Crafting a USP Statement to Guide Your Marketing Efforts
By : Alexandra L Watson -
In our last post, we discussed the importance of developing marketing buyer personas to better understand the needs and interests of your target audience. Armed with this knowledge the next step in your strategic planning is to craft a USP statement to guide your marketing efforts. The unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement of value. This positioning statement will reframe your product or service messaging in a way that resonates with your audience to communicate what your product or service uniquely offers to them. It’s not the same as a mission statement, which is a loftier description of WHY you’re in business. Instead, a USP is a positioning statement that succinctly explains what problem you solve, for whom you solve it, and how you solve it uniquely well. It turns from your business motives and goals to your audience’s perspective and defines WHAT is in it for them. A USP is critical to gaining traffic and relevance…it’s what will make your business stand out from the competition.
A great USP statement will be brief and full of personality. It should be no more than one sentence, approximately 20-30 words, and should immediately convey why people should buy your product or service. As a value statement, the USP should represent the fullest integration of your organizational values, mission, promises, and goals. Craft this statement for each unique audience segment or marketing persona you create.
Here is a simple one sentence framework that can be used to quickly and easily define your USP (unique selling proposition) statement: “When (audience) wants to (need state), they’ll use (product/service) to (achieve end goal)”.
A local express drycleaner, for example, might position their service as follows: “When busy corporate executives want to clean business attire quickly and easily, they’ll use Express Local Drycleaners to drop off and pick up directly from their office.”
This may not be your marketing slogan or catch phrase, but it should function as an internal reference that guides your customer-facing content and communication. Think of this as the communication anchor-point of your business: it should be used to focus and direct all brand messaging to your intended audience. The rest of your site content should easily flow from and reflect this USP frame of reference.
You can reframe that sentence structure as needed to suit your business, and even put the positioning statement (or a shortened form) directly on your website to clearly communicate your competitive edge. There are many companies that use their USP as a marketing slogan to great effect.
For example, take a look at this USP from the website of cloud accounting services provider, FreshBooks: “Small Business Accounting Software That Makes Billing Painless”.
Image credit: Freshbooks.com
Toms Shoes is also a good example of this. Their website clearly states their USP statement: “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.”
Image credit: Toms.com
Now note, the USP framework itself is pretty dry. It’s functional and communicates value, but it’s not yet full of personality. Depending on your type of business, the audience, and the USP sentence you crafted, that may be fine. The next optional step (should you choose to take it) is to use the USP framework sentence, rework it so it’s less formulaic and jazz it up with the unique personality and values of your business. That will turn the USP statement from an internal reference point to an outward facing marketing slogan or campaign theme.
A well-known example of an effective USP statement craftily turned into a marketing slogan is FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Another is Avis: “We’re number two. We try harder”.
Whether you use the USP framework word for word or turn it into a more cleverly worded marketing slogan, this process of developing a positioning statement will help your business differentiate from the competition and address your audience in a more targeted, relevant way.
For more information and instruction on creating a marketing plan suited to your unique business needs, contact us at Digital Measured for a consultation.