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What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

  • Posted by Ken Ellsworth
  • July 6, 2012 3:50:09 PM MDT
The most important thing in marketing is the concept called a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Some marketers call it an SOB or Statement of Benefit. I sometimes call it an Irresistible Proposition.

The most important thing in marketing is the concept called a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).  Some marketers call it an SOB or Statement of Benefit.  I sometimes call it an Irresistible Proposition.

This USP is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do.

Without this all the tactics in the world are just a waste of money.  With it all those tactics work phenomenally well; they produce results.

A USP is something that defines you or defines your company in such a way that people instantly know who you are and makes them want to do business with you. 

What is a good example of this?  Think for a moment…………..  Have you thought of any? 

Let me give you an example of one.  Dominoes Pizza.

When Dominoes Pizza first came out, were there any other pizza places around? 

Of course there were lots of them.  Actually if I open up the phone book there are two major sections of food; restaurants and pizza.  Pizza is the ONLY food category that has its own entire section in the yellow pages.  I can’t open up the yellow pages and look for fast food places because they are actually listed under restaurants.  I can’t open the phonebook and look for Mexican restaurants; it doesn’t have its own section.  The only food restaurant with its own section is Pizza.  Why is this?  Because there are so many of them!  There is a Pizza place on every corner. 

When Dominoes first came out they were a little hole in the wall pizza place in a college town.  They grew from that little hole in the wall pizza place in a college town to the largest pizza chain in the United States.  How did they do that? 


That was their Unique Selling Proposition.  Hot fresh pizza delivered in thirty minutes or it’s free.  Now think about this.  Did they have the best pizza in the United States?  Many people would say no that they don’t.  Was it the cheapest pizza you could possible buy?  Again, the answer is no.

Okay. So it is not the best and it is not the cheapest.  Then how did they go from being a hole in the wall pizza place to the number one chain in the United States?  Because of their Unique Selling Proposition.

Name for me on another Pizza Restaurants Unique Selling Proposition.  If you are like most realtors you can’t come up with another one.  The closest anyone has found was Papa Murphy’s take it home and cook it pizza.  Yet, even this advertisement does not articulate itself in a statement so the client knows what it is.  They have a unique market niche, take it home and bake it, which that unique niche has in and of itself has enabled them to grow tremendously.  But when I say Dominoes Pizza you automatically know what their unique selling proposition was.  And the amazing thing is they have not used this in years.  They stopped using that specific USP in the early 90’s!

That Unique Selling Proposition “Hot Fresh Pizza Delivered to your Door in 30 Minutes or its Free” took them to number one.

Let’s think about another Unique Selling Proposition.  I will give you a minute.  I will even give you a hint.  It invented an entire industry that did not even exist before they came along.    

Have you figured out what it is yet?

“When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight”

FedEx.  Before they came along with that USP did that industry even exist?  No, and they took that USP and built a multi billion dollar industry with it.

Now does it have a specific statement of benefit to it?  Yes it does.  “When it absolutely positively has to be there tomorrow”.  That is a specific statement of benefit. 

When I think about Dominoes isn’t that a specific statement of benefit?  You are going to get your pizza in 30 minutes or we are going to give it to you free.    That is a statement of benefits.  It is a win-win. 

I know from personal experience that if FedEx does not get it there over night they don’t charge you for it either.  Once or twice over the last 20 years FedEx has not gotten the package there before 10:00 am and the package was free.

In the last few years another company has used their USP to dominate over their competitors. In fact it is one of my favorite examples. The company and USP? Five hour energy. Their name says it all. Their name is the statement of benefit. Drink this and your will get energy for 5 hours. They do explain more like “no sugar added” but basically their name/statement of benefit has allowed them to capture more of the market. As of June 2009, there were approximately 250 energy shot brands in the US5-Hour Energy owned 90% of the market share in 2011. By 2011, energy shots became so popular that 5-Hour Energy sold $1 billion of their product at retail. They only started business in 2003 and now they own 90% of the market and sell a billion dollars worth, that is the power of a good USP or Statement of Benefit.

Now let me ask you a question.  What is YOUR Unique Selling Proposition?  If you can’t think of one don’t feel alone.  When I’ve asked this very question to agents they come back with some very interesting answers, such as:

- I am a very nice guy.

- My name is Bob.

- I am cute.

- I know the area.

- I am honest.

- I have yet to have an Agent that was able to tell me what their USP was.

This is a mistake that almost all agents are making.  They do not have a USP.  They don’t know what makes them any different from the thousands of other agents in their area. 

And here is the problem.  I am the consumer.  I know that there is a gazillion Real Estate Agents out there. So here I come as Joe the consumer.  I look around and say gee there are hundreds of agents here in my city, who am I going to choose?

Do you have a USP?