Refining Your Unique Selling Proposition
It’s no secret that your customers and prospective customers are overwhelmed with options and sources to order branded merchandise and promotional products from — whether it is from an online merchant with little guidance or a distributor similar to yourself. In a sea full of businesses that offer the same products, have you considered where you stack up against your competitors?
It is no longer enough to define your business as simply a seller of promotional products that build brand awareness. Your audience needs to quickly know how you and your business will solve their problem differently than your competition. Over are the days of your customers searching endlessly through thousands of products online and wondering if they are making the right choice. Remember you save them a lot of time and headaches with the solutions you provide for them.
With the changing landscape of how people are doing business, now is the time to take a deep dive into refining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Keep in mind, your USP is not something physical or tangible like a product, instead focus on making it thematic and emotional.
Defining Your Business
Doing an analysis of your business will provide you with a tool to help you take a big-picture look at the internal and external factors that directly impact your business. Ultimately, you’ll be able to better visualize how you stack up against your competition. Here are the four main questions you should be asking yourself in order to better define your business:
Why Are We In Business?
Really think about this one. Saying that you are in the business because it’s fun and you like to sell promotional products is not good enough — take some time to reflect why you started your business in the first place. When answering this, consider the following:
- Whether your business has a unique backstory or mission statement.
- The areas where your business regularly excels (eg, customer support, unique campaign creation, company stores, etc.)
- The aspects of your business that your current clients rave about (e.g., your personal attention to their brand and goals).
- Your business goals and how your brand is aligned with your current mission and business direction.
What Are Our Unique Qualities?
In other words, how are you making your business stand out from the competition? This can come from multiple areas within your company. When answering this question, consider asking yourself:
- What strengths or unique skills do I or my employees possess?
- Do I offer my customers a product or service that can’t easily be obtained elsewhere?
- Am I serving a niche market that is currently underrepresented by my competitors?
- Do I authentically align myself with any popular causes?
Who Is Our Target Audience?
This one is important because it drives your marketing and communication efforts. Knowing exactly who your target market is, what they need, and how you can best reach them allows you to better focus your efforts on the customers YOU want to do business with. In this instance, take into account the 80/20 rule where oftentimes in business 80 percent of your sales comes from 20 percent of your customers. Who are those customers? What are the commonalities between them? These should be people you look to target. Also consider those customers that you prefer to avoid (e.g., the ones that haggle over price or take your ideas and go to a competitor).
What Keywords Do We Use In Our Current Messaging?
For this question, take a look at your current branding and taglines. Scan your website, scan your marketing materials and write down all of the words that pop up on a regular basis. Does your tagline state a fact that is already being stated by the majority of your competition? Are you accurately communicating what makes your business different? You may know what makes your business special, but if it’s not being communicated to customers it’s not helping you.
Taking the time to get reintroduced to your business and your brand can make moving ahead easier and the path forward clearer. Refining your unique selling proposition and defining your business are important steps to take as you’re developing your messaging and strategy.
For more information in forming a marketing plan for your business. Download the full AIA Marketing 101 ebook.