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Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A unique selling proposition (also referred to as a “unique selling point” or “USP”) is the element that sets a product or service apart from its competitors. A USP can be achieved by addressing the target consumers’ needs in a unique way. USPs are a crucial part of any marketing strategy.

The importance of a USP

Unique selling propositions are important for several reasons:

By highlighting your USP and communicating it clearly, your business will attract the right customers. The “right customer” is the kind of customer that is looking to purchase the product you’re selling.

Very few businesses truly disrupt an industry or invent a totally new concept. In a world with many similar and overlapping companies, your USP is the key to standing out from the crowd.

Aside from using your USP to zoom in on the “right customer”, it also gives your business an aura of being special. This in itself raises the value of your offering.


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How to define and write your unique selling point

To find your USP, step into the shoes of your customer. Obviously, consider basic info about their demographics: age, location, gender, preferences and interests. But then go a step deeper by asking this crucial question: What is the exact problem that my customer is facing and how do I solve it better than the competition?

Look at other companies in your industry and see how they’ve highlighted their USPs. This will shed light on the different perspectives of what customers are looking for and where there is room for you to stand out.

Your USP can be found in any of the four P’s of marketing: Price, Product, Place, and Promotion.

  • Price: When taking pricing decisions, check your competitors and look for ways that your offering can be the most cost-effective in its matching of price and quality. Understand how much the customer will be willing to pay and whether slightly shifting your price could benefit your profit margin.

  • Product: This refers to the actual features of your product or service. Whether you sell sunglasses or a home styling service, you should make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re offering customers and what makes your product stand out from the crowd.

  • Place: This refers to the various locations in which you distribute your product, whether in a physical store or online. Research into what your competitors do and find the right placement for your brand. A fair-trade organic chocolate firm might better suit being sold in a boutique health store than in a supermarket - or perhaps a combination of both.

  • Promotion: Your brand and the status it represents make your product unique. This message should be communicated throughout your marketing efforts. Choose which channels will be best for promoting your product or service, from advertising, to social media marketing, email marketing and more.

How to use a USP

Your USP can take the form of a slogan. M&Ms “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”, Domino’s Pizza’s “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free.” Both focus on different areas. M&Ms talk about a unique facet of the product (how it melts), and Domino’s focuses on placement (delivery in thirty minutes).

Aside from a slogan, every aspect of your marketing strategy should be focused around communicating your USP. You should also make sure to create a website that highlights your unique selling proposition.

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