Competition existed long before strategy. As we trace the evolution of strategy, we find that the founding principle is still in play today: Strategy is about achieving the competitive advantage! If there were no competition, there would be no need for strategy. Gaining a sustainable edge over your competitors, as efficiently as possible, is the #1 priority on any businessperson’s “to-do list.”
Strategy is a deliberate search…a search for a plan of action that will develop a company’s competitive advantage and compound it. The difference between you and your competitors is the basis of your competitive advantage. The objective of your competitive advantage strategy is to enlarge the scope of your advantage, and that happens only at someone else’s expense.
How successful you become at competing in your marketplace depends on how you position your business relative to your competitors. The position your firm occupies against your competitors is–for the most part–your competitive advantage, and hopefully not your disadvantage. A competitive advantage exists when a firm has a product or service that is perceived by its target market customers as better than that of its competitors.
Your Unique Selling Proposition is your biggest marketing weapon and is the key to differentiating your business from your competitors. Delivering value and benefits, that no one else can deliver in the marketplace, is the foundation of your Unique Selling Proposition. Your USP becomes the cornerstone of your sales and marketing message. It is this message that builds and reinforces your brand, attracts new customers, and sustains your competitive edge.
A USP is your statement, your response to the question, “What draws a customer to you, rather than to your competitors?” It’s your USP! When developing your own USP, remember to:
- State a specific benefit of your product/service, not a feature.
- Distinguish your product/service from those of your competitor.
- Propose a solution to a problem or address a customer’s needs and desires.
- Focus on your target audience.
Your USP sums up the unique features and benefits of your products/services along with the value that only you can provide your customer. It is what separates you from your competitors. Your USP must say, “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
Why have a USP?
One of the most significant things you can do for your business is to identify and develop your own Unique Selling Proposition. It is important that you communicate to your customers that it is in their best interest to buy from you! If you don’t tell them this, chances are they won’t buy from you… Below are a number of valid reasons for having a Unique Selling Proposition:
- It gives your customers a reason to buy from you, rather than from competitors.
- It sets you apart favorably from your generic competitors.
- It gives your customers support for their purchasing decisions that are based on valid reasons rather than on emotional reasons.
- It raises your customers’ expectations of you.
- It provides your team with a clear focus.
- It minimizes competition based solely on price.
- It adds lasting value to your business.
To be effective, your Unique Selling Proposition must hit your customer’s sweet spot!
When an established organization adopts a powerful and appealing USP, it gives new life and excitement to your activities. Your Unique Selling Proposition creates a renewed interest and greater appeal from your customer.
The better your Unique Selling Proposition is, the less likely the need to compete on price. . .