10 Minute Guide
Membership ServicesMoor Hall, CookhamMaidenheadBerkshire, SL6 9QH, UKTelephone: 01628 427500 www.cim.co.uk/marketingresources
The Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2009.
All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce or extract material from this publication must be sought from The Chartered Institute of Marketing.
10 Minute Guide
This item explains how to develop a unique selling proposition for your business or aproduct or service. It explains what a unique selling proposition is and how you practice, then advertising is a good place to use it. It then takes you through a process to identify the features of your product or service, to convert the features into benefits benefits of a particular product or service.
that the customer will recognise and finally to identify which benefits you are going to examples from a recent daily newspaperinclude: What it is
‘USP’ means unique selling proposition. It is one of the basics of effective marketing and business that has stood the test of time. other manufacturers’ cars) but thattheirs have been designed with the product or service. By stating simply and can do all the things that a professional range. Alternatively, you may decide to use a company-related USP, such as high levels “All the features of a professionalcamera without the fuss”.
Why it is important
Every business needs a USP for its
products and services. To stand out in
today’s crowded market place you must be
either BETTER or CHEAPER than your
The process of identifying a USP helps youto focus on the key benefits that help to sellyour products or services and contribute toyour profits. You can also use your USP toprovide a focus for, and therefore improve 10 Minute Guide: How to define your unique selling proposition
A thought: if you find that your customers What you should do
1. Start with the product or service that you most want to succeed, has thegreatest potential or provides the What you need to know
One of the advantages of USPs is that it is you want to identify your most profitable a very easy concept to understand. You just need to concentrate on making it work for 2. List all the main features of the product Before you start to use it, it helps to know: service, delivery, price, and functional or your product or service does, a benefitdescribes what customer need it fulfils.
You may already have this information from Converting features into benefits is very your own experience, from your sales team or from past market research. If not, call a few customers and get their help – mostcustomers are happy to tell you why they of converting features into benefits much easier, is to use the words “which means that…” after stating the feature. Therefore, what the feature “means” to the customeris the benefit that they derive from it. If, at the first attempt, the result of “which means should be verified through market research, that…” is not a specific customer benefit, whether you carry this out yourself or use simply use the words again until it becomes one. Here are some examples for anindustrial machine: The machine is available more hours of the working day The machine produces 10%more widgets than comparable machines The machines requires minimal training for operators 10 Minute Guide: How to define your unique selling proposition
4. Some benefits will be more important to What to do now
communicate it to your target audience. For special to you (D) – these arecandidate unique selling Where to find out more
A good way to learn about identifying andusing your USPs is to watch marketing 6. If all your benefits are rated 'S', then and press articles. See if you can spot what services and those of your competitors.
Consider how your company scoresagainst your competitors on those An example in practice
Look for those benefits where yourrating is high and shows the biggest identified the features of the service (step 2), converted the features into benefits that customers will value (step 3), ranked the benefits in order of importance (step 4) and identified the benefits as being ‘standard’ or your product or service features todeliver new customer benefits thatare not provided by other suppliers.
7. Repeat this process for all other major 10 Minute Guide: How to define your unique selling proposition
Features Customer
(“which means that…”)
Customers know that the health of their eyes will be monitoredfor them at suitable intervals Note the last feature relating to eye test and see clearly how they look from different benefit at the first attempt, so thetechniques were reapplied. On the second This equipment, and the customer benefit it delivers, therefore provides a USP for the optician. This USP can be highlighted inpromotional activity, and hopefully, as this You can see in this example that only one benefit is important to the customer (7/10), feature is unique to this optician, the special photo-equipment which allows thecustomer to see how they look in a smallselection of frames and in doing so helpsthem to make the final choice. This ishelpful because display frames have clearlenses, which means that customers with asight correction and wearing the newframes cannot see themselves clearly in themirror. These special photographs enablethe customer to wear their own spectacles 10 Minute Guide: How to define your unique selling proposition
However, no USP will last forever.
Competing opticians may notice that thisservice is being provided and mayexperience the loss of customers. In thiscase, after some time (perhaps two years)all competing practices will provide thisservice and the service will become astandard offering. The optician thereforeneeds to go through this process once in awhile, particularly after a competitor haslaunched a new service to catch up or tryto get ahead.
Finding out more

Source: http://www.cim.co.uk/files/usp.pdf

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