All you need to know about a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Let’s talk about the sad story of Nokia.
Nokia was the largest cell phone maker in 1998, but by 2013, the company had lost it all and completely collapsed.
When they were at their peak, they occupied quite a specific market and offered a pretty clear market value. Nokia phones were strong, durable, and reliable. And we loved them for that!
In fact, the jokes that were flying around showed that people obviously loved Nokias for their indestructibility.
But then, their happily ever after was cut short by the introduction of the iPhone. The iPhone attracted a different set of the market. It was expensive, sleek, classy, fragile, and sophisticated.
In short, iPhones were everything that Nokia was not.
In response, Nokia wanted to prove that they, too, could invent a phone as ‘classy’ as the iPhone. They started making a phone similar to the iPhone, and this was the beginning of their demise.
Why? They didn’t leverage their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) which was a strong, durable phone. Instead, they copied iPhone’s features, and Apple even filed a lawsuit against them for infringing 13 of their patents.
And while Nokia eventually made a return to the industry in 2016, it has never quite been the same.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from your competitors.
It is the one feature, or the perceived benefit of a good, which makes it unique from the rest of the competing brands in the market.
It is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that makes customers prefer your product over another. And once you discover what yours is, success will follow.
How to know your Unique Selling Proposition
1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Your customers are not that much different from you. In fact, if they like your product, you likely have similar tastes and preferences. If you want to know your USP, ask yourself why you like your product so much. What makes you so passionate about it?
Even so, remember that you are trying to satisfy your customers’ needs and not your own.
Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or service and forget that it’s the customer’s needs, not their own, that they must satisfy.
Step back from your daily operations and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want.
2. Know what motivates your customers’ behavior and buying decisions
The entire essence of marketing is in understanding your customers, and contextually.
You need to know and understand what makes your customers buy certain products and services.
Freud Sigmund’s psychoanalytic theory states that if you can appeal to the deep desire why buyers make certain decisions, you’re more likely to succeed in your business.
In short, you need to know what drives and motivates customers. Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location, that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends.
3. Uncover the actual reasons customers buy your product instead of a competitor’s
Why do your customers buy from you as opposed to your competitors?
Is it your customer service, packaging, or your after-sales service?
You can uncover these reasons by running a survey. It’s as simple as just asking them why. Once you know these reasons, you can easily capitalise on them and use them for advertising.
Your USP can take your business to level 100 if used well.
Why you need to know your Unique Selling Point
1. Improves your marketing
Supposing Nokia had chosen to leverage their Unique Selling Point of being strong and durable.
They would have focussed their marketing on this factor, and customers obviously would have been attracted to it.
When you know your Unique Selling Point, you can easily tell your customers what they want to hear.
Your communication and marketing strategies will remain focussed on this unique factor, and because your competitors aren’t offering it, people start to see the value.
Your Unique Selling Point can also help you to see exactly who your target audience is. If, say, the USP of your product is fun, interactive, and social, you may just be targeting young people.
In this sense, your Unique Selling Point can help you to discover your client avatar.
2. Improves revenue
When you make it clear to your audience what your Unique Selling point is, they are more likely to buy from you.
Why? It helps you to bolster revenue by giving your market a specific reason to buy. Your USP will help cement your product’s position in the market, so that your customers will want to keep paying for it.
If Nokia had sold their product as ‘the strongest phone in the world’, they would have attracted a market that’s after a long-lasting phone. And being an expensive item, they would probably have had an influx of revenue from people looking for a long-lasting product.
3. Helps you to develop a loyal customer base
A successful USP enhances good feelings and positive outcomes about your products and services.
Should a problem arise, customers may give a company leniency because the company has demonstrated a strong commitment to keeping the customer happy by addressing any areas where the brand falls short.
We’ve all heard about the power of word-of-mouth marketing, and it starts with building a loyal customer base who can vouch for you.
In this sense, through a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), it’s easy to build loyal customers and get referrals for more sales.
There is no downside to knowing your USP, and shouting about it as often as you can in your marketing
4. Distinguishes a brand from its competitors
When Apple first introduced the iPod into the market, there were almost no other similar concepts. Sure, there were MP3 players, but none were like the iPod with high memory and an easy-to-use interface.
This gave them an upper hand in their marketing.
Apple used the tagline “1000 songs in your pocket,” which led them to millions of sales.
Knowing your Unique Selling Point and delivering it to your audience through a catchy phrase is important. It helps the audience to choose you easily.
In a TED Talk by Alex Smith, he says that you should learn to love your competitors.
Because your competitors are an opportunity for you to stand out among the crowd. Your competitors help you to establish your Unique Selling Proposition.
5. It helps customers to make better buying decisions
Some people prefer strong, durable phones, and others classy, sleek ones.
This is good news for business people. It shows that there’s space for everyone to succeed.
When you clearly state your Unique Selling Proposition, you are essentially telling your customers that if they buy from you, they get that benefit.This helps them to decide what their need is and if your product clearly suits those needs. By highlighting your Unique Selling Position, customers understand the value you offer. It leads to matched expectations between you and your customer.
You can’t control the market within which your business operates. Competition will almost always be there. What you can do, however, is develop a specific feature in your product which your competitors don’t offer as well as you do.
This is what forms a Unique Selling Proposition, and it can be the difference between success and failure in business.
In summary, these are the five reasons why you need to know your Unique Selling Proposition and use it to your advantage:
- Improves your marketing
- Improves your revenue
- Helps you develop a loyal customer base
- Distinguishes a brand from its competitors
- It helps customers to make better buying decisions
If you would like some help in knowing and developing your USP, get in touch with us here.