Have you heard the term Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Selling Point (USP) before? Marketers tend to use the term USP a lot. It’s really a simple concept and if you define your USP early on, it will make selling your idea easy. All of your marketing ideas can flow from your USP.
A Unique Selling Proposition is exactly that, what makes your product unique from all of the similar products in the marketplace? Your product doesn’t have to be completely unique, like some ground-breaking technology that nobody has ever thought of before. That’s not a market that everyone is prepared to play in. However, every product, even in quite saturated markets has to have some point of difference to be successful.
For example, you might sell shoes. At this point you might be scratching your head, thinking, “there isn’t anything unique about shoes”. Isn’t there? What about your brand/product/positioning/product benefit/story/pricing? Are any of these different to what’s already in the market? An example of a USP for a shoe company might be, “we offer a wider fit, in the softest leather, making our shoes the most comfortable.”
Some strategies to help you define your USP include:
Figure out the end benefit to the consumer
You may be familiar with the idea that you need to sell the end benefit to the consumer, not just the product. This is a great place to start when thinking about a USP. Is there a benefit or experience that your product delivers that is different to competitors? In the case of the shoes mentioned above it was about delivering the “most comfortable” shoes in the market. Consumers buy products for the end benefit. If you can be clear what this is at the start, and why it’s unique to your product, you will have a very strong selling point.
Getting to know your competitors
Becoming familiar with your competitors is important. By understanding their sales message you will be able to ensure your selling proposition is unique. Look at your competitors advertising (and this may just include social media messaging) to try and get a good understanding of what their USP might be. Do they constantly advertise the lowest prices in your category? If that’s the case then perhaps their USP is based purely on price. If this is the case, you should probably avoid trying to compete on price unless you really think you can outdo them.
Understand the motives of your consumer
What motivates your consumer to buy your product? You may already know your demographic, but what is their reason for buying? For example if you know that your target market is women aged 18-25 and you sell make up, perhaps the motivating factor is looking great for a big night out. This might just give you some great ideas for marketing and sales strategies.
It may take a little market research to better understand what makes your product stand out from your competitors. However, once you successfully define your USP you’ll have much more direction for all of your marketing activity.