How to Differentiate Your Business in Your Market – 1: Unique Selling Propositions

What messages and tactics will persuade your prospects that your printing business is their obvious best choice?

Everything you do in marketing is built on first defining why your customers should choose to do business with you, rather than any of the other choices available to them.

Figuring that out usually starts with these ideas:

  • USP: Unique Selling Proposition,
  • DSP: Definitive Sales Proposition,
  • POD: Point of Difference,
  • UPB: Unique Perceived Benefit

There is a lot of information available about what these terms mean, but not much real help figuring out how to make these ideas work for a printing business.

The classic USP approach is to have one pithy statement that all promotion hinges on for each product or service – like Domino’s Pizza with the classic “Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” proposition. I think that works well for a category or product where all the customers have essentially the same desire, motivation and measure of success.

In printing, you are offering a workflow with a very variable end product, with many possible reasons why and gauges of success.

If you can settle on a single unique outcome that is valuable to a lot of customers then you’re in a great position. More likely you will have several things that together make you different from the alternatives your customers could use.

Remember that your prospects’ perceptions work just as well here as measurable evidence – it can work very well to be perceived as unique even if you are not truly that different.

I have settled on my own term – “definitive positioning statements” – as a way to roll up all those ideas into a bundle of messages that go into your marketing toolbox. They become the foundation of everything you say in your marketing and sales conversations.

Creating a good list of reasons starts with identifying what you do differently from the alternatives, other buying choices your customer could make, or doing nothing.

That requires knowing exactly what you offer and can do for your customers, what you don’t want to do, what is in your sweet spot and what is out of it, so you know what kinds of work and customers you want more of, and which are a waste of time or a money loser, so you can avoid them.

It requires knowing exactly what your competitors do and do well, and what they are lousy at. The printer up the street, the small shop across town, the big shop in the industrial park,
the big box office stores, the internet printers. What do they all do, what do they not do?

Then view all of those things through the lens of what is important to your customers.

What do they get out of buying the services you offer, what do they wish was better or easier, what bothers them, what would they pay to avoid going through? What could you do for them that you don’t already?

Next: Differentiators we already identified for you, and how to use them.

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