A Beginners Guide to Your Company's Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


Creating a unique selling proposition (USP) is critical to a business for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s important because it communicates to people whether or not you have the products or services that can help them. A confused consumer is not likely to stick around. Instead, he will find another business that has a well-defined USP that clearly explains the benefits of its products and the problem it can solve. However, there’s also another, equally important reason a business needs a USP to thrive.

The Importance of a USP in Marketing

Aside from the need to communicate effectively with consumers, a USP will also go a long way in helping you with your marketing strategy. In fact, your USP should be at the centre of your marketing strategy because it helps define your goals, your company, and what it stand for. The USP should be used as a litmus test to confirm that the ads and content that you’re producing are on par with the brand you’re trying to build. We will look at ways to define your USP because it can be tricky, but first, let’s define the term itself.

What is a USP?

What makes your business better than the rest? What does it stand for? What is your reason for “being” ? Those are the questions answered by your unique selling proposition. Your USP should not be general, but specific. Don’t make the error of trying to show that your business is great at (or stands for) everything. All companies want to be known for the “best quality AND the lowest prices”, but when you try to stand for everything, you won’t be remembered for anything. So, focus on finding the thing that makes your business special to people.

How Do You Identify Your USP?

A USP should address some specific demand or need. It can be based on your price structure, promotional strategy, placement strategy, or product characteristics (the ‘4 P’s’ of marketing). The following questions can help you identify your USP:

  • What does your target audience ‘look like’? Who are your customers?

  • What does your customer want and need? How can you solve their problem?

  • What motivates their buying decisions and consumer behaviours?

  • What are the real reasons your customers choose your products or services?

You won’t please everyone. Identifying your target audience before your unique selling point is important because those are the people you want to reach. So, it makes sense that not everyone will be drawn to your USP because not everyone is in your target audience.

Points to Consider

When crafting your unique selling proposition, consider the ‘personality’ you’d like your business to project. If you sell software to CEOs, your USP will likely have a more serious tone than if you sell surfboards to twenty-something’s.

Also, keep the USP fairly short. Consumers don’t need a confusing, long-winded tome. In fact, it shouldn’t even be as long as a paragraph. The more concise, the better, so keep it to just one or two sentences.

Finally, when defining your USP, don’t use it as a way to compete with your competitors. Instead, change the game. Find something truly unique about your business that no one else in your industry is focusing on with their USP. That way, you stand out from the crowd, and get to choose whom you compete with.

Your unique selling proposition may seem elusive, and it may take some time before you define it. However, it is worth the effort. Not only does a USP let consumers know what your business stands for and what your products or services can do for them, but it is also instrumental to any effective marketing strategy.

Article by Leanne Mordue