If You Can't Communicate Your Difference, You'll Die!

By: J. Craig Mecham

This article will explain why a Unique Selling Position (USP) is critical to your success. Your marketing exists in a confusing and complex world. Think for a minute about how many choices you have as a consumer in just about any product category. Its not unusual to have dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of alternatives when you're shopping for a product or service.

If you don't believe me just search the Internet for common products to buy and look at the search results. You could be faced with alternatives in the millions.

Isn't that how it should be? You're bound to like it if you're the consumer. But those of us who make a living marketing products and services will find it a challenge. What is a marketer to do in order to survive?

If Your Advertising Doesn't Make You Different, You've Missed the Mark. The first thing your advertising must do is show your customer how you're different from everyone else. I was consulting with a small business client the other day and we went to the yellow pages for her product category and saw a perfect example of how advertising should not be done..

There were pages upon pages of ads with one thing in common. They were all alike. You could have substituted one company name for another without changing the ad in the slightest and it still would have made sense to the customer.

My client found this depressing, but I was thrilled! Why? She had a great opportunity to differentiate her business. Whoever differentiates will win the business battle!

Without Clear Differences--Price is the Deciding Factor. What do you think happens when consumers are barraged with choices and do not perceive any difference between one supplier and another? They evaluate and make their purchase decision based on the one thing they can measure--price! When there is no other point of differentiation, price becomes the deciding factor. That's not good for you and it's not even the best for your customer--especially if you're in a business where your value is best realized when you have an on-going relationship with your customer. Customers who come to you for the best price will leave you just as quickly as they find a better price. It's like being the fastest gun in the West. No matter how fast you are, there's always someone faster. Don't play that game. It's better to differentiate.

If you can differentiate yourself, you can charge higher prices. Companies who can communicate their important differences to their customers can justify charging higher prices. The cheapest product or service does not always win the business. Consider this. No one will buy the cheapest product or service every time. Even if you're a world class tightwad, you can differentiate between bruised and fresh produce. You'll pay a higher price for the non-bruised produce. Certainly!

Aren't your customers just the same? Yes. Obviously, you must be charging a reasonable price, but if you have established an important difference in your business, customers will pay extra to receive that benefit.

If you want more sales, better customers and higher profits, just find the important attribute which makes you different from you competitors. Then make certain you're telling your potential customers about it.

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The author, Craig Mecham, is the owner of The Mecham Company The Mecham Company, a marketing consulting firm. With 25 years experience in Business to Business Marketing and promotions, Mr. Mecham advises national and international business.

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