Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's your USP?

What is a USP, you ask? It’s your Unique Selling Proposition. To separate yourself from the competition, you must be able to clearly identify and articulate your USP.

Knowing your USP will allow you to build an entire marketing plan. If you’re not sure what makes your business or nonprofit organization stand out, ask others, starting with your customers or supporters.

It might help to look at your competition to help you determine what you offer that they don’t or perhaps they do offer it but your product or service stands out from theirs. Then the question becomes “Why?” The reason can’t be just because you’re saying you’re the best. You have to be able to back it up with believable information.

I recall one time when I was presenting a marketing workshop to about 25 nonprofit organizations and one of the participants told me her nonprofit didn’t have any competition because no other group had the same mission. I pointed out that every organization has competition, regardless of that fact.

It may not be obvious at first but I made my point by asking her if her nonprofit had all of the money it needed. The answer was an obvious “No.” Then I asked if her nonprofit did any fundraising and the answer was “Yes.” I responded by saying, “That’s one aspect of your competition. You are competing with every nonprofit organization out there that is trying to raise money for its cause.” She quickly got my point.

Even nonprofit organizations must be able to “sell” their cause. Depending on the geographical area, there is often a plethora of nonprofits and the competition is stiff.

So in determining your USP, look at both the obvious and obscure. Assess your strengths and how you differ from the competition. What makes you stand out?

Once you can identify and clearly communicate your USP in a believable manner, you can then begin to formulate or update your marketing plan. Defining your USP will help let your customers and supporters know why you are worthy of their support and patronage.

Doreen Poreba, APR, is an accredited public relations professional with more than 25 years of experience on both sides of the media fence in both PR and journalism. She is the founder of The PR Czar® Inc., a full service PR agency serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches and now with the Internet — the world!

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