Every business, product or service needs a USP to stand out from their competition. USP means a unique selling proposition, or in some industries a unique selling point – this basically informs your target audience about why your special.
An articulated USP can be an effective tool to help you shape your marketing campaign to successfully set your brand and products apart from your competition. A USP that attempts to communicate unique benefits to consumers is often an essential part of a business’s branding strategy.
Consumers are bombarded with messages and advertising every day from companies and brands across the world. To make life easier, they tend to arrange products and services into groups and position them in an order which meets their personal preference – for example, the safest car, the best value car, the most expensive and so on. This can happen for different types of products from all sorts of industries.
If conducted well enough, a marketing campaign will help customers to quickly understand and identify what a business offers to them, and ultimately why they should choose a business instead of using a competitor.
This is why you see brands heavily highlighting awards they have won, as in the customers mind this can be a huge unique selling point which makes their purchasing decision easier.
Before you start a marketing campaign, you need to consider and assess where you have a competitive advantage against your rivals. Normally you will find at least two or three elements which your better at.
Once you’ve established where you’re performing better, you need to think how these meet the needs and requirements of the customers and markets you’re operating in. Remember just because a product has a certain attribute your competitor may not have, doesn’t mean your target audience is looking for that.
You should back up your USP’s by looking at additional data and metrics, such as market research and wider industry trends. Many businesses try to focus on features which will have the longest life cycle within their industry, this means they can market that feature for years to come without any major competitor gaining an advantage over them.
For example, a technology company could have developed a new feature on a smartphone, it might take years for a competitor to produce a similar solution.
While thinking about your USP, you need to consider creating a statement which conveys your selling points in a simple manner. You can do your own research on this, to see how your customers react.
For instance, let’s take the smartphone example, you may have developed a way of the phone to be waterproof for 10 hours. By asking your target audience, you can gain feedback on whether this feature is something they desire or not.
You should even test out the type of wording you would like to use on your product literature and advertising campaigns. Such as “The new 105 Phone – now designed to be water resistant for up to 10 hours”. Of course, this is just a simple example, but you can get a general idea of how it works.
To help you further here’s a basic step by step guide to USPs and what you need to watch out for:
a list of what you know about your target audience, such as their age, gender,
spending power and so on
a list of all the needs that your product or service could meet
these against trends and competitors.
each potential USP of your competitors against what you and your business are
especially good at
short market research with your target market to choose the strongest USP for
your activities using your USP as part of your wider marketing strategy
- Keep monitoring trends and new companies that could affect how customers see your USP.