Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – How to find and formulate your USP
To stand out in an almost homogeneous market with quasi interchangeable products is becoming an increasingly difficult task for companies. Product lifecycles are becoming shorter and shorter, innovations are being imitated faster, prices are being squeezed further and further, and quality is considered a basic requirement. It is therefore all the more important to have a unique selling proposition (USP). Using a few examples, we will show you exactly what this is about and explain the process of formulating your own USP.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
A Unique Selling Proposition (also called Unique Selling Point) is the unique selling proposition of a product or service. It emphasizes the unique sales argument that should motivate customers to choose a product or service.
A product or a service should not be perceived as interchangeable. Thus the price moves into the background and in the long run the customer connection can be ensured. Due to the market saturation as well as the homogeneity of the products, a USP has become indispensable if the success of a company is to be secured.
Marketing communicates the USP (e.g. in the form of an advertising message) to the public and the target group.
Features of a USP
There are various properties that a USP must have in order to be more than just an additional benefit.
If there are certain advantages and additional benefits of a product, which many on the market ultimately have, it is not a USP. For a unique selling proposition, it should really be as unique as possible, because the more unique a product is, the greater the competitive advantage.
Target group relevance
As always, your customer and your target group should be in the foreground. Therefore, the USP must also bring real customer benefits and be tailored to the wishes and needs of your target group. If there is no benefit for the target group, the USP will not be a selling point.
Your company should also have a USP in financial terms. If this represents too high costs, it will only be sustainable to a limited extent.
Promises made to the target group via the USP must also be kept. If it turns out that the unique selling proposition being advertised fails, it can even have negative effects. So make sure by extensive testing that your customers are not disappointed.
Examples of a USP
A USP can be very different. The unique feature can be found in the product or service itself, in an additional service or even in the company as a whole. Examples of a USP:
- a special property/function, a special quality feature of the product or service
- special services, competent advice, distinct customer orientation
- Additional services such as long guarantees, free maintenance or product training
- Price, financing offers, payment terms
- short waiting / delivery times
- a special process, such as individualization or environmentally friendly production
- an outstanding, unique design
- high user-friendliness
- image of the company (e.g. expert, innovation leader, market leader, traditional company etc.)
- emotional brand values such as prestige, sustainability or exclusivity
Find and formulate a USP
Once you know the exact definition of a Unique Selling Proposition and what you can imagine, you should start to identify such a unique selling proposition for your own company.
1. define the target group
An essential step is the definition of the target group. You need to know what demographic or socio-economic and psychographic characteristics your potential customers have. For example, find out their age, gender, level of education, interests and hobbies.
2. determine the wishes and needs of the target group
In the second step, the target group must be examined more closely. What are the motives for buying? What problems, wishes or needs do the potential customers have? To find out, you can evaluate the most frequently searched terms, conduct surveys or read in forums.
3. analyze competition and find out potential
With the acquired knowledge you can now analyze the products of competitors. Which unique selling propositions are already available, which problems are already solved?
But also work out which needs of the target group are not yet met and which niches can still be developed.
4. highlight strengths, develop them further if necessary
Now it is time to filter out your own strengths. List them and consider in which direction you can develop further. What are you already doing better than your competitors, what can you improve on?
5. formulate USP
Once you have completed the first four steps, you have gathered enough information to formulate your USP. Use brainstorming, for example, and sort and combine the results for a unique value proposition.
In this step, it is also important to develop an appropriate advertising message. This should summarize the USP briefly and concisely and be suitable for the public, but above all for your target group.
6. maintain uniqueness
Once you have defined and communicated something unique, you must preserve that uniqueness. Provide evidence of functionality and meet the expectations of your target group. This way your customers can become testimonials (e.g. through valuable reviews) and recommend your product to others.
Innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter and products are virtually interchangeable nowadays. In order to be successful with your company and to maintain this success in the long term, you need to stand out from the crowd. With the formulation of a truly unique value proposition and a corresponding advertising message, you can bring your product to the attention of your target group. This way you can become indispensable for your customers and successfully stand out from the competition.