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Why Your Company Needs a Unique Selling Proposition

September 12, 2010


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Something you’ll hear a lot in marketing circles is that companies need to have a unique selling proposition — a USP.  So what is a unique selling propostion?

A unique selling proposition is something that sets your company apart from the competition.  It’s something that makes your product or service unique and stand out in a crowded marketplace.  Without a USP, your product is just like every other product.  Your product is simply a commodity.  And when customers buy commodities, all they care about is price.

If a person is buying a bushel of corn and is choosing between two corn companies, he’s going to buy whichever corn is the cheapest.  Corn is corn.  One barrel of corn can’t be that different from another.  But what if one of the companies has a USP?  What if one of the companies sells organic corn grown without pesticides?  Now that’s unique.  Organic corn grown without pesticides stands out from the crowd.

At this point, the company selling organic corn has differentiated itself from the competition.  It has given customers a reason besides price to choose its product over its competition’s product.  Without this kind of differentiation, every transaction becomes a price war.  The customer begins a bidding process between the corn growers and chooses the one with the lowest price.  This is good for customers but not so good for companies.

In short, creating a USP for your product or service gives you an opportunity to charge more for your product and make more money per transaction.  If you want to compete in a bidding war and survive by selling a high volume at a low price, then go for it.  But if you can’t survive in a high volume bidding war, then you need to figure out what your USP is or come up with one for your product.  Once you have a USP, you can charge more for your product and make more per transaction.  The more unique your selling proposition and the more it resonates with your customers, the better.

Have you had any experience creating a USP?  Would you like any help figuring out a USP for your company?  If yes, feel free to leave a message to discuss your product or service in the comments for this post.


From → Marketing Tips

  1. I’ve been working out USPs for independent hotels in Paris. There are over 2000 of them, each one totally unique… I’ve come to work out 3 factors that make a hotel USP. Once you’ve worked out a coordination of those 3 points you have your USP. They are:
    Location, Comfort, Value for Money these form a triangle and with some practice one can start nailing the USPs rather efficiently.
    I wrote a blog post about it here: How to work out your USP, for Hotels

    • Martin,

      Thanks for the comment. Finding a formula to identify USPs within an industry is a great idea. I really like the point in your post that “a USP has to be a benefit to the end-user” and can’t just be a perceived benefit from the company’s point of view. It’s easy for companies to think that their offering is awesome for some reason, but that misses the mark if it’s not what matters to customers. Do you have any examples related to hotels in Paris?


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