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Unique selling proposition

The term “Unique Selling Proposition”, often also “Unique Selling Point” is used to describe a clearly identifiable unique selling proposition that sets a company, organization or brand apart from its direct competitors. Companies and organisations characterise their Unique Selling Point, for example, through a rich tradition, high demands on the quality of their products or services or through particularly favourable prices.

Unique Selling Point as a sales argument

Although the term Unique Selling Proposition includes the word “selling”, USP does not refer to a sales promise at all. Rather, USP can be understood as a complement or promise to the brand image of what features or benefits the buyer associates with the brand or product. For example, online retailers Aliexpress and Alibaba stand for low prices and cheap goods that can be sourced directly from China. Although they do not stand for high quality, they do promise fast sales processing and a gigantic selection. Thus, an image is basically conveyed via the Unique Selling Proposition, whereby the actual conclusion of the purchase plays a subordinate role. Of course, an appealing image in online marketing ensures a better click-through rate on online advertising (CRT), which consequently also results in more conversions. However, unlike traditional sales pitches, this is all about making a good impression on the customer.

Identifying and strengthening the USP

Various market research tools provide a good basis for identifying Unique Selling Points within an existing brand. By conducting a survey to find out which characteristics customers associate with the company and its products or services, it is possible to find out why certain customers buy or do not buy. The well-known pizza delivery service “Dominos” advertises in the USA with the promise to deliver the order within 30 minutes, otherwise the order is free of charge. A customer who wants to order a pizza during his lunch break will consider this Unique Selling Point as important. However, this does not guarantee that the pizza will taste better than from the family pizzeria, which may take 45 minutes to deliver. So in a survey, Dominos might be rated positively for fast delivery and service, but negatively for taste and quality.

Target group oriented Unique Selling Propositions

A good USP should satisfy the following points:
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  • Uniqueness and memorability
  • It should be different from the USPs of the competition- The USP should be target group oriented and honest.
[/su_list] The target audience is especially important if the Unique Selling Proposition was intended to be long term and an impression has already been gained of what the target audience expects. For example, a food manufacturer that identifies its target audience as the mid-forties academic who pays attention to a healthy diet and lifestyle is more likely to choose “green” Unique Selling Points than the low price criterion. Green and cheap go together in very few cases. The target group identified by the company is willing to pay the corresponding higher price for high-quality products than for products from the discounter.

Rapid market developments and daily events can constantly shift the Unique Selling Propositions. The more similar products are brought to market in response to an innovation, the faster the image must adapt to the offering. Insisting on being“the original” is doomed to failure in many cases.


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