John Deitz
President,
Optimal Enterprise
 
ARTICLE
Convert More Sales with a USP
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The general marketplace is chock full of "me too" products. Want to get into more accounts and sell more product? Develop your unique selling proposition (USP).

What's a USP? The simple answer is, it's a statement of your positioning. It screams your points of differentiation. What key value and benefits do you offer over your competition? What do your customers believe you stand for?

The art of creating a great USP (and for that matter, great positioning) is simplicity. Base it on a very simple concept. Narrow the concept down to a short phrase - perhaps just a single word. If you can't complete this simple exercise, then your message is too complex, you're trying to be too many things. Customers won't grasp what you stand for, and that will be a big problem when they mentally compare you to the competition.

When a customer hears your company or brand name, what should he/she immediately think of? That's what should determine your USP. Is it the lowest prices? The best service? The best selection? Superior quality? Or something totally unique to your business like patented technology or a specialized methodology? The more unique, differentiating and compelling your USP is - and the higher the message level - the easier it is to dodge tedious feature-by-feature comparisons with your competitors; after all, that's how consumers make decisions about commodity products. Are you a commodity? Not if you have a strong USP!

Is the USP tied to your image? Sure is. To your reputation? It might be, if that reputation sets your company clearly apart from the pack.

Why have an USP? It's the heart and sole of your marketing message. It takes center stage in the advertising you do. It's a key element of your image. Be creative and give your USP personality. Are you fun? Strictly professional? High-tech? You decide, but remember to keep it simple. Keep it credible; make it truthful. Because using a USP that you can't deliver on is the kiss of death.

You'll be surprised how the positioning behind a USP simplifies your advertising decisions. Remember, a great brand is developed around ONE THING and one thing only; it better be consistent, no exceptions, day in and day out. If an advertising slant doesn't fit your USP, skip it and find something better. Remember, it's the long-term, "uniquely you" image and reputation you are building.

Make sure your USP is a crystal clear idea in your customer's mind when the buying decision is made.


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