How are your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and your UVP(Unique Value Proposition) different?
It depends who you ask.
When you Google for USP vs UVP, you get various answers. Some people say they’re different. Others say they’re the same thing.
My personal favorite is from the website of Jill Konrath, a Sales Strategist.
Her definitions are:
UVP: A clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services.
USP: A statement about what makes you and your company different from others vendors.
Whether you consider them to be the same or to be different, it’s important to note that those concepts relate to other important business and marketing concepts.
Relationship to Product-Market Fit
Marc Andreseen of the Venture Capital firm of Andreseen Horowitz, coined the phrase Product-Market Fit.
He coined this phrase after being in the VC industry for a while. He saw that some of their investment companies were founded and led by incredibly smart people, who shared a common great and grand vision, worked well together, and failed.
On the other hand, other investment companies, led by less smart people, who disagreed on the Who, What, and Why of the companies, and suffered from some level of poor interpersonal relationships, were wildly successful.
After examining many of these successes and failures, Marc Andreseen said that what matters most to the success of a Startup is Product-Market Fit.
This includes two important ideas:
Are you selling something people want to buy? Does your solution solve real problems?
Is the market you’re selling into large enough?
How does this idea of Product-Market Fit relate to your Unique Selling Proposition?
Consider that your USP and your Product-Market Fit are so closely related, that while they’re not necessarily the same thing, you need to get both right and you figure them out together.
To clarify how they might be different, it is possible to sell a fantastic product into a small market if it’s expensive enough. Examples are luxury yachts, mainframe computers, and super large phone systems capable of supporting 80 story office buildings.
Relationship to Positioning
It’s such a broad topic that I’m going to do an entire blog post on the subject where I extract the salient points from the book.
In this post, I will state only the most important concepts.
Positioning is Not About What YOU Think
Positioning is about what others think of your brand. In order to figure out what others think, you need to get into the minds of prospects and customers.
The way to figure out how to position your product is to talk to them.
Your Prospects and Customers Categorize You, So Use It
We all categorize and compare, even when we’re not aware we do. When you meet someone and they say “I’m an accountant” your mind immediately slots them with other accountants you’ve met in the past. We can’t not do this. It’s part of being human.
Use this to your advantage.
If needed (and it sometimes is) create a category for yourself (remember the Uncola?). Then test if the category is something people care about.
Never go Head to Head with a Market Leader
Brands that dominate a market tend to have top of mind awareness. To illustrate the power of being known for something, there is a short quiz below (answers are below):
- Who was the first person to walk on the moon?
- Who was the second?
- Who was the guy who stayed in the lunar orbiter?
- Who was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic
- Who was the second?
- Who was the first woman?
First person to walk on the moon: Neil Armstrong
Second: Buzz Aldrin
Stayed in the lunar orbiter: Michael Collins
First person to fly solo across the Atlantic: Charles Lindbergh
Second: Amelia Earhart
First woman: Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart is a classic example of positioning. Very few people know she was the second person. Almost everyone knows she was the first woman.
Lesson to Learn
If another brand “owns” an existing position, you must either position yourself as different from the category (again, the uncola) or you must create a new category.
Relationship to Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is all about differentiating the value of your brand from others brands, about standing out. Your Brand Strategy and your USP reinforce each other. They’re like two different sides of the same coin.
Relationship to Distribution Strategy
Your Distribution Strategy has to do with HOW you present yourself to WHO you present yourself.
I’ll use a company based here in Austin, TX to illustrate this idea.
Snaplitics makes a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) website builder tool where they’ve stripped the front end off of WordPress and created their own slimmer and more stripped down version of WordPress (in the spirit of non-disclousre, it’s no longer WordPress, but the back end looks like it) with a visual website editor, and packaged it with exceptionally good out of the box analytics.
While they do have a free version, the Snaplitics paid version costs $14 a month, which includes the hosting of the website. If you’re a business that needs a website and you have someone who has the time and expertise to build and manage it, it’s a great value at $14 a month.
On the other hand, if you develop websites for other businesses, you can earn a 35% residual for every website you build using the Snaplitics platform.
So, to a business that needs a website, Snaplitics is an inexpensive easy way to build a professional looking website, but to a web development firm, Snaplitics is a way to easily build and deploy client websites AND create residual income.
They position themselves one way for businesses who need a website, and another way for businesses who develop and provide websites for others.
Relationship to Website Landing Pages and Conversion
The Less-Known You Are, The More Important This Is
And this is a critically important point.
When you’re a well-known company, you can be sloppy with your USP and get away with it (for a while). But when you’re not well known, to have a good chance of breaking through the communications clutter and carving out some space in the consciousness of your prospects, you MUST get this right.
As stated earlier, when you do, the market pulls you along. When you don’t, you struggle to be noticed.