In front of you are two from the chest of the same face and each of them offers to buy an identical product. To which of them will you give money? This is the same dilemma you put before potential customers if your company and its competitors look like identical twins: identical assortment, equal prices and unremarkable service. A unique selling proposition is a marketing strategy that can set you apart from the crowd like a ray of light in a dark kingdom.
What is USP and how to invent it?
The concept of a unique selling proposition (USP, Unique Selling Proposition) was developed by Rosser Reeves, an ardent supporter of hard sales, who believed that the only purpose of advertising was to sell. This is why the USP concept is so good for small and medium businesses:
- It does not require global advertising costs that do not require a quick response. It should be recognized that branding and its expensive paraphernalia are the fate of large corporations, which can direct multimillion-dollar budgets to marketing;
- USP allows you to detach from competitors, without making significant changes in the work of the company;
- Its implementation is often not even required – the uniqueness of the offer already exists, but simply not formed by an advertising message.
A unique selling proposition is the basis of an advertising appeal to a potential client, telling him about the benefits that he will receive in cooperation with your company. Therefore, its development is relevant for the promotion of online stores, as well as for manufacturing enterprises, B2B industry and services.
USP: three quality criteria
According to Rosser Reeves’ concept, the trade offer will only become strong when it combines three important components:
- Specificity of the proposal;
- Benefit for the client;
Unlike many other strategies, USP does not flirt with the client, but directly offers to buy a product, try a novelty or use the service. “Buy an elephant!” – Such a call would seem excessively brazen to the customer if it wasn’t for the benefit he would get: “Buy an ultra fast elephant carrier”. In modern formulas, the benefit is often replaced by a guarantee: “If the elephant is sluggish, we will give you your money back.
And if you can formulate a proposal without difficulty, and the benefit to the client is through a comprehensive online marketing, then to find uniqueness often have to apply all the creative mind of your team.
Stages of USP development
The short formulation of Unique Selling Proposition carries a serious analytical work of experienced marketers:
- To make an effective TSA, you need to address not just the benefits, but the true needs of your customers, their “pain” and desires. IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, explains how the analytical method helped him solve the problem of reduced demand. After making sure that customers were tired of monotonous furniture, he suggested implementing their ideas with modular systems. This is how it was born, “Do you have an idea? There is an IKEA!”.
- It is important to make sure that your hypothesis is not yet used by competitors. At the same time, it is often necessary to immerse yourself in the technological process, to study in detail the storage and sales technologies to reveal an invisible feature. Thus, the famous Pepsi beverage entered the market at a time when CocaCola had already captured almost the entire market. Selling the drink in metal cans allowed Pepsi to win back almost a third of its customers from the powerful corporation.
- USP is formulated as a short and concise promotional message that is remembered by customers. The brightest example of this is “Melting in the mouth, not in the hands”, created by Rosser Reeves to advertise popular sweets.
Information gathering and analytics
Therefore, to make a really strong USP, you need to consistently go through a number of stages, the first of which is to identify the advantages of the company or goods that are fundamental to the client. The most effective ways to collect information become:
- Understanding of your target audience. Customer survey. To do this, gather a focus group of people who resemble your avatar of an ideal customer and ask them to prioritize the choice of goods and services, aspects important to your business.
- Brainstorming. If your product is innovative and completely unfamiliar to the potential client, a collective discussion will help in the search for its merits.
- Identification of all the advantages of the main competitors. This method is good for launching a new model on the market or opening a business in an already filled niche.
When a list of all benefits is compiled, you should highlight a few priority characteristics that are most important to consumers and then make sure that they are not yet used by your competitors.
After that you only need to dress your USP in the form of an advertising message, which will cause your customers, if not the desire to appeal to them, then at least interest, surprise, curiosity.
10 examples of an effective USP
Unique Selling Proposition is a kind of core of your marketing, around which the whole strategy is built. So if it turns out to be boring, gray and everyday, you should go all the way through its development once again, and for inspiration to watch the work of brands with global popularity. Then you will definitely find your “most” feature, on which you can play perfectly.
№1. The property which is not mentioned
One unremarkable Australian cushion company has set itself the goal of increasing turnover by 30% with the help of UTP. The basis for the positioning was the availability of a cushion stamp with an expiration date.
In the morning and evening, there was an advertisement on local television about microflora and microscopic insects that live in old feather cushions. At the same time, the manufacturer not only clearly identified the problem, but also demonstrated a practical solution.
The statement “Your cushions don’t last forever” brought Tontine a 345% increase in annual turnover.
№2. Which your clients did not even think about at all.
The HoReCa sphere is one of the most competitive niches. Customers will not be surprised either by the designer interior of the cafe, or by the impressive menu of delicious dishes. That’s why the cafe in St. Petersburg offered customers not only a tasty snack, but also to communicate with the most popular animals in social networks – cats.
Entrance to the cafe with cats paid – from 400 rubles, but the crowd of visitors do not stop at their doors.
№3. USP with a bow
One of the most popular scenarios, which are used by modern firms, both commodity and working in the service sector. Surely, you have met such offers more than once:
- Buy for the amount of XX rubles and receive as a gift;
- Two packages at the price of one;
- Order an audit and get a 30% discount for a training seminar.
And despite the dullness and monotony, these offers work: everyone wants to get a pleasant bonus to buy or at least save money.
№4. Pain in your field
In most niches, there are certain “problem zones” that your client would not want to face. The real “bearded” legend of UTP of such a format is a cargo transportation company, which in the 90’s put forward the phrase “Our loaders are always sober!”, which brought a significant increase in order flow.
And, drunk and untidy loader – not the only thing that the client is afraid to face. Thus, such USPs as “Treat without Pain” and “Insert with Warranty” were successful in dentistry, and we can’t even talk about how the sales of Domestos, which intimidates all germs under the rim of the toilet, have advanced.
№5. Make him doubt
When Huggies entered the market, Pampers had already won a significant share. But, unlike the popular brand, “cowboy” diapers were equipped with stretch belts and elastic bands, which provided not only dryness, but also comfort for the baby.
Parents, wishing the best for their children, doubted the quality of the previously used brand and were happy to start buying Huggies, giving the company a 350% growth in the first year after market entry.
№ 6. Innovation
The easiest way to develop a UTP, if your product really has some fundamental innovations that solve people’s problems. A typical example is the excitement created by the output of cell phones on 2 SIM cards, the appearance of stretch ceilings, which eliminates the need for a long process of alignment, roughing and finishing.
№7. Let the client more
Amsterdam has become the most popular tourist city in the world, not thanks to tulips and cheese. Permissiveness, sex, drugs and rock and roll bring here thousands of tourists annually.
In the format of an unremarkable cafe or pub, even allowing smoking right at the table can attract customers. An alternative to such a bold decision is letting customers, for example, take off their shoes and sit on a cozy sofa.
№8. Show concern
In Tesco’s European network of food and household items, customers are offered electric scooters, capable of developing up to 4 km/h, to move around the store. This is an extremely comfortable solution for young mothers with children, elderly and disabled people. Therefore, the sales volume in the network with the innovation has increased by 47%.
№9. Show enthusiasm
Одна строительная компания из Санкт-Петербурга предложила своим клиентам бесплатное снятие замеров и разработку трех вариантов дизайна интерьера в квартире. При этом об обязательствах клиентов в рекламе не говорилось ни слова. Но угадайте, к кому они обратились для ремонта своего жилья?
№10. The principle of a narrow niche and “sameness”
Focusing on a narrow area allows you to most fully meet the needs of your target audience. But this principle is good only in the sphere of demanded goods and services. But it is possible to do the opposite: bring all prices in the store to the same value by offering thousands of goods of different categories.
This is the principle of the Russian “Euroshop”, the European “1 euro” and a number of other brands.
Having made an effective USP, you can successfully use it both in brand positioning and in advertising. At the same time, separation from the crowd will surely bring you good dividends.