Business is all about competition. It isn’t enough to offer a great product for a fair price if your competitors are offering an even better product for an even lower price. You aren’t going to succeed in business in a vacuum – you have to find success in the marketplace where you are going head to head with other businesses and other products. Only when what you offer is superior to what is offered by others in the market will you be able to carve out a path toward long-term success.
With that in mind, this article is going to take a look at USP Analysis. In this application, USP stands for Unique Selling Propositions, which is a concept that you may already be familiar with through your experience in business. Having a unique selling proposition is considered to be a critical element in business, as this is the thing that causes you to stand out from the competition. If you don’t have a valid USP in place, you will just be another product on the shelf – and you will have a hard time earning business from customers who have a number of options at their disposal.
There are four steps that you should work through with respect to USP analysis. If you can take your products and your business as a whole through these four steps, you should be in a strong position to move forward successfully with your company.
What Do Customers Value?
The first step you need to think about is what it is that customers in this space value when they look to make a purchase. Are your potential customers motivated mainly by price, by quality, or both? In most markets, it is going to be a combination of those two factors, with plenty of other smaller factors considered as well. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer that you are targeting and think about what it is that you would be looking for if you were ready to make a purchase.
It would be a mistake to work through this process alone, as gathering input from those around you is a key part of the analysis. Seek out the opinions of those in the business that you respect and use those thoughts to compile an overall profile of what it is that your customers are looking to buy.
Obviously, you can go directly to the source and ask the customers themselves what it is they value. With a quick survey of existing customers, you should be able to track down the info you need to gain a larger share of the market going forward.
Create a Rankings List
Now that you have a framework established for what it is that you believe your customers are looking for, you can take time to rank yourself and your competition on all of the important points that have been identified. When taking on this task, it is important to be as impartial as possible. In fact, if you could have a few of your employees and various managers handle this task, you should be able to average out the rankings to get something that likely represents the reality of the market.
For example, a couple of the points that have likely made your list are price and quality of materials. Take a look at all of the products within this niche on the market today, and rank them for both price and quality. The results of these rankings will tell you a lot about what you are trying to sell. If you come in near the bottom in terms of material quality, but you are selling for one of the highest prices, you are going to be in trouble. On the other hand, if you offer a quality product for a low price, you just might be able to dominate the market.
Pick Out Your Strengths
From the rankings you have created, spot your strengths and highlight them as your unique selling propositions. Of course, that strong point needs to be something that matters to your end consumer. For instance, if you think you are best at displaying your products in the store – but most of your units are sold online – that ‘advantage’ really isn’t going to do you much good at all. As you try to write out your USP in a succinct manner, make sure that it is something which can be sold to consumers and will truly help you stand out from the crowd.
Defend Your Turf
Once you understand what your USP is and how you can use it to your advantage, the most important thing you can do moving forward is to protect that proposition for your own. Remember, the competition is watching, and they are certain to come after you on the points that you are marketing as your strengths. For example, if you make a marketing push to point out the fact that you have the lowest price in the market, you can expect your competition to start offering lower prices.
If you allow your competition to take over the parts of the market that you had cornered for yourself, you could soon lose the USP that you had worked so hard to establish. Don’t let that happen. You need to constantly innovate in business, or you will risk being left behind. Just because something is unique to your business today doesn’t mean that will be true tomorrow. Continually work on improving your offerings and adjust your USP accordingly to make sure you are always offering something that no one else has for sale.
Using USP Analysis is a great way to understand the current strengths of your business, and it can also help you spot weaknesses when you see what it is that your competition does so well. By carving out a valuable USP for your own, you should be able to maintain your place in the market for the foreseeable future.
- USP stands for unique selling proposition.
- Every product or service that you sell should have its own USP.
- This is the thing that causes you to stand out from the competition.
- USP analysis consists of four steps that you should work through for each product or service that you sell.
- Firstly, do some market research to decide what it is that customers value.
- Secondly, rank yourself and your competition on all of the important points that have been identified.
- Thirdly, from the rankings you have created, spot your strengths and highlight them as your unique selling propositions.
- Finally, No USP lasts forever, so you will need to keep innovating in order to stay ahead of the competition.