Your Unique Selling Proposition

Or I like to say, Your Unique “Value” Proposition…

What’s a unique selling proposition (USP)? First the Wikipediaexplanation:

“The unique selling proposition (a.k.a. unique selling point, or USP) is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to understand a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced those buyers to switch brands. The term was invented by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company. Today the term is used in other fields or just casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.”

A strong USP can mean the difference between being “just another company” and one that’s unique and memorable in the minds of customers and prospects. To do this, a USP must accomplish three things.

    1. Each USP must make a strong appeal to the target audience. Not just words, not just product puffery, and not just window advertising. It must say to each reader: “Buy this product, try this service, and you will get this specific benefit.”
    2. The benefit must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. In other words, it must be unique.
    3. The proposition must be strong enough that it can attract new customers to your product or service on its own.

Here are some USPs you might recognize:

  • Nike: “Just Do It!”
  • Apple: “Think Different.”
  • Miller Brewing: “Tastes Great, Less Filling”
  • KFC: “Finger Lickin’ Good”
  • Subway: “Eat Fresh.”
  • Energizer: “It Keeps Going, and Going and Going…”
  • Head & Shoulders: “You get rid of dandruff.”
  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.”
  • FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”
  • M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
  • Metropolitan Life: “Get Met. It Pays.”
  • Southwest Airlines: “We are the low-fare airline.”
  • Walmart: “Always Low Prices. Always.”

Your USP is your unique answer to these questions:

  • Why should I listen to you?
  • Why should I do business with you instead of anybody and everybody else?
  • Why should I do something instead of nothing?
  • What can your product do for me that no other product can do?
  • What will you guarantee me that nobody else will?

There are two types of USPs: explicit and implicit.

Explicit USP

  • The message you lead with
  • Clearly stated in your marketing materials
  • Involves promises & guarantees
  • Aimed at new customers or first-time buyers of a particular product or service

Implicit USP

  • What customers love most about you
  • Things that keep existing customers coming back to you
  • May get mentioned by customers in testimonials & word-of-mouth referrals
  • You may go for years and never state it publicly: “We operate with absolute integrity.”

Whether you have a new business or an existing one that needs a stronger USP, here are some ideas to help you come up with a USP that translates to a benefit the customer wants. A strong USP can have some or many of these characteristics.

  • Faster service
  • More personal service
  • Services above and beyond the basics
  • Guaranteed on-time completion
  • Guaranteed delivery
  • Guaranteed friendliness
  • Guaranteed live phone support
  • Better prices
  • Exclusivity (“Ours is the only package that includes ‘x.'”)
  • Superior quality
  • Convenience
  • A better promise or guarantee of results

Your USP should be unique, useful, simple, and memorable. A well-thought-out USP can help you position your company in a powerful and strategic way. It’s never too late to strengthen your USP. Start today.  Consider taking my marketing class, which you will discover the complete picture of your marketing, branding, and the full circle. Call today for more information and talk to Becky… (360) 738-4931.

Overwhelmed by Your Marketing Efforts?

Marketing your business can be a nonstop, exhausting task. Over the years we have many conversations with our customers about the struggles of doing it all.  in 2008, I decided to help with this, and came up with a marketing booklet and scheduled some marketing classes to review the booklet and help business owners be powerful about their marketing plan.  The whole goal, is to help it not be an overwhelming task.  Here are a few ways to avoid feeling overwhelmed and get the most out of your marketing efforts:

    • Create a SWOT analysis, which is a strategic planning method to evaluate your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By identifying and understanding these four areas of your business, you can more easily create a strategy that will distinguish your company from the competition, so you can compete successfully in your market.  I have created this chart, that we personally used in the shop with our employees. It helps them become a part of the process and are eyes where we may not see.
    • Establish your Unique Value Proposition, which pulls you away from your competition. So many business owners think that what they sell is what people want, however, there are others selling the same thing. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Craft the right message, that speaks into the listening of your prospects and clients.
    • Create a wish list of marketing initiatives, as well as a list of necessary projects with realistic deadlines. Schedule a weekly or bi-monthly meeting to review your progress, identify issues that are holding you back, and reassign tasks or projects.  I also suggest a calendar, so you can put themes, deadlines, and plan ahead, saving you time and money from rush charges. It also keeps you from flying by the seat of your pants!
    • Learn from others. Collect examples of marketing materials or creative ideas that caught your attention, and organize them in an ideas binder. Combine your favorite traits from each into marketing ideas that are customized for your business.  I have a box of samples of direct mail pieces and marketing ideas that we collect, and it really helps me come up with some nice looking pieces without too much struggle!
    • Communicate with other departments in your business to gather new marketing ideas. For example, your production crew may suggest highlighting a new product feature, while your sales team may receive suggestions from customers about requested promotional ideas.
    • Find a marketing intern. Interns can provide a lot of value… if you let them. Interns are best utilized to help you reach business goals. For example, consider assigning interns to manage social media accounts, write articles and other blogs to increase your web presence, develop creative campaign ideas, etc. Interns can help relieve capacity issues and “test” new hires before making them official.

And most of all, consider outsourcing projects if you or your team doesn’t have the time or resources to complete an important project. Print & Copy Factory has a wonderful team of designers and marketing plans that can also be a great solution to keeping up the pace without hiring permanent staff.  As an outside party, we often ask those sensitive questions to help pull you out of the slump.  Also note, sometimes doing it yourself, puts out the wrong message, looking cheap and not well thought out.  Hiring us, also, may seem more expensive up front, however, we hear people designing brochures for weeks using Microsoft Word, and it looks terrible, while we could have something done in a few hours, looking professional.

Whatever you do, just realize that hiring a professional, can really help with putting the finishing touch on your marketing efforts. Print & Copy Factory can offer helpful advice, creative ideas, meet tight deadlines, and provide a quality product you will be proud to distribute. We’re here anytime your business needs help putting your best foot forward.