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What is your USP?

January 07, 2009
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As a long time student of marketing, I often catch myself listening to and analyzing radio commercials while I travel. I noticed one commercial recently that advertised a local moving company.

The owner of the company did the radio spot himself. He boasted that his company would pay special attention to your belongings while they packed them up (unlike other companies who I suppose are more careless). He reinforced his guarantee by giving out his personal cell phone number to the listening audience as proof that he meant what he said.

Initially this sounds like a great strategy on his part. He’s eased the mind of his prospects. If there’s a problem, they can go straight to the top right away. But is this really a good marketing strategy?

Long term, I believe this is a bad move. Not only is this business owner creating potential headaches from people who complain about everything under the sun, but he’s also taken away any perception of pre-eminence.

The importance of pre-eminence

The key to pre-eminence is to believe your business provides the best service on the market, with no reservations. You must have a USP (unique selling position); something that separates you from the rest.

Offering your personal number is not a good USP. It violates a marketing principle called “scarcity.” Dr. Robert Cialdini discusses it in his classic book “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion.” Simply put, the less something (or someone) is available, the greater the perceived value.

Eliminating any barriers between you and the public, while sounding like a competitive edge, is actually working to lower the perceived value of your service. People want what they cannot have. This is a principle that will never change. This is even truer when your target market is the affluent segment.

Think of your detailing business. What do you use as your USP? In order to get people’s attention these days you really have to offer something of tremendous value; you have to go above and beyond all expectations, so that people will talk about your company to their friends and relatives. The news spreads like a virus; Hence the name viral marketing.

Your marketing has to offer more than just telling your audience that you’ll do better than your competition. Show them value through your unique advantage.

If you need ideas on this, one of the best books on the subject is “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. It will change your paradigm on developing a remarkable USP for your business.

Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach Taylor at www.JonathanTaylorBlog.com.

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