It's been almost a year since I started aggressively seeking out Internet Marketing information on this forum, and I've probably read hundreds of threads and tried out more ideas than I care to admit.
I would continually see this 3-letter acronym being thrown about by various WF members, always briefly acknowledging its existence and then just as quickly dismissing it.
"Oh yea, of course, the 'Unique Selling Point.' Of course that's important and of course I'm taking that into account when selling a service or product."
...Finally I began to realize that this thinking was like looking up at an airplane and saying, "Sure, I understand physics. It flies in the air..."
In other words, there is SOOO much more to the USP than I ever could have imagined.
In fact, it seems to me, that only those businesses that really nail this aspect of their marketing make it above the fray of wanna-be-successful competitors that never really make it.
It's taken me MONTHS to understand the USP of many of my clients that I am currently marketing to and I still have new ideas about how best to market my product and am always thinking of new aspects or new USP's to consider.
In the end, this is the main reason anyone will give you their money.
There is so much depth to this, at every level, from the ways and avenues in which your target client is most likely to seek the information you're providing, to how you position your product or service.
Many of the Warriors here have listed some great books to learn more about all of this and you'll be doing yourself a favor by heeding their advice.
I'm writing this as a notice to anyone and everyone; not to underestimate the USP!
I used to think it was just another aspect of marketing or sales, just as important as every other aspect, yet I will posit that this is the single most important aspect of anything to do with your business.
I've also learned a few things first hand as I've been getting increasingly better results as I enhance my USP's.
People are lazy - Make it as easy and as pre-done/pre-packaged for them as you can
People are competitive - Always make sure they are seeing your product and service in a context of how it puts them at an advantage over their competitors (or in danger of falling behind if they don't buy what you're offering)
People want the 'newest, brightest, shiniest, coolest toy' - Think Apple iPod and that entire culture (getting the latest upgrade, newest model, etc). The entire mobile devices/smartphone industry has played this up like crazy. Everyone wants to know they are getting the coolest latest whatever-it-is
People want what others have - Similar to the above, and of course there's social proof worked into this as well. If they know that others are using it and that it's popular, then they will want to use it too
People have egos - Why did you choose them? Was there something about them that made them worthy for being considered to buy your product or service, or will that come once they purchase whatever it is you are selling?
People do not want to be bothered - Unless you instantly make clear how whatever you have will be of benefit to them, right away, they will immediately put up their defenses against whatever it is you're offering (think the TV show 'Shark Tank')
There is so much more, yet these are just some commonalities amongst the general population and most clients and prospects you'll likely be selling things to (maybe these should be called GSP's - general selling points)
I would say that you can't spend too much time understanding your prospects; how they think, feel, smell, breathe, everything.
Maybe you are able to sit down for an hour or two and instantly understand your prospect in every way, however for me, this was something I significantly underestimated and didn't realize how deep the rabbit hole really went when it comes to understanding your prospect.
It is truly selfless, in that you may no longer even consider what you're trying to accomplish (i.e. the sale) and will see things completely from the eyes of your prospect and what they are thinking and feeling.
You'll hear this over and over again on this forum - Provide Value!
In order to truly achieve this, you may first want to think about what it is your target prospect values more than anything else.
All I can really say, is not to underestimate the power of the USP, for those who get this and understand it will hold the key to their consumers' brains, hearts and wallets.