To market effectively, we need to consider what it is about what we offer that our customers find irresistible. Let me give you an example.
Every neighborhood grocery store has an entire row dedicated to breakfast cereal. Are we really that excited about cereal that we need to dedicate that much space to it? Probably not but, because there are so many, each of those boxes has to make a distinct impression on intended buyers if it is to earn its place on the shelf.
The entire selection appeals to very different audiences: young children, health-conscious adults, busy people who need a fast and easy start and those with specific dietary concerns such as diabetes or gluten sensitivities. You could easily get overwhelmed just looking at all the different choices. To make it even worse, each major brand offers nearly identical offerings. Which is better? Why? Which one has the best price? Which size makes the most sense for me? The truth is, most of us have our minds made up before we get there. We have established likes and dislikes for shapes, flavors, ingredients and specific brands as a result of effective marketing practices.
What Makes Your Business Different?
Beyond breakfast cereal, we have a multitude of choices to make every day. What specific qualities motivate us to choose one selection over another? Here are a few of the most common differentiating factors:
- Marketing messages
- Ingredients or materials
- Package design
- Brand loyalty
These are the factors consumers consider when comparing similar offerings. In order to be successful as businesspeople, we need to identify and communicate which benefits our products or services provide make them preferable over the competition.
Identifying Your Brand Value
Are you are unsure of why your customers consider your product or service to be superior? Ask! If you are hesitant to ask for favorable commentary from your clients directly, you can hire a third party to market research for you. You can use a simple survey to gain an understanding of how your customers and perspective customers feel about your offerings. It is important to discover both the emotional and practical aspects so that you can focus on these advantages in your marketing messages.
If you have a brand new service, you may have testimonials about your previous work that reveal your individual strengths and unique capabilities. If you are launching a new product, you can run focus groups, where you speak with small groups of people who represent your intended buyer, and get their direct feedback on the product, its features and benefits. Also, for both products and services, you can search for comments about similar items to identify which qualities are discussed most often and which reasons they name for selecting or rejecting a particular choice.
Your Unique Selling Proposition
Just like we remember soft hands from Palmolive commercials, catchy McDonalds’ jingles, and bold assurances from insurance companies, we need to create a persuasive hypothesis for our target market so that they can remember and choose our offerings over others.
This concept is known as the unique selling proposition (USP). Don’t leave home without it.