By : Mohsin Durrani

The unique selling proposition (USP) can help entrepreneurs determine if a new business or product is likely to find a market, before they commit funds to development.

The unique selling proposition (USP) or unique selling point is a marketing concept first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern in successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. The USP states that such campaigns made unique propositions to customers that convinced them to switch brands. The term was developed by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company.

First developed in the 1940s as a means of understanding successful marketing campaigns, today a USP can help a company decide if a potential new business, product or service is different from what is already available. If not, the USP helps determine whether there is any reason for a buyer to purchase the new product or to shop at the new business instead of continuing to use established competitors.

It isn’t good enough for business owners to know what sets them and their products or services apart from competitors, however. The USP ultimately becomes a key component of a business’s marketing campaign. “Whatever tool you use, the most important resource is you.

Many USPs are only a few sentences long, that doesn’t mean they should be created quickly. In an infographic on Webs.com, marketing consultant Perry Marshall lays out three essential questions all solid USPs should tackle, with examples of good answers for each:

– Why should I do business with you instead of anyone else?

– “We offer the nation’s most affordable health-care coverage to businesses with 10 employees or fewer.”

– What can your product or service do for me that others can’t?

– Stand Out of from Clutter — Come Outdoor with Us

A USP is not merely a slogan — it is your company’s DNA and reason for being. If you cannot summarize exactly what sets you apart in one or two sentences, you are not unique enough within your marketplace.

Know what motivates your customers’ behavior and buying decisions: You need to know what drives and motivates customers. Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends.

Uncover the real reasons customers buy your product instead of a competitor’s: As your business grows, you’ll be able to ask your best source of information — your customers. You will be surprised how honest people are when you ask how you can improve your service.

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