Creating an engaging market proposition

Creating an engaging and relevant market proposition is a crucial step in the process of developing a direct marketing campaign. It is essential that you fully understand the uniqueness of your businesses offer and can express its value in a way that the customer understands.

Ask yourself why should the customer choose you?

Defining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) from the outset can help you to refine your sales messages and effectively communicate the core essence of your competitive advantage.

Identifying your USP

Look for all aspects of your product or service offer that makes your business unique or different. Determine what is special about your offer and how it will benefit your customer.

The business landscape

Increasing your knowledge of the marketplace in which you operate as well as your key competitors is good business practice. Yet how many small businesses really invest enough time into understanding their comparative market position? A potential outcome for low market awareness can be the development of “me too” products. An undifferentiated product may need to compete on price, reducing margins and profit.

Six simple steps to developing your USP

1) Review your business processes and key product and service attributes

Remember that you need to view your business offer from the customer’s point of view. What are the benefits they will receive from your offer? What is in it for them – why should they care? Compare the key benefits of your product or service with that of your competitors.

2) Review competitor businesses

Start reviewing your competitors and other comparable businesses via the internet and any other promotional material you can access.

A) How do the companies position themselves and how do they communicate their key benefits?
B) What is their tone of voice and writing style?
C) What products and services are offered and what do they specialise in?

The insights that you gain from this process will help you to determine where you fit amongst your competitors and what you need to say about your business in order to communicate your unique offering.

3) Outline your competitive advantages

Using your competitor review and comparative benefits, create a list of key features that your business or product offers which:

A) Deliver unique customer benefits
B) Establish you as a preferential supplier
This list of benefits will form the foundation of your USP statement.

4) Develop a draft USP statement

When creating your USP statement you need to define the benefit statement in terms of the customer. Remember it is about your customer not your business – Use “you” and not “I” or “we”.

An ideal length for your USP is about 30 to 40 words or less as this will allow you to use it in online business directories and supplier lists where space is at a premium. You may also develop additional versions with various lengths to suit different applications yet still retain the core message.

If you find that your offer is not unique or is at risk of being duplicated you may wish to put some more thought into creating new benefits and how you can make your offer different or superior.

5) Review and refine your USP

Compare your new USP against other competitor’s statements to see how it stacks up.
Seek feedback on your draft USP from staff, customers and advisors. Ask them if this statement represents what your business offers its customers and does it effectively communicate all the key customer benefits.

6) Finalise your USP and positioning

Refine your USP statement until you are happy that it communicates the essence of your business in the eyes of the customer. When you have finished give yourself a huge pat on the back as you have achieved what many businesses struggle to do.

As a result of this process you will have:
1. Greater awareness of your marketplace
2. More knowledge of who your competitors are
3. Greater understanding of:
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- What makes your business different
- Your key marketing and sales messages
4. Greater consistency in your marketing and sales communications

With your USP top of mind, you will now have a much better idea of what to communicate in sales messages and promotional offers. In the future your emails, direct mail and other direct marketing activities should be consistent with your core USP.