When you’re starting up a business or hoping to target a product to a particular market, some of the jargon the experts come out with can be confusing. Even the simplest concepts are a struggle to take in when you’re overloaded with information. One such term you will have heard bandied about is: unique selling point aka USP.
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The definition of unique selling point is as follows (according to entrepreneur.com): “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”
Basically, before you can begin to sell your product or advertise your services to others, you have to work out what is unique about it. Think about it, how many types of hair care products do you find on the market these days? Hundreds. And they’re all designed to do the same thing – wash your hair. So if you’re trying to market a brand new hair care treatment, you’re not going to point out that it does the same thing as every other shampoo in the world, because people will just think:
“Okay, I’ll go buy that product instead then.”
Maybelline, Garnier Fructis, L’Oreal and Head & Shoulders have all made a name for themselves in the hair care market, because they’ve set themselves apart from one another, not just in brand name but also in product description. Head & Shoulders specialise in clearing dandruff – that’s their unique selling point. L’Oreal Elvive has products designed to treat and care for coloured hair – that’s their unique selling point. Garnier Fructis places emphasis on the lovely smell of their products to set them apart.
Pinpoint what makes your business unique to all other businesses in your area and start by convincing yourself that you are providing a unique service. I mean, if you don’t believe in the product, your customers certainly won’t. Then centre your marketing strategy on emphasising that point.
We have to admit though, working out your USP can be a creative nightmare. Research is all important – look at other companies (especially your rivals) and analyse their USP strategies. Compare their ad campaigns and marketing messages to your own ideas. Create a graph of all the USPs in your market to better locate where the gaps are.
Remember though, you can never lose sight of the customers during this process. It’s too easy to think about what you find unique about your product, when in actuality, it’s not you who needs convincing. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, send out questionnaires, ask your friends and family their opinions and figure out what motivates your potential customers into deciding whether they have need for a product or not.
The moment you forget who your unique selling point is aimed at, is the moment your business will fail.