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When developing your marketing message, it's helpful to develop a Unique Selling Proposition or USP.

What is a USP?

The USP very clearly answers the question, "Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?"

The USP may be used repetitively in your marketing literature to build the customer's or client's identification of your company with your product or service.

The two major benefits of developing the USP

First, it clearly differentiates your business in the eyes of your current and potential customers or clients. Second, it focuses your team on delivering the promise of the USP, helping to improve your internal performance.

For example, whom do you think of when you hear the phrase, "Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed?" Domino's virtually took over the delivered pizza market with that USP. Notice Domino's didn't even promise the pizza tasted good. Here's another example that almost everyone is familiar with: M&M's: "Melts in your mouth, not in your hand."

Developing your USP

Developing your USP is not difficult, but it does require paying close attention to what your customers are thinking (or your target market if you’re just starting out).

Think about it from your customer’s perspective.

Let's say you opened a tiny patisserie in Philadelphia. You know your pastries are delicious, albeit pricey because you only use the highest quality ingredients. Your friends and family agree, and so do many of your customers. But what is it that really keeps your customers coming back? Is it the ambience of your shop, the friendly service, or even the location tucked away in a tree-lined alley? The point is to build your USP around the features that best market your product.

Figure out what motivates your customers to buy your product or service.

To figure out--and understand--what motivates your customers to buy your product you'll need to go beyond basic demographics such as age, gender, and income. You'll need to employ psychology. People may be visiting your patisserie because it has an international flavor, because it makes them feel like trendsetters, or even because they’ve always wanted to visit France. Whatever the reason, make sure you incorporate it into your USP.

Ask your customers why they buy your product or service over a competitor's.

Once you have an established customer base, simply ask them why they visit your shop and buy your pastries instead of another bakery. You might be surprised at what you hear.

Once you have this information from your customers you can develop your USP.

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