Stand Out, Get Noticed and Gain Market Share - Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
10:32 AM on Feb. 10, 2009
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger]
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean ____.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what *you* have to find out.
In this famous dialog from the movie City Slickers, Curly seemed to confidently possess the coveted answer to the secret of life. Or, perhaps it was in Mitch's question that many of us introspectively started searching and becoming anxiously more self-aware.
The secret of marketing your business is not all that much different or any simpler than the secret of life. So, what is your business’ “one thing”? In other words, what is the one thing that makes your business different, unique and/or memorable from your competition? Is it your amazing price point? Your celebrity endorsement? Or is it your heavy-trafficked location, exceptional service, long history of value, or extended hours of operation? Is your “one thing” so strong that it can drive new customers to your product and keep your existing customers from even thinking of another brand? How well do your customers know your “one thing”? And, in today’s me-too world of quick start-ups, is your “one thing” truly sustainable?
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), Defined
The term Unique Selling Proposition originated in the 1950’s from Rosser Reeves, then the top account man at Ted Bates, NYC. The idea was that promoting one key feature and benefit of any brand for years and years would cut through the clutter of advertising and build an indisputable position in the consumer's mind.
USP turned out to be very successful for Ted Bates. Today, a number of businesses and corporations currently use USPs as a basis for their marketing campaigns and it's become somewhat of a mantra among brand managers. See if you can guess what companies the following USP’s belong to:
Which coffee is “mountain grown”?
Which car Insurance company can “save you 15% or more in 15 minutes”?
Which beer is “made from the cold, clear water of the Rockies”?
Which pizza guarantees “fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less”?
Which local car dealership is “a name you trust”?
There’s no doubt about it that a great USP is extremely powerful and can dramatically impact your bottom line. Think about it for a moment… Why do you go to your favorite restaurant regularly? Where do you buy your cars from? Which airline do you choose to fly?