If you’re trying to get customers into your business, there’s no more important activity than marketing. And if you’re trying to get the most out of your marketing, you need to know what your USP is – what you offer that the other businesses you’re in competition with don’t. And since everyone is trying to spread the word to more customers, every business needs to spend some time crystallising their thoughts on their USP.
What’s a USP?
Your unique selling proposition (or unique selling point) is the thing that makes your business unique. And more usefully, the thing that makes your business uniquely better than the competition.
The Best USPs are specific, positive and defensible, which is to say that they’re concrete claims you can back up if challenged that make your products and services look better than the competition. Look at le Creuset for an example – they offer a lifetime guarantee on their cast iron enamel cookware, a USP that underlines the high quality, exceptional longevity and standard of customer care that make a premium brand. Combined with the design work that makes their pieces aesthetic objects as well as practical cookware and you have an irresistible purchase.
Building Your USP
A USP is something you can consciously build as you build your business, both by making choices about what your business offers and how it operates, and by emphasising it in marketing materials so your customers have a clear understanding of it.
You need to think about what your USP is and how your brand communicates and embodies it. In the le Creuset example above, the USP is the extreme hardwearing nature of the product, but that’s embodied and put into action through the lifetime guarantee. Like the age old ‘show don’t tell’ advice in writing, an offer to maintain or replace a product bought from you for a full human lifetime is more persuasive and more eloquent – and more specific – than simply talking about the high quality of your products.
In the earliest stages of your business, you need to think about what your USP is, and how you can build it out to encompass your whole business, to create a coherent and easily marketable brand. If you look in London, strategy consulting firms can help you set this process in place from the earliest days of your business.
Marketing a USP
Marketing a USP effectively means not just knowing what it is, but knowing who your customers are. Market research can tell you who’s out there waiting to buy from you, and segment that crowd into different audiences with different interests so you can serve them different adverts, highlighting your USP in the most attractive way for those specific people. With knowledge, data and specificity, your USP can be your most valuable asset.