer's likelihood of implementing a solution higher? (Better performance/quality/design, longer guarantee, lower prices, etc.) 


Are Customer Pains and Gains the Same Thing? 


Customer pains and gains


It is misleading to consider the concepts "pains" and "gains" as being mutually exclusive. Despite their connection, they aren't two distinct sides of a coin.  


Gains and Pains could probably be the hardest concept to comprehend fully. Although JTBD is a fairly simple idea, understanding Pains & Gains may be challenging. 


Here's what I personally think about this: While navigating through the JTBD map, we take the JTBD context into account as the Fundamental Job-To-Be-Done (what will give productivity and what the client actually paid for) and Gains and Pains as delighting/annoying variables across all the processes for accomplishing the task. 


I know this explanation is still not clear enough for you to completely understand the concept of Gains and Pains, so let's look at these useful hacks you can apply to understand the concept.  


Now, let's walk through a straightforward example to help you understand the distinction between gains and pains. 


Example #1 -------> JTBD is buying coffee on your way to work. 


Mr. Sam plans to stop by the coffee shop on his way to work. He expects to spend less than 5 minutes at the coffee house before leaving with his hot drink and sitting back in his car.  


Let's look at three different scenarios: 


  1. Coffee is brought within 2 mins – this is a gain as Mr. Sam saves time
  2. Coffee is brought within 5 mins – since this is what he was expecting, there is neither a gain nor pain.
  3. Coffee is brought within 10 mins – this is a pain at the cost of Mr. Sam's time.


For Mr. Sam, these gains and pains are part of the time-space continuum. 


Example #2 -------> JTBD is paying for a meal at a restaurant 


Imagine Mr. Sam having lunch with clients or going out on a date. After the dinner is complete, the only JTBD is paying for the dinner.  


It will be a pain if Mr. Sam's credit card is rejected after the waiter brings him the check. 


However, if his bank card works and the meal's payment is accepted, that is also not a gain because it is in line with his usual expectations. 

This demonstrates that a gain isn't merely a pain's opposite.  


When you are working on your customer profile's gains and pains, it's wise to question what gains and pains can exist in a continuum, and if so, which type? 


As you attain more insights regarding the client's gains and pains, you may find clear boundaries for the continuum. 


Considering the JTBD of buying coffee, Mr. Sam would clearly perceive receiving a cold coffee as a pain. However, acquiring a hot cup of coffee is simply meeting his standards, whereas receiving a coffee so hot that he is unable to hold the beverage is clearly not a gain either.  


We can utilize this temperature continuum to outline that gains and pains have a few very apparent boundaries. It's important to understand that, after a certain point, a greater temperature rise will no longer result in a larger gain but will instead become a pain. 


Employing these three useful hacks move past the mindset of considering gains and pains as complete opposites.  


● Identify the bar for expectations, as failing to meet them will be an obvious pain for consumers. 

● Search for a continuum where gains and pains can coexist. 

● Make the boundary lines of those continuums evident. 


These three quick tips can assist you in achieving far better results when creating the "prototype" customer profile. You have to leave the building and evaluate your theories about the most important JTBD, gains, and pains with actual users. 


The value proposition process of creating must include assessment outside the box, which is a crucial phase and a true game-changer to get beyond what may continue to be a flawed and fragmented view of consumers' gains and pains. 


What is Pain Relief and Gain Creation? 


The second section of the canvas is the value proposition and is represented as a square. This is also separated into three categories, similar to the customer profile circle.  


The three categories are; products & services, gain creators, and pain relievers. Each element is connected to the appropriate client profile section. Therefore, the emphasis is on outlining the product's attributes, capabilities, and advantages that appeal to consumers and meet their demands within the circle. Let's now get into more detail. 


Products & Services 


This section should detail every feature, service, and product you'll offer. A prototype of the product you are generating, such as a freemium or trial version, may also be listed. Put your attention on how the products' characteristics will assist clients in achieving their JTBD. 


Include every item and service you intend to offer. In relation to each, take into account the following: 


● Can the service or product assist in completing any JTBD, whether they are emotional, social, functional, or related to wishes, roles, or other needs? 

● Is the service/product virtual or digital, fiscal, or tangible? 

● How often does my consumer need to use my service/product? 

● Is the service or product important or insignificant? Is it still meaningful? 


You carefully evaluate what you're giving to consumers in the Services or Products part of the Canvas based on the type of your organization. This part highlights the Expertise you're offering to clients as a reference to more contemporary marketing strategies. For instance, we understand that individuals don't only go to their favorite coffeehouse simply because it serves the tastiest latte; they also choose it because it offers the best experience and caters to their emotional and psychological requirements. 


Gain Creators 


Include information about how the service or product adds value to the client, the advantages it gives, and whether or not your customers' expectations and needs are met. Moreover, consider how it will please your customer. 


Once more, you should evaluate each benefit your service or product generates in terms of significance to your clients (whether significant or insignificant) and specify how frequently it happens. 


Following are a few questions to determine your gain creators: 


● Does your product offer discounts that satisfy your customers? 

● Does it make the customer's job or life easier? 

● Does it produce satisfying outcomes? 

● Does it guarantee the benefits the client wants? 

● Do some of your customer's desires come true in your solution or service? 

● Does it provide your customer with what they hope to receive? 

● Does it produce results that are satisfying to the consumer's standards for success or failure? 


Pain Relievers 


In this case, the emphasis is on the way your offering will reduce consumers' pain. These pain relievers ought to be appropriate for the pains listed in the client profile. There are various types of painkillers designed for various types of pain. It is not important to go into great depth about the pain, though. An easy statement will suffice to complete the assignment. 


Ranking every pain based on its seriousness is also crucial if you want to know how much your service or product will truly benefit your consumer. To enable you to identify customer pain relievers, consider the following questions: 


● Helps in savings – like effort, money, or time. 

● Helps to improve the mood of your consumer (they experience disappointments, inconveniences, headaches, etc.); 

● helps your client get a better night's sleep (by solving significant issues, easing anxiety, etc.); 

● Minimizes societal repercussions (loss of reputation, respect, influence, confidence, prestige, etc.) that your consumer experiences or is frightened of; 

● puts a stop to the challenges and issues your consumer is facing (make things more convenient, support with jobs, reduce resistance, etc.); 

● solutions for efficiency (additional features, improved performance, improved quality, etc.); 

● Reduces or eliminates recurring problems that your consumer makes 

● Removes risks that your consumer is fearful of (risks related to money, society, technology, or anything that could go horribly wrong); 

● Removes hurdles that stop your client from implementing new solutions. 


Pain Relief and Creating Gains 


These two perspectives are excellent for assessing your service or product. It's critical to periodically assess how you are adding value for your clientele. The most positive thing you could do for your brand is to get to know your clients. You are lowering a serious danger by making an effort to comprehend their needs: desirability. Quality product companies cultivate a customer-centered obsession. Converse with as many individuals as you can as soon as you leave the office. Establish wagers and test, verify, test! 


After conducting a consumer soul-searching procedure, it is important to note that what we currently "know" about consumers still contains many untested hypotheses that need to be adjusted as we proceed. 


Writing down the value proposition is only the beginning. The next step is to confirm what is essential to consumers and obtain their opinion of the value proposition. The proposal can then be consistently improved using new market insights and research


Once you genuinely satisfy a consumer's needs and expectations, you go above and beyond what they could ask from services or products. Recognizing the benefits and drawbacks of your customers and incorporating these into your unique value proposition is a great method to further your company's success. However, it requires some time, and you'll have to research each specific consumer niche you would like to cater to. 


How to Accurately Use the Canvas? 


The VPC is a relatively straightforward tool that enables you to choose a logical beginning position for developing and testing a service or product. 


The canvas enables both the management and improvement of existing Value Propositions in addition to the development of new ones. The tool's greatest strength is that it can motivate you to develop an understanding of your client's wants and transform those demands into a good or service that addresses an essential yet unmet need. 


How to Fill the VPC? 


  1. Select the customer profile you are targeting.
  2. Find their JTBD and rank them in order of importance.
  3. Determine the gains and rank them.
  4. Determine the pains and rank them.
  5. Select the top 3-5 gains and pains that are relevant to the most significant JTBD.
  6. Include a summary of all the advantages of your service or product.
  7. Summarize the gain creators.
  8. Summarize the pain relievers.
  9. Select 3-5 of the pain relievers and gain creators that benefit your consumer the most.
  10. Connect the product advantages, gain creators, and pain relievers to the JTBD, gains, and pains.
  11. Demonstrate how you surpass the competitors.
  12. Develop numerous value propositions that are simple, jargon-free, and that increase client trust.
  13. Assess your value proposition with your client profile.


Useful Advice While Employing the VPC 


Examine Every Component 


Value Proposition Canvas elements are distinct albeit interconnected. A customer profile involves studying the requirements and desires of the consumer. To enhance the quality of the product, the Value Map incorporates these important discoveries. It's within the capabilities of the firm to figure out how to make the finished product into something that the consumers want. Make sure to take client needs into account in order to do this. 


Walk in your Consumers Shoes 


A customer profile must reflect the JTBD, gains, and pains that the consumer hopes to obtain. The majority of companies create client profiles ineffectively. They overlook the expectations that customers have for a particular product. They frequently only consider the problems that their product is supposed to answer once it enters the market. 


You should invite everyone on the team to exchange roles and act like clients. Put yourself in their shoes: What they're doing during the day? Are they traveling? What equipment do they use?  


You will be able to recognize the shortcomings of your product when you begin to think like a consumer. Find out what motivates a client to purchase a product. What are the fundamental needs of the client that must be met? 


Focus on every target customer 


This is the single most prevalent mistake made by companies. Each consumer category has unique JTBD, gains, and pains. To lump them into a single Customer Profile is a blunder. Why? Because this makes it challenging for firms to decide which target market to pursue. 


Making individual Client Profiles for every consumer group is a better strategy. You now have the flexibility to create value propositions specifically for each market category. Thus, picking a customer group to concentrate on is considerably easier. 


Pay Attention to What Consumers Want Most 


You have to keep the following in mind while creating the Value Proposition Map. Not every consumer’s pains are easy to solve. Targeting important elements that clients value most is the ideal strategy. This will provide your team with clear objectives to concentrate on while creating the product. 


Analyze JTBD 


To create a compelling value proposition, understand the JTBD for your clients. This distinguishes between how intensely one product is sought against another. Although having a functioning JTBD is typically the most apparent rationale for buying, it is not very fulfilling. However, emotional and social vocations offer greater levels of personal fulfillment. Creating a service (or product) that satisfies emotional and social JTBD makes more sense. 


When to Apply the Canvas Value Proposition 


Now that you know all about the Value Proposition Canvas, you can use it effectively. You are aware of how it works and what it does. You are familiar with the functions of each of the segments. 


But where in a commercial setting is it actually helpful? Let's find out! 


Establishing a New Market Presence or Customer Base 


You can employ the Value Proposition Canvas when trying to enter a new market. You may determine whether the marketplace truly needs you by completing the canvas. You can likewise comprehend the services you are providing and the issues that customers are currently facing. You can use this to make informed decisions. 


Creating a New Feature 


You can also employ the VPC when creating a new feature for a product that already exists. You can determine if the feature will address any difficulties or bring about benefits for individuals because it enables you to comprehend your customers and their concerns. 


Improve Your Marketing Approach 


We have to adapt our communications and value propositions to our target audience in order to reach the entire market. The value proposition canvas informs your marketing strategy rather than forming it. Furthermore, this knowledge might give you a completely new perspective on your marketing. 


Test Your Product-Market Fit 


You could use the VPC to find the perfect product-market match. It aids in market comprehension and product design and development to address customers' actual wants. Your likelihood of success will rise if your value proposition and consumer profile align. This is known as a product-market fit. 


Write Value Propositions 


The canvas can be used to develop value propositions that are based on a value map. By doing this, you may communicate with customers by emphasizing the benefits of a product instead of its features. 


You may create a value proposition that evokes emotion by focusing on the social, emotional, and functional JTBD the clients face. 


You can lay out your consumer and your products using a value proposition canvas to determine what drives them. You can discover fresh techniques to sell your products and discover new clients who may appreciate you for various factors. 


You get a value proposition that can be evaluated and supported when you can link a passionate customer with the rationale they use when purchasing your items. 


A few other settings when the VPC is applicable are as follows: 


→ Developing a startup business idea. 

→ Observed new consumer pains (new expectations, new technologies, new regulations) 

→ Employing this tool throughout your organization 


Final Words 


The absence of a market need is the main cause of business failure. Simply put, companies fail to consider the purpose behind the creation of the service or product. The Value Proposition Canvas essentially goes to the essence of why customers make purchases. This guarantees that the product and market are a better fit and that buyers genuinely want and need the service or product. 


You can possibly have the finest product on the planet. However, if no one wants it, your brand will perish. The value proposition canvas places the client at the heart of the development process so that services are developed around them instead of the other way around.


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