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Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to copy-cat what their competitors are doing.  A lot of marketing money is wasted trying to match up.  It’s not about matching competitors, it’s about defining your difference – your uniqueness through your USP (Unique Selling Point).

It may take some soul searching, but if you can take the time to truly define your USP, you will stand out from the crowd and become a lot richer for it (LITERALLY!)

But where to start?

Your USP needs to clearly articulate the benefits of your product and services to your consumers.  It needs to offer them something that a competitor’s product can’t or doesn’t already offer them.  And it needs to be compelling enough so they stay….

Keep your friends close but your enemies closer

A good starting point therefore, is to list the benefits or features of your product or service and then undertake a comparison with your competitor’s offerings.  Highlight those benefits your product or service offers, but your competitors do not, or cannot offer.  It will begin to become obvious where your products are similar, and where they differentiate from each other.

Market-ing Perfomance

Next, take some time to look at your competitor’s advertising and marketing material – be it websites, brochures, TV ads, magazine ads etc.  Understand where they are positioning themselves in the market – what benefits are they pushing, what angle are they taking with their marketing campaigns.  What do they believe they are best at?  Obviously no point wasting time and money going head to head with them on the same sort of proposition.  You need to ensure your proposition is unique to you.

This process should give you a clear indication of where your Unique Selling Point lies.  Craft your USP into a short, concise statement.  One that can be easily understood by your customers. One that you could easily communicate to them.  And most importantly, one that you and your customers will believe.

Just Ask

The most effective way to find out why your current customers are purchasing your product is simply to ask!  At point of purchase or at a follow up opportunity, ask them key questions. Can you rate our service?   Can you rate our product quality and reliability?   Would you recommend us?  Why/why not……………

The information you glean from this sort of feedback will be invaluable in understanding the real reason that your customers are buying from you rather than your competitors and also importantly, if they are likely to return again and again for future purchases as opposed to switching to a competitors offering.

Once you have your USP sorted – Own it.  Believe it.  Communicate it.  To your customers via your website, advertising campaigns, marketing material.  Ensure all aspects of your business reflect your USP – including service, sales process, even the atmosphere or look of your store (if appropriate).   Stand out from the crowd.  Advertise what makes you special, and encourage customers to switch to you.