Image by: LoboStudioHamburg
By Dexter Lunde
Marketing campaigns can be expensive. If you don’t have the spare change to try a handful of marketing techniques (to see which one works best), then I suggest that you try and find your USP first. What is that? It’s been called a few different things before: unique selling point, unique selling proposition, or unique marketing proposition.
What you need to remember about your USP is that it is what makes you different. In marketing, it’s all about differentiation. What makes you and your product unique and how can you market that to your target market?
Let’s talk about how you can find your USP so that you can engineer the perfect marketing plan for your product(s) or service(s).
#1) 2nd Best is…Okay
It’s not about having the best product out there. Especially when you’re just starting out. If you’re a small business, it’s hard to try to outsell companies that have been at it for years (and have developed their own R&D departments).
Instead of focusing on being the best (“Hey! Look at me! I make the best burgers in America!”), try to focus on what you do (“Hey! Check us out. We’re all about making great home-style burgers. If you like home-style burgers – the kind your dad used to make at BBQ’s – come check us out!”
What do you call the man who graduated medical school last in his class? A doctor.
You don’t have to be the best and you don’t need to compete with “the other doctors”. Instead, just focus on what you do have, that no one else is attempting. That’s what’s so great about USPs. Instead of competing with the big boys, you get to define who your competitors are.
#2) List Your Features
All right, so let’s say that you don’t know what makes you unique. Have a seat with a piece of paper and a pen. Now write down all of the features and benefits of your product or service.
For example, are your burgers made from meat bought at local farms? Do you come out with a different recipe every other week or every month? Do you offer different sides (other than chips or fries)? Are your burgers lower in fat? Do you offer gluten-free buns? Do you make the buns yourself?
Write down all of those features and benefits and put stars next to the features that you don’t see often in the competing businesses in your area. Put two stars next to the items that your competitors can’t easily duplicate.
#3) Emotional Needs
This is how you’re going to connect with your target market. What emotional needs does your product or service provide? Try to concentrate from a customer’s perspective. Do you offer healthier sides so your customer will feel both satisfied and good about himself when walking out of your restaurant? Do you offer a warm and inviting atmosphere?
#4) ”What’s in it for me?”
That’s what your customers will be asking when someone approaches them with your product. Why should that person buy your product over the cheaper competitors or the “well known” competitor?
Can you guarantee fast delivery? Can your product do something that others can’t? For example, M&M’s slogan is that it “melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
#5) Narrowing Your Target Market
If you narrow your target market, you can focus on meeting a smaller set of needs. Try to cater to that particular market. If you can choose a narrow target market that hasn’t had a business like yours cater to their needs before, then you’ve got quite the USP.
#6) Specialize Your Topic
You probably don’t want to hear this but sometimes it takes another trip to the drawing board in order to find your USP. Try to make your product more specific. Instead of being a regular burger joint, be a healthy burger joint that offers healthier options for specialized tastes. “Making healthy taste great”, right?
Great, now I really want to open a burger joint…
#7) Communicating Your USP
Okay, so let’s say that you have your USP. For argument’s sake, we’ll use the fake one that I just made up, “Making healthy taste great.” Now how can you communicate this? A lot of companies turn this into their slogan.
For example, Domino’s says “If it’s not there in a half an hour, it’s free” or more notably, “If it’s not hot, it’s free.” They boast of having a hot pizza delivered right to your door. It’s a great slogan and a great USP. Here are some other slogans/USPs:
Nokia: Connecting People
KFC: It’s finger lickin’ good!
Wheaties: The Breakfast of Champions!
DeBeers: A diamond is forever.
Subway: Eat fresh.
iFlex Solutions: Empowering financial institutions globally.
Now it’s your turn. Can you think of slogans that advertise a company’s USP? Can you think of examples of USP’s for our readers? Sometimes it takes the right example in order to trigger the right neurological connections in a person’s head. Got an idea to share with us? Write your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.