Regardless of whether a business is just starting out or has been ‘in the game’ for some time, the core driver of their success is a unique selling point (USP).
Essentially, this is what separates the best from the rest, making your business, products and services stand out in a crowded market space.
Whether it’s a better quality item that meets customers’ needs at a lower price than your competitors or just a better all-round experience you’re offering, customers want to know that they’re doing business with you for a good reason.
In other words - what makes your product different from the rest? Why should they choose you?
A great example can be found in The North Face’s promise to produce products ‘that last a lifetime’ (or your money back!) replacing or repairing items that failed to live up to that expectation.
Their USP is that their product will last longer than anyone else’s - loud and clear!
Even with all the money in the world to pump into a marketing campaign, you’ll be unlikely to reach your intended audience without showing off exactly what makes your business unique.
But how do you go about identifying what exactly makes you so different to other organisations and, consequently, so attractive to prospective customers?
The good news is that there are several steps you can follow to unearth your USP.
Let’s dive in...
1. Brainstorm your angle
In short, list what features and benefits are specifically unique to your product or service.
This is a process that can be business-wide across a range of departments and potentially involves interviewing customers to find out what makes your organisation tick.
You’ll want to move away from vague generalisations like ‘our product is great’ and right down into the crux of what singles out your offering from the crowd.
If you’d like to dive deeper into features and benefits, you can read ‘Music and Marketing - Features vs Benefits’ here.
2. Meeting a need
Once you’ve worked out what makes your product or service so great, match that with your prospective customers’ needs.
3. Suss out the competition
Are your competitors fulfilling a need you’re also trying to fulfill? How well are they doing that?
Is there room for you to squeeze in and show you can meet that need better? Are you offering something that other organisations simply can’t compete with?
As soon as you’ve got a firm hold on your competitive advantage: exploit it.
4. Get out a precise message
Get to the point!
In as few words as possible, clearly explain what sets you apart from your competitors in a way that can be quickly and easily understood by your target audience.
5. What’s in it for the customer?
You’ll know if you’ve followed steps 1-4 successfully if you’ve managed to answer the most important question for the customer: ‘what’s in it for me?’
It can be a bit of a jungle out there, but if you get a solid grip of these steps you stand a great chance of breaking through the canopy and finding your place in the market.
Emphasising your USP can really be the difference between being lost in a crowd and carving a pathway to your target audience.