Business Mentoring Tip #62 – What’s your unique point of difference?

May 17, 2012Post by Laura Humphreys

In the advertising industry when we developed a strategy or advertising plan for our clients, we would start by understanding the client’s ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ or their USP.  This is jargon speak for working out what the clear point of difference the product or service had within its industry.  How is what you have to offer different from what everyone else is offering?  This is a crucial aspect to marketing and will make any marketing campaigns you run that much more effective.  It can also keep you away from the need to discount your offering.  I’m going to share a secret with you now:

People are happy to pay more for something they perceive as better. 

If you understand your market, you’ve worked out your niche and you have something clearly special about the way you are doing things… price will not be the barrier that prevents someone buying from you.

Real or perceived difference?

How different do you really need to be for people to prefer your product over everything else in the market? If you are launching something completely new and exciting to the market you have a real point of difference.  Make sure you spell this out in your marketing communications, use your point of difference to drive your messages.

But what if you are offering something very similar to your competition?  How do you differentiate yourself?  The answer is by creating a perceived point of difference.  Add something to your process or brand that gives you a distinct difference.

I did this with my advertising agency, Red Rocks.  I found out three things that frustrated clients about big advertising agencies…the perceived arrogance; the feeling of being sold ‘the one big idea’ without consultation; and the feeling that advertising were more interested in winning creative awards than they were about selling products.  I then positioned my agency to address these problems for potential clients.  When we pitched for new business we told clients boldly that we were not like other agencies.  That we were friendly, easy to approach and never arrogant; we involved our clients in the creative process, consulted them and always presented three ideas so they never felt sold to; and we only entered ‘effectiveness awards’ not creative awards.  These three things underpinned our culture.  Everybody in the company knew how important these things were and we became known as an agency that clients loved to work with. Our service was better, our attitude was better and our work got results… we sold product with our ideas.  Why wouldn’t someone want to work with us?

So what is your unique point of difference?  Do you have something clearly very different about your product or service?  Or can you create a point of difference based on perception?

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.