In an era where we are flooded with an abundance of choices, an excess of brands, and millions of ways of getting things done, what makes your business unique? Why would a consumer choose to do business with you rather than another company?
This is where a unique selling proposition (USP) comes into play. In a world of homogeneous competitors, it is vital to have a USP.
USP is the essential factor that differentiates you from your competitors showing a consumer what makes you different and better from other companies.
To distinguish your USP, you may begin by exploring the USPs’ of other companies or competitors. Instead of just focusing on the products and services, one must focus on what companies are saying about their products “what they say they sell” this will help you better understand how a company distinguishes itself from others. For example; while some airlines may sell friendly service, others sell on-time service. Figure out what you aim to sell to the consumers that would make them want to choose you over others.
It is critical for you to find your “peg” this is what your marketing strategies will be based on. To do so, you can consider the 4 “P’s” of marketing.
- Price structure
- Placement strategy
- Product characteristics
- Promotional strategy
These are factors that may be used to your advantage to set you apart from your competitors.
Why do you need a USP? How would it benefit you?
It is essential to understand the importance of a Unique Selling Proposition. In the 1960’s Tom Monaghan had bought his brother’s share of Domino’s Pizza. At the time Domino’s was merely another pizza restaurant based in Michigan and faced the challenge of differentiating itself from its competitors. Monaghan wanted to grow a franchise, and he knew that it was vital for him to increase his revenue for this expansion. So, to stand out from his competitors, Dominos came up with a promise “pizza delivered in 30 minutes, or it’s free” this was their USP. They went on to generate $1.4 billion in revenue during the year 2009.
Moving on, let’s take into consideration shipping companies. There is little to no difference between shipping companies to an average person who wants a package or letter delivered overnight. Without a USP they would fail to stand out from their competitors. A small courier service that began in Tennessee recognized the importance of a USP and came up with a promise just as Dominos did. Their USP was “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” This company is now one of the largest companies in the world, “FedEx”; Their planes travel nearly 500,00 miles a day.
As we have seen in the examples above, a USP portrays a product or service as unique and desirable in the eyes of prospective consumers. To be successful, it is essential to have a clear and robust USP as it is the base of all your marketing strategies and your hook for potential consumers.
How you would establish a USP for your own business
You may already have a USP but haven’t identified it yet, as a starting point ask yourself the following questions; What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? Why do repeat clients and customers like you? What makes you better than your competitors? By answering the three questions, you may establish a USP.
Another way to successfully establish a USP is through the following steps;
- List out characteristics and information you have about your target audience
- List out all the needs/wants your product or service may cover – (these would be prospective USP’s for your business)
- Compare your potential USP’s to trends and competitors – this way you can eliminate USP’s that are well used by competitors.
- Choose your top USP’s that your business successfully achieves and that goes hand in hand with trends
- Conduct surveys and interviews with your target audience to further narrow down the list according to their needs
- Recheck that you have the correct USP- answer the following questions; Does it convey one strong benefit? Is it memorable? Is it clear who the brand is targeting from the USP? Can you deliver what it promises? Is it unique - or could a competitor claim the same thing?
- You may now use your USP to create a base for your marketing strategies and to develop your business.
- Make sure you keep an eye on changing trends and new competitors as it may affect how the consumers perceive your USP.
You do not necessarily need a unique product or service for your business to be successful; you need something that makes your product stand out. You need a USP, as this plays a significant role in keeping consumers on your website or app and assures them that you can solve a problem or provide them with something others cannot.