Whilst few businesses have a truly unique feature, it is important that you establish a unique selling point; whether it be a feature, a person, your price point or your brand. Your unique selling point will provide your business with an identity and a point of differentiation. It will play a key role in the relationships you build with your consumers and influence their need or demand for your business. Ultimately, it will be your USP that creates your competitor advantage and should lead to you having a significant market share or ownership. It is less important what your unique selling point is and more important that you have one.
Key areas for Thought
• Does your product solve a problem that no other product can solve?
For many businesses, the answer here is likely to be no. There are few truly unique businesses which are able to solve a problem that can’t be solved elsewhere. However, your business may be the only option for people in a specific area, in a specific profession or with a specific budget in mind. You may be able to solve their problem more quickly or more efficiently than anyone else in the market
• What features does your product have that no one else has?
Again, for many businesses this is likely to be none. However, for service based businesses in particular, this feature may be a person and their specific skill set, your businesses network or a portfolio of clients and case studies which create a unique position in the market for you.
• What feelings does your product provoke that no other product does?
This, for many businesses, is where they will have the opportunity to create a unique selling point and establish their market position. The feelings your product or service evoke will be based primarily on your customer service, your user experience or your branding and marketing activity.
Of the statements below, indicate which is most relevant to your business:
1. Our unique selling point is a feature – our product or service does something that no other
product or service can do.
2. Our unique selling point is a person - our product or service is based on an individual with a unique set of skills, profile, experience or network.
3. Our unique selling point is our brand – our product isn’t unique but our brand is and ensures we maintain market share.
4. Our unique selling point is our price point – our product or service isn’t unique and doesn’t provide anything that can’t be found elsewhere. However, we are competitive in terms of cost providing a unique selling point for our business.
This section will help you understand your own businesses theory of launch. It may be for your entire business or for a particular product or service that you are about to take to market. It is important that you read the section which is relevant to your ‘Gathering’ response. They will give you a clear understanding of how to create a strategy and thorough plan for the launch of your platform, product or service.
Unique Selling Points
1. If your unique selling point is a feature offered by your new product or service, it is important that you are aware that your consumers will have no previous experience of this feature and as such will need educating on the feature itself and the value it will bring to them. It is important, particularly at the early stages of your launch, that you keep your messaging incredibly simple and ensure the value your feature offers is incredibly clear. It is likely that your business will benefit most from PR and word of mouth marketing in which key influencers and respected peers will be able to showcase your unique feature and convey its value to their networks. It is important for your business that the benefits of this feature is intrinsically tied to your business identity and you should consider a fast launch to ensure you gain mass market saturation and significant consumer loyalty at speed in order to create barriers to entry for competitors who may be able to easily replicate this feature and become a significant risk for you.
2. If your unique selling point is a person, your biggest concern as a business is likely to be your ability to scale. If your consumers demand the time, engagement or expertise of one individual, your business will realistically only ever be able to expand at a speed at which that individual can manage and is likely to be limited in terms of growth. However, in relatively rare cases, businesses have successfully been built on the profile of one individual. They will typically have some form of intellectual property, process or content which can‟t be replicated by others and is based on the individuals specific skills and experiences. If this is the case, it is important that this individual is at the core of your business and brand. They should lead, where possible, all marketing activity and consumer engagement. It is important that you use their profile to attract key influencers, partners and ultimately your consumers. You may find that your business should be named after this person – in this circumstance, it is unlikely that your business will ever be a target for acquisition but instead a lifestyle business for the key individual involved.
3. If your unique selling point is your brand it is absolutely essential that you completely understand the relationship between your products or services user benefits and the demands and needs of your consumers. You will need to create a powerful and emotive connection between the benefits of your business and your consumers and remain entirely focused that in the initial stages of launch, your brand will have no equity so you must allow the advantages and benefits of your product or service to be creatively conveyed in your marketing activity. Also, your brand is not only exclusively limited to your marketing activity but should influence every aspect of your business, from the way in which you answer the phone to the atmosphere in your office. Having a brand as your unique selling point will demand a huge effort in keeping this brand consistent, not only in the public domain but also within your business. Customer service, post sales care and social engagement will be of huge priority as damage to your brand will be one of the highest risks in your business.
4. If your unique selling point is cost, you need to be prepared for a price war with your competitors. It is important for you to understand your lowest possible price point and
recognise that unless this is hugely competitive in the market, you are likely to gain some direct competition relatively quickly. Traditionally, products or services that take the lowest possible price point in the market need to ensure they reach market saturation in order to create a significant return on investment for their business. Brand messaging is therefore traditionally incredible clear and concise, driving consumers to your product or service based simply on the cost. It is likely that you will create a fast, far reaching marketing campaign in order to gain significant market share and your product or service should appeal to the masses. Multiple channels are likely to be used and more traditional forms of advertising tend to be more appropriate than intricate consumer engagement given the clarity of the message and its mass appeal.
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