What is a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)?
Definition: A USP is the key factor or characteristic that differentiates a company from its competitors. Online and offline retailers strive to clearly communicate their USP to shoppers in marketing campaigns, product descriptions, and all other customer touchpoints.
Three types of USP's that make a company stand out
Companies want to sell their products or services as the all-around best option, but ultimately most proposals fall into one of three categories. Keep in mind that companies are not limited to just one of these, although it can be difficult to effectively communicate multiple proposals at once.
Each type of offering is focused on a different value, and what is important to customers should determine which offerings a company focuses on. Establishing a buyer persona helps uncover which offerings are effective.
Establishes the company's claim as a provider of a product or service that is superior to the services of its competitors. For example, a company that sells rare used books may differentiate itself by offering unique, desirable products that cannot be found elsewhere.
Target value: Quality
Cost plays a role in every purchase decision, but it is often the key selling point when selling to comparison shoppers. Price-based offers do not diminish their quality, but emphasize value. This appeals to customers who are looking for a reason to spend less.
Target value: Affordability
Some customers are looking for security and reliability when they make a purchase. Product and price clearly matter, but what can really sell them is reliable support. This includes return policies, technical help lines, extensive online resources, or a combination of these factors. A support-based offering is the sale of an assurance that the customer will be taken care of no matter what. Support is especially important for merchants who maintain an ongoing relationship with their customers, such as those with subscription services.
Target value: Social connections
How to define your Unique Selling Proposition
The process of determining a clear value proposition depends on a company's situation.
1. innovative or emerging companies
New businesses need to establish their unique selling proposition as early as possible - and communicate this to customers as soon as a connection is made. Making a good first impression and demonstrating your USP as soon as a shopper lands on your website or views a marketing asset is critical to capturing their interest.
2. established business
Companies with proven experience have a slight advantage, as they have easier access to Social Proof points such as testimonials and customer reviews. As companies collect more data about who their customers are and what's important to them, it's entirely possible to tailor a unique selling proposition to the results.« Back to Glossary Index