Part 1: What’s a Unique Selling Proposition… and Why Do you Need One Now More than Ever
So, what the heck is a USP… really?
And, what’s the big deal about having my very own USP?
Why do I need to spend time and energy on this boring marketing junk?
What’s a Unique Selling Proposition?
Well, let’s look at each of the words, with our marketing caps on…
1. Unique— It clearly sets you apart from your competition. You offer a product, service, emotional experience/feeling that your competition, does not, can not, or simply will not offer. You… and only you… offer this to your prospect.
2. Selling— It triggers emotions and persuades your prospect to exchange money for your products/services.
3. Proposition— It’s a proposal or offer that you suggest to your prospect.
Three simple words. Yet so much more.
Put together, they are the forces that drives your business and success.
How powerful can a USP be in marketing your business?
Let’s look at two powerful… and two of the most successful USPs ever devised.
The first one, a ten word sentence that transformed the life of a struggling college student into a billionaire. It changed the very face of the pizza business, setting a new standard for pizza delivery:
“Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, Guaranteed.”
Another 9 words that turned a failing college business idea into a world leader in delivery:
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
These clear, concise, powerful sentences carried Domino’s and FedEx to the top of their industries.
Powerful words turned into powerful marketing forces.
The power of words and a simple sentence to describe your unique business difference is…
Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset
Yes, that’s right…your Unique Selling Proposition, or the USP, is the very core of your marketing strategy.
Your USP sets you apart from your competition and makes you unique.
You see…your Unique Selling Proposition Must Answer These Two Questions:
1. Why do people buy from you?
2. If they aren’t buying from you, why should they?
Not only that…your USP must also:
1. Differentiate you from any and all competition
2. Emphasize a desirable and positive client benefit
3. Be easily understood
4. Be used repetitively in your marketing efforts and become integrated through out your company’s culture.
5. Create an Immediate Emotional Connection that makes people want to do business with you – IMMEDIATELY!
6. Elicit the response from the prospect, “Whoa!! How do you do that?”
Is a USP a Mission Statement?
Here’s why: Think about it… Do your clients and prospects really care about your mission statement, how many years you have been in business, or that you just built a new building?
ALL your clients and prospects care about is what your product or service will do for THEM.
What problem will it solve, or what need do will it fill?
Let’s go back to FedEx.
Do you care that it is their mission to be the number one overnight carrier in the country, or do you care that they won’t lose your package and that it gets there the next day?
Here’s the bottom-line… and why your USP is your Most Valuable Marketing Asset:
When you have a powerful, effective Unique Selling Proposition, creating a compelling marketing message to use in your advertising, direct mail and other marketing tactics all falls into place.
And if you don’t?
My bet is your marketing pretty much sucks… and selling your product or service is damn tough going.
Why a USP is More Crucial Than Ever
It’s like we’re all standing in the middle of Times Square, bombarded with the same and lame, “me-too” marketing messages.
There’s no escape.
TV, radio, billboards,newspaper and magazines, direct mail, banner ads, pop-up ads, Google ads. 24/7/365.
Your challenge is to cut through all the advertising noise and clutter and create top-of-the-mind awareness with your Ideal Prospects.
Most All Marketing Fails
Simple. Most marketing sucks. Not a little. A lot.
Take these tests and prove it to yourself.
Next time you’re all cozy and curled up on the sofa, watching TV with remote in hand…
How quickly you click that remote when a commercial comes on that doesn’t interest you? Better yet, can you remember a TV ad that actually did interest you?
Ok… you’re driving along, listening to the radio. The song ends and a commercial comes on. How quickly do you change the station?
When you’re reading the newspaper or your favorite magazine… Do you even notice the ads, or has your brain instinctively programmed them out?
Now, you’re a marketer and you’re ignoring all the ad noise.
Imagine what your prospect does?
How can you expect to be heard simply by adding to the noise?
You Gotta Do Things Differently
It starts with understanding these marketing fundamentals. It begins with your unique marketing message.
What message do you need to convey to prospects and clients that breaks through and pierces their preoccupation and even resistance?
How does your unique difference appeal emotionally, directly to your prospects needs and wants?
Here’s the thing…
In this busy, noise-filled world, more than ever, people hunger for superior results from the products and services they use.
People are busy. They’re jaded , guarded, and skeptical. Some are cheap and down-right rude. Lots of folks have no time, no patience, and little interest in what you’re selling.
As a result, lots of businesses give up, especially now with the economy slowing down, because they simply don’t know what to do next.
In their gut, they know they need a different approach, but they don’t know what that approach is or how to make the shift.
Lots of small business owners fall into a trap. They overlook the essence, and under-estimate the impact, of exceptional marketing… and how exceptional marketing positions for exceptional selling.
Often times, doing this marketing thinking and innovation is pushed aside in favor of less important, less productive (yet more familiar and more comfortable) duties.
Guarantee Your Place in Your Market
If you’re unique, if you add value that your prospects want that your competition does not offer, you’re almost guaranteed to outperform and out distance your competition.
“Me-Too” businesses are a dime a dozen and easily replaced. The days of competing on price and service are over. Every one can make these claims. A competitive price and good service is expected.
Adopting a Unique Selling Proposition forces you to be clear and define exactly what advantages your clients can expect when they choose to do business with you.
Nailing Down Your USP doesn’t cost you any money
It does require an investment of time and clear-headed, honest, realistic thinking about your business.
Time and though well spent and wisely invested.
So, there you have it…
What’s a Unique Selling Proposition… and Why You Need a USP in Your Business Now More than Ever.
I invite your questions, comments, and disagreements…
And, please share other examples of good… and bad… USPs.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Rather than tune out those ads, see if you can determine the USP.
This will help you think about and craft your own USP.
During the coming week, I’ll share more USP thoughts and ideas, and we’ll move into how you determine your USP.