The Unique Selling Proposition is crucial for setting your product or service apart from the competition.
How to sell more? How to increase revenue? How to find new customers? These are the questions entrepreneurs, sales directors, and marketers ask themselves every day.
To outpace the competition, you need a strong sales team equipped with the right digital tools. However, that's not enough. You must also identify your target audience (you can't please everyone!) and position your product accordingly. This involves defining what is commonly known as the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
In an increasingly competitive market, consumers research before choosing a product to understand what sets it apart from others. This selection process can be daunting for customers without the experience to discern one competitor from another.
Hence, it's essential to identify a differentiating USP.
Coined in the 1940s by American advertising executive Rosser Reeves, the USP focuses on a "single selling point" – a unique feature, characteristic, or specific advantage of your product or service that makes it better than the competition.
Defining selling points, or strengths, helps focus your marketing strategy, influencing brand positioning, copywriting, and the arguments your sales team will use.
Selling points leverage your product or service's strengths and answer the simple yet crucial question a potential customer might ask: "What makes you different from the competition?"
However, be cautious: claiming uniqueness without specifying risks being ineffective in convincing potential customers to choose you.
Besides being too generic, declaring your product unique involves other mistakes when defining your USP. Services like 24/7 technical support or specific discounts on some products are not USPs for two reasons: they are too generic, making them easily forgettable and replicable.
Defining a too-generic USP risks not convincing the audience and building a marketing campaign around an idea easily copied by a competitor. The goal should be to create a proposition different from the competition, memorable enough to highlight your company's strengths compared to similar offers in the market – a crucial point, especially in a crowded sector.
To illustrate USP, consider slogans from major brands that reveal their brand positioning:
De Beers: "A diamond is forever."
Barack Obama: "Yes, We Can."
Apple: "Think different."
Nutella: "What would the world be without Nutella?"
Tonno Rio Mare (Tuna): "So tender it cuts with a breadstick!"
Pirelli: "Power is nothing without control."
Nike: "Just do it.".
Now that we understand USP and have seen examples, let's establish guidelines to create an effective and unique USP:
Understand the Ideal Customer Profile: A potential customer seeks to satisfy a need or solve a problem. To create a strong USP, know the details of the ideal buyer persona.
Answer Key Questions: Base your USP on answers to questions such as:
While similar, it's crucial not to confuse the Value Proposition with the USP. The Value Proposition describes what your company offers, to whom, and how it solves your customer's need/problem. It may not be unique, but the USP must be a single, differentiating statement, explaining specifically how your product satisfies the customer's need.
Once you've identified your differentiators and translated them into a slogan, strategically use your USP across all copies, ensuring the message resonates with potential customers on various channels. Make it the tagline for your landing pages, and let your marketing team incorporate it into advertising campaigns, marketing materials, brochures, and presentations. Align all communication messages with the USP to establish an effective communication strategy, ultimately helping you sell more, attract new customers, and increase revenue.