Unique Selling Proposition

13 replies
I know it has to do with answering why the customer should do business with my company rather than my competitors. Even if I can think of everything my business is standing out from the competition, how important is it to learn from the actual customers of what set my company/offer/service apart?
#proposition #selling #unique
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Originally Posted by stanigator View Post

    I know it has to do with answering why the customer should do business with my company rather than my competitors. Even if I can think of everything my business is standing out from the competition, how important is it to learn from the actual customers of what set my company/offer/service apart?
    Training your brain to find that killer idea is the key.

    So whether it is from a customers throwaway comment or a interview
    where you peel away all the superficial reasons why she chose you and finally uncover the whopper!

    It could be a new big trend that is taking place where you can position your clients in front of it at the early stage of the growth curve.

    It could be taking yourself out of the market
    and creating your own where you are the only one that does "it".

    Train your brain for any opportunity to put yourself at a advantage.

    An interesting point on how our brain works.

    Think about the latest car you bought.

    Prior to buying it you probably didn't take any notice of
    the model and color of yours.

    As you first drove it around you noticed others like it.

    So if you think about those three areas to look in I have mentioned,
    you will start spotting opportunities to take advantage of.

    There you go,
    a do-it-yourself approach and a insight how your brain works!

    Best,
    Ewen
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8199474].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    I remember YEARS ago when I was going through my "what the hell is my USP" battle, I decided to ask my list why they bought from me.

    I only had about 5,000 customers at that time, but it was enough to get an idea of why they bought one of my fitness programs over all the others.

    so one day, i just went to my aweber and sent out a broadcast email to my buyers... and all i asked them was "why did you pick ME over any other fitness program"

    I offered up a free program if they took the time to give me some feedback.

    That survey was pretty insightful. out of 5,000 or so emails so, i only got about 200 back.

    but those 200 literally started giving me the same 5 to 6 "themes" i could dig deeper into and find out, from customers themselves"... why they bought from me.

    so, you could always ask them by sending out a survey to your list.

    but even then, i've found that often times customers will give you what THEY THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR and not the REAL REASON WHY THEY BOUGHT.

    I mean, shit, i've done it myself. I bought a program from someone... and when they asked me why I bought, i gave them a reason i thought THEY would like to hear... and it wasn't exactly the real reason i bought.

    so surveys can often times be tricky.

    these days, when doing my own products or working with clients, if we can't find a kick ass USP... we will invent one.

    in other words, we'll create a USP that is based on the single biggest reason why someone would buy from us... and we'll weave that into the product itself.

    in other words, I'll think "if i had a magic wand and could make my business offer up ONE thing that would separate me from all the rest... and it was so powerful that customers would see it and WANT to do business with me... what would that be?

    and if the product doesn't offer it, we change the product so it DOES.

    in other words, don't always look into the past for your USP... you can create it based on something outrageously important you want to be known for.

    i mean, ask yourself... if you could be known for one thing in your market, what would it be?

    and if you don't offer it yet, make it so you do.

    change your product so it does.

    for me, i've found it easier to create an amazing USP and then go back to the product and change it so it's in line with that USP... than to take a so-so product and try to extract a good USP from it.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8200329].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by stanigator View Post

    I know it has to do with answering why the customer should do business with my company rather than my competitors. Even if I can think of everything my business is standing out from the competition, how important is it to learn from the actual customers of what set my company/offer/service apart?
    In my experience, pretty damn important. The USP has to be unique in a valuable and relevant way, and the only way to know those two things is to know what's relevant and valuable in the mind of your customer. Ultimately, your USP is a piece of "mental real estate," which you own in your customer's minds. One of the posters here talked about asking his list why they bought. That's a decent idea. If you've got people buying already, you must own some space in their minds. The question is whether you're occupying it correctly, whether you're communicating it in your sales offers so that when new customers see it they have a unique "storage space" in their mind to put your product. Without this, they'll lump you in with the generic soup of other service providers and you'll end up competing based on price and visibility alone.

    My advice, either poll your customers or find some competitors and start searching online for the things which your competitor's customers are complaining about. Complaints are unfulfilled needs and they key to finding the "whole" in your marketplace. This is a good place to start from.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8201053].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Yvon Boulianne
    it`s all about story
    what your product story ?
    your passion story ?
    your business story ?
    your customers story ?
    your success story ?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8201396].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    All this USP stuff is terribly old-fashioned. That goes back to Rosser Reeves in the early Sixties.

    Unless you want to sound like Don Draper or that idiot Pete Campbell...what you should be looking for and talking about is "positioning" and "branding".

    "Positioning" does what it describes - puts your product or service in the consumer's mind compared to the competition.

    That's why we talk about "top of mind" - what you think of first when a product or service is mentioned. And that's why all those TV, Billboard and Press ads that a lot of you think useless are actually building on that.

    What brand do you think of when I say the words "toilet paper"? Probably the one with the most advertising exposure, no?

    So the "position" is what differentiates your brand/product/service from its competitors. And you don't really need a so-called USP to achieve that position do you? It might just come down to being the first to use facebook in a certain way. Or it might be a relationship with a sports star or a rock star. That's positioning.

    Personally I cringe when people start bandying around "USP". These are the same guys still reading "Scientific Advertising" or writing out Halbert's stuff by hand a zillion times.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8202271].message }}
    • Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      So the "position" is what differentiates your brand/product/service from its competitors. And you don't really need a so-called USP to achieve that position do you? It might just come down to being the first to use facebook in a certain way. Or it might be a relationship with a sports star or a rock star. That's positioning.
      That's what most people mean when they say "USP."

      Call it what you want, give prospects a reason to buy from you instead of your competitors.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8208339].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Benjamin Farthing View Post

        That's what most people mean when they say "USP."

        Call it what you want, give prospects a reason to buy from you instead of your competitors.
        "Most people" don't have a bloody clue. "USP" is NOT "positioning".

        Positioning is how you want your customer to think of you.


        Positioning is what marketers do in order to get their customer to think of the product.


        Far more sophisticated than the old USP.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8209812].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          These 6 elements contribute to positioning...
          1. Differentiation
          2. Authority
          3. Credibility
          4. Back Story
          5. Persona
          6. Tagline
          I suppose you could add "hook" to that list, but usually the hook comes somewhere out of the 6.

          Alex
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8209881].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author Memetics
            Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

            "Most people" don't have a bloody clue. "USP" is NOT "positioning".

            Positioning is how you want your customer to think of you.


            Positioning is what marketers do in order to get their customer to think of the product.


            Far more sophisticated than the old USP.
            To me, a USP is something which gets the customer to "answer the door" when he looks through the peephole to see who's there. Whereas "positioning" is getting your own "key to the door" when you become top of mind to them.


            As Alex states in his post there are a few ways to do this but the most important is first : Create attention, and how you do this is through "novelty" or "differentiation" as he says. Our brains are preprogrammed to analyse novelty as it could mean either something really good to us, or something really bad; either way it hijacks attention long enough for us to weave our spell by neutralising the critical factor and piggybacking our persuasion onto some hardwired emotional or cognitive processes.

            To use Alex's list for an example...

            Authority: A Cialdini principle which locks on to our access to resources or protection from harm biases.

            Credibility: Do we have integrity and consistency in our copy? Can we be trusted? Consistency is another Cialdini which bypasses conscious processes to some level.

            Backstory: Are we successful at what we do? If we have a proven track record and lots of happy customers then yes we do, and we also have social proof: Another emotional trigger.

            Persona: Does the customer like us and what we stand for; this is self explanatory.

            Tagline: The view through the peephole so to speak.

            And finally of course: The call to action.
            Signature

            First we believe.....then we consider.

            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8212209].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    No matter what you want to call it... it all boils down to "why you" and not any other product/service.

    I do agree... companies like Coke and Tide sell more because of "top of mind"... but often times
    it's as simple as price.

    Kellogg's is $4.00 a box and generic is $2.00.... and so the lower income folks will pile in the generic boxes of cereal over brand name.

    No matter what it's called... something has to make you different... and it could be just your advertising exposure and amount of money you spend on branding/positioning.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8208492].message }}
  • USP has been somewhat taken out of its original meaning over time. Rosser Reeves said that the USP was basically a unique product benefit that you repeated ad nauseum. Like this Anacin ad:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeas5jtffpM

    Or this one starring a young Joe Golfer and his mother:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpnj6iqfnFE

    By the 60s, he was not able to get as good results from this technique as the public became more sophisticated. Next came the rise of the creative revolution and the growth of image and branding.

    Positioning works at a broader level than USP. It uses the elements Alex mentioned in an attempt to get you to attach certain feelings and perceptions to the brand, making it more likely you will purchase it over a competitor. That's a bigger picture view than USP.

    In my mind, and I reserve the option to be totally wrong, positioning is strategy, and USP relates to tactics. They work together.
    Signature
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8212077].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      USP has been somewhat taken out of its original meaning over time. Rosser Reeves said that the USP was basically a unique product benefit that you repeated ad nauseum. Like this Anacin ad:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeas5jtffpM

      Or this one starring a young Joe Golfer and his mother:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpnj6iqfnFE
      Ah, yes, those old Anacin commercials.

      I watched a lot of TV as a kid in the 1950s and 1960s, and I can tell you, those Anacin (and other) commercials had a strong effect on my thinking. I grew up thinking any medical problem could be easily cured with a pill. Needless to say, real life quickly taught me otherwise.

      Alex
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8212247].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Your brand could be considered your USP.

    And good branding IS positioning.

    Imagine this:

    Your market is a massive sphere in the middle of a big, white room.

    You can walk around the sphere - seeing where other companies are positioning themselves.

    Where you position your company (with your tag or slogan) will either trump the competition and make you stand out as the authority.

    Or...

    You'll become more white noise (because your brand and main marketing message fail to resonate.)

    If you position yourself just right (by knowing who your niche audience is - in the broader marketplace,) you'll succeed in persuading the perception you want for your company.

    That's what an effective brand does: It dictates HOW people perceive your company (product or service.)

    If you're wrong... and position your company poorly, you'll spend tons of money without any real chance of making the ROI you need.

    Mark
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8212427].message }}

Trending Topics