For many businesses, competing in a price-driven market only leads in one direction. Downwards. If the ideal is for a business to control the market, it has to have something unique. A unique selling proposition (USP) that customers care about enough to make them buy from it, regardless of price.
“The USP is often talked about,” observes Paul Dodgshon of Uscita Solutions. “In fact, it requires work to define and maintain. This is part of its formidable added value.”
What Makes a USP?
In a marketing context, a unique selling proposition is one of the basics. A way of differentiating a product or service from the competition.
“What a USP brings is differentiation, but it is only valuable when it starts to provide price control,” Paul states. “This can enable a business to appear better than its competitors and avoid a price war. In effect, the USP gives the company leverage to charge the rate it decides for its products or services.”
Clearly this is a very powerful thing. It cannot be simply attributed generic qualities commonly regarded as desirable, such as reliability or efficiency.
Branding, itself, can be a USP. Think of Coca Cola or the iPhone. But if a business does not have a big budget like Apple, how can it gain a valuable USP?
“It is about how a business positions itself, and how it communicates this to its customers,” Paul explains. “A key part of this is how a business understands its target audience and what that audience finds valuable about its offering. Capture and keep that and you start building a unique position your customers will pay your price for. That is competitive advantage.”
Market Control and Something of Value
Businesses often find that their customers are switching to competitors purely on price. A successfully communicated USP can short-circuit this by selling benefits that are not defined by price.
“By focussing on a key aspect, can a business become specialist rather than generalist? How this is accomplished will depend very much on the nature of the business, but it is about finding and exploiting a niche and in doing so, offering something of value”
Paul Dodgshon, Uscita Solutions
“This sounds like hard work and it should be,” Paul remarks. “If it was easy, everybody would do it and your USP would not be protectable.”
Uscita’s research confirms that in the UK market, a business with a defendable USP receives offers that are 60% higher than those for businesses selling on price.
“The good news is that the answer to finding a USP lies within your existing customer base,” Paul concludes, “so ask them.”
Alternatively, for more information, please contact Uscita Solutions on 01605 535020 or visit uscita.co.uk.