What is a unique selling proposition of a product?
USP is an acronym derived from the English language, which stands for Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The definition of a USP is simple: it’s a unique feature (or features) that distinguishes the product or service you offer from the competition. Designating a USP allows a brand to focus on promoting and emphasizing a particular aspect when communicating with customers or investors.
The most important word in USP shorthand is the former: unique. Moreover, the selected feature should also meet the needs of the audience. So what if your company is the only manufacturer of turbochargers in Dąbrowa Górnicza, when the location doesn’t matter to anyone (except maybe Dąbrowa residents)?
How do you identify a unique selling proposition?
The matter may be made a little easier by asking yourself the right question. It sounds like this:
What makes my product different (better) than a competitor’s product?
To answer them, you need to know very well not only your product, but also – and perhaps most importantly – the group you want to target. If you realize what the needs of potential customers are, you can create a list of those that your product meets. With detailed knowledge of product recipients, you are able to counter even potential defects.
A flagship example of this is the high price of a product, which many companies justify – often rightly – by the quality of the materials used, adherence to sustainability principles or the use of local suppliers (instead of, for example, competitively priced companies from China).
The hallmarks of a good product USP
Your unique selling proposition should meet several conditions to be effective. So the USP must be:
- Specific – point out the material used, the length of the warranty, the power of the device – avoid general statements like “the highest quality on the market” or “we leave others behind.” – these are meaningless boasts.
- easy to defend – you have to prepare for a situation in which the customer says “check.” Promoting non-existent product features will quickly come out of the blue, and in the long run can only do harm. Have test results, research and evidence ready to back up what you say about your offering. The point is not to answer doubts with tables, but to make sure you are convinced of your rightness and can honestly defend the product.
- customer-focused – if the unique feature of your product does not solve any problem of the target group or address their needs, uniqueness ceases to matter. At every stage of creating a USP, remember that the recipient of the communication is the customer, and it is to him that your arguments are supposed to reach.
- unique – that the USP must be different from the proposals of brands competing with yours is obvious. It must also be simply better. That’s why we can’t treat free delivery as a unique brand offering. Your free shipping may not be any more free than what other e-commerce stores offer, but it can be faster, safer, packaged in an eco-friendly way, and even personalized – and these are the things that can make it unique.
How do you create your own USP to stand out from the competition?
With the above conditions in mind, try to create a proposal to sell your product or service by implementing the following steps in the correct order:
- Select the elements that differentiate your product/service from other companies in the industry. While this is the first step, it may take you the longest, as it is often the hardest part to find. For ease of use, use the aspect of solving customer problems. Which features of your product solve their problems? Without which your product would cease to make sense to them? Why do they choose your product in particular? Serve positive user reviews – what did they pay attention to? What captivated them?
- Analyze the market – both direct competitors and companies that operate in similar areas. Find out what constitutes their USP as they tell their customers about their products. Think about what they are missing. Analyze negative feedback from their customers – see what shortcomings of the product caused negative reactions and contrast them with your proposal. See if you can come up with a solution to this problem.
- Use the knowledge you gained in the previous two stages and juxtapose what you can offer with what your competitors don’t offer (or offer too little/scope). Based on this, create a USP of your product or service.
Examples of product USPs
For our tools, we always offer spare parts and accessories available so that you can use them for years to come without worrying about running out of discs, blades or drill bits. We don’t make disposable tools – we focus on reliability and long life, which is why we offer a 25-year warranty.
We promise that your drill will benefit future generations.
The USP example above focuses on three elements. First, he makes a promise to address the availability of spare parts and accessories for power tools. What’s more, it also relates to feedback from customers who complain that they used to be able to use one product for many years, but now have to replace power tools every few seasons. The whole thing is sealed with a concrete promise – a 25-year warranty is ahead of the industry standard.
If you want, you can first create a USP scheme that will serve your internal needs and help your communications and marketing people build the right final sales proposal. The following may be included in this formula:
- the name of your product,
- distinguishing feature or features,
- problem that the product solves,
- recipient or target group,
- A feature of a competing product (inferior to yours).
USP marketing – how to harness the potential of USP marketing?
Just creating a unique selling proposition is not the end of the road. Proper exposure is key – so that the offer reaches the audience and is noticed by them. Where can you use your new USP?
- On the packaging – ensure consistent messaging and make sure that the customer opening the package with the product is assured that the promises made in the USP are being fulfilled.
A good unique selling proposition is the element that will make customers forget about the competition. While identifying a USP is often not easy, it will almost certainly pay off in the long run.
It is on the USP that you can base your marketing strategy, as you will gain an extremely strong reference point. However, remember to revise your offer periodically – competitors do not sleep and also want to attract customers with their USP.