One Question to Answer… “What’s In It For Me?”

That’s exactly what your consumers want to know from you about your product or service. In one, concise statement, you can communicate your firm's most compelling offer and benefit in a way that the potential client can automatically answer that question. That one statement is your Unique Sales Proposition, your USP.

“It's not the business with the best product or service that wins, but the business with the best marketing,” says William Bodri, author of The Million Dollar USP Maker. You need a way to find a highly profitable competitive market niche and claim “top of the mind” awareness for all those potential customers out there, because you want them to think of you first. You need a Unique Selling Proposition.

USP is a marketing concept invented by Rosser Reeves in the 1960's. Reeves, author of Reality in Advertising and creator of the USP “They melt in your mouth, not in your hands,” came to the conclusion that the only way to make customers come to you was to create an advertising message about your product that contained the following three characteristics:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."

2. The proposition must be one that the competitor either cannot, or does not offer. It must be unique--either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.

3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e. pull over new customers to your product. An effective USP communicates your firm's unique ability to fill an obvious void in the marketplace. The USP shows your target market how your firm is uniquely qualified to solve their pain or increase their gain. A USP can be your firm's single most powerful marketing weapon.

To craft a USP for your firm, suggest your first make a list of all the benefits of doing business with your firm. Don't leave anything out. Then cut the list down with these guidelines.

1. What things on your list are unique versus your direct competitors?
2. Which of these benefits is most important to your clients?
3. Which of these would be difficult for other's in your industry to copy?
4. Which of these can be easily communicated?

Narrow your search to the top one or two benefits of doing business with your firm. From there it is simply a matter of injecting this chief benefit or USP into everything that you do. Warning - You must deliver on the big promise communicated in your USP. Failure to do so may actually do more harm then drifting along without any marketing focus.

Craft headlines that promote your USP, put a USP statement on your stationery and business cards, build your USP into all of your sales presentations. The ultimate goal is to become known to the market as whatever your USP promotes.


Melissa Data

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