The unique selling point (USP) of a product or service is its moxie. It’s X-Factor.
USP is that one key benefit your product boasts that makes it distinctly attractive to a buyer. In fact, an expertly thought out and well marketed USP can be the difference between your product being just another bland and uninspiring box on the shelf, and that one choice pick that everyone simply craves to have.
When Apple dreamed up the ipod, the USP was unambiguously strong – carry your whole damn music collection in your top pocket. The world fell in love with it. Instantly. All The cool kids had it. So powerful was the USP that Apple forged with its ipod that it soon put entire competitor product ranges into the “to be discontinued” category (remember the Sony Walkman?). And it made a pretty penny in the process.
However, championing a strong Unique Selling Point demands a snip more thought and co-ordination than you might imagine – because multiple departments from product design to marketing all need to be in tune and singing from the same hymn sheet.
You don’t have to be Apple, or any Fortune 500 behemoth for that matter, to benefit from having a strong USP. In fact, the smaller you are the better your USP had be, if you’re going to cross swords with the bigger boys.
Here are 7 ways to establish, build upon and adapt your unique selling point, as your product evolves through its life cycle:
1. What Will You Base Your USP On?
Price? Yes, that’s one rather crudely obvious possibility. However, get just a little more imaginative and you’ll find that your USP could be wielded upon a plethora of other factors such as:
- Reliability (including experience and time established)
- Fastest turnaround
- Testimonials and endorsements
Not all of these will apply to every product or service but, for example, a new local gourmet pizza restaurant may want to take on the likes of Domino’s on the grounds of quality ingredients, or local celebrity endorsements (rare Tibetan mushrooms hand picked from Buddhist monks, or a cheesy picture of a local athlete or movie star taking a big tasty bite). Certainly a stark and innovative contrast to the “Two For Tuesdays” deal offered by you-know-who.
2. Think About Your USP BEFORE Your Product/Service Is Created.
USP should really be addressed when your product or service is just the spark of an idea in your head, or at the very latest, a scribble or two on your notepad. Whenever you’re thinking about introducing a new product or service, ask yourself what key features and benefits will make it truly stand out, head and shoulders above the competition.
It means knowing exactly what your target market wants. What they will fork out their hard earned money for. It means knowing what gripes they have with existing products too. This relies on accurate feedback from market research reaching the people who are going to be designing your new product.
3. Identify & Re-invent USP For Your Existing Product Range
Analyze your existing product range – often, you can make some tweaks to a product or its features, fundamentals or pricing and create a powerful USP in the bargain.
If one of your products or services is dying a slow, torturous death, introducing a new USP could deliver it a whole new lease of life. Like a dramatic price reduction or new distinctive features.
4. Analyze Popular Competitor Products With A Fine Toothed Comb
If your competition is wiping up the floor with you, pin point what it is about their product that tickles the customers buying bone. You might just be able to steal their USP and repackage it as your own.
5. Build Your Sales Materials Around Your Unique Selling Point
Whether your sales letter is a html page, a video, hard copy or an actual sales team – make sure the USP that defines your product is loud and clear within the marketing blurb. If you’re using written copy, highlight your USP emphatically and unashamedly. It’s why you’re better. Why your product blows away the competition into tiny itty little bits.
When you’re using the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) methodology to create your sales copy, do so with your USP starring within each of these segments of your copy.
If you’re relying on a salesperson, or team, to do the selling – ensure they are very well trained to convey the products USP in their sales pitch.
6. Immortalize Your USP With A Punchy Slogan.
You’re not the only show in town you know – customers are inundated with choice in just about every product or service you could think of. Consequently, effective marketing and branding of your USP is key.
Buzzy, punchy slogans will make people remember your product, service and business.
7. Don’t Stay Still – Re-Evaluate Your USP On A Regular Basis.
Your business environment is in a constant state of flux. New competitors will emerge. They’ll roll out fresh new products. And offer smashing new deals to nick your clients from beneath your very nose. If you don’t keep up, your product may not even make the journey through its expected life cycle. Keep your finger on the pulse and keep tweaking your USP with the changing times. Look at the most successful products and brands – you’ll notice they’ve re-invented themselves, sometimes on several occasions, to stay fresh and in demand.
Embracing these fundamentally simple USP tips should keep your product range in demand and box fresh. So that, hopefully, much like the ipod at its finest hour, your customers are almost compelled to use your product each and every day – instead of sticking it up in some cold and forgotten corner of their loft. Which, I suspect, is where your old walkman probably is right about now.