“Every minute you’re not engaging in visible marketing you may be losing out to your competition, who may have already begun taking charge of their own success. Let’s beat them to the punch…and to the customers who have your name written all over them.” [Source: Raleigh Pinskey] How can you make yourself even more successful? By maximizing your unique selling proposition (USP). The Unique Selling Proposition is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands. Today, a number of businesses and corporations currently use USPs as a basis for their marketing campaigns.
Your USP is your philosophy and a statement that communicates three pieces of information:
- Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: “buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
- The proposition itself must be unique - something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
- The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product.
A USP is the advantage that makes you different from anyone else in your business arena. You want to have a USP because it focuses on what you do best, distinguishes you from your competition, defines your strengths and makes the claims you can deliver on. Your USP should be a sentence or two at the most, appeal to emotional needs and assure the customer that your particular company, along with the services the company provides, will satisfy them the best. Consider your USP as the words needed to make your prospective customer feel that you understand and can solve their problem.
Some examples are:
- Federal Express: When it absolutely has to be there overnight
- CNN Headline News Sports Ticker: You’ll always know the score
- KFC: We do chicken right
- GE: We bring good things to life
- American Express: Don’t leave home without it
- Dominos Pizza: You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less.
- XYZ: We’re in the business of helping government departments or agencies to use their computing technology to avoid budget decreases
- ABC: My company helps entrepreneurs who want to computerize but are orphaned by the big consulting firms because of their limited project scope or size
Communicate your USP by putting it on your:
Stationery | Invoices | Business cards | Advertising | Packaging | Newsletters | Sponsorships
In the hustle and bustle of exchanging business cards and shaking hands, people are looking for a way to comprehend information at the speed of light. If you don’t already have a unique selling proposition, take the time to prepare one. It is one more step toward promoting name recognition, developing your image further and expanding your bottom line. [Reference: Reeves, Rosser. Reality in Advertising. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961. Reference: Pinskey, Raleigh. 101 Ways To Promote Yourself. New York, 1997.]
Randi Aileen Press
President and CEO
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