Being different is fundamental to being profitable, as if you are the same as everyone else in everything you do, then the discriminator becomes price, and being the cheapest is rarely a profitable strategy.
Often this notion is written about as a ‘Unique Selling Proposition”, useful, but in this connected world, you have to be able to demonstrate your value before you have a chance at a sale, therefore it helps to have the value proposition at the forefront of your thinking.
If consumers think value is what you have to offer, they will buy it.
First, a definition.
A UVP is something that clearly differentiates you from your opposition, it creates a point around which your target market can choose you simply because the others do not have what you do, and therefore cannot offer the same value. This does not mean you have to be the “best”, few would argue that a Hyundai is a better car than a Mercedes, but amongst its peers, it offers more electronic “bling” than the others, for the same money. If the bling is what you want, buy a Hyundai.
Second, make your UVP as clear as crystal. There is little point making the investment in identifying and creating the supporting infrastructure of a UVP, and then not clearly telling people what it is. This also acts as a focal point to attract the sorts of customers you specifically want, as they will be attracted by the UVP, others less so, so perhaps they go elsewhere. This creating of a “choice” mechanism is a powerful marketing tool.
Third, how do you identify and develop a UVP?
There are a lot of tools, and tricks, but no substitute for thoughtful, creative and extensive market and customer research and feedback. There is however, a relatively simple series of questions you can ask yourself to uncover the UVP.
- Identify clearly the offers of your major competitors. What they do well, what they do poorly, any guarantees they have in place, what they can do that you cannot, and vice versa, and any other factors relevant to a sale in your category, like geography, parking availability, speed of service, and so on.
- Understand the trends in your industry, in order to try and anticipate where it may be heading. Things such as the impact of technology, regulation, industry imposed standards, and the general levels of quality, service, and delivery that apply.
- Focus on your target market. Every market has characteristics of product, customer, business model, distribution channels and common cost and revenue drivers. Understand as completely as you can what these all are, looking for the typical distribution of characteristics for each parameter of importance. For example, if you are selling men’s suits, the target market is men, identify the typical or average customer, he may be 40 years old, a middle ranking executive, with two kids a wife who works, mortgage and 2 cars. However, that doesn’t not mean that single 25 year olds may not buy, it is just that there are less of them currently, they are less likely to buy, and almost certainly, they do not buy multiple suits.
- Identify your specific ideal customer. The better you can identify the specific person you are targeting the better you will be able to craft a UVP of value to them, and communicate it. To continue the analogy above, 25 year old single men may not need as many suits as their 40 year old counterpart, but the one they want is not for every day wear, so they may be prepared to pay much more for the quality and styling you can offer. It may also be that your target customer is that 25 year olds partner?
When you think that an old head that has done this sort of exercise many times may be able to help, give me a call.