It's common for marketing articles to refer to the USP without providing an explanation, as if everyone, whether involved in marketing or not, should understand what it means. USP is a simple, but very powerful marketing concept. In this article you learn what USP means, its history, and see some examples of how it's used.
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What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

It's common for marketing articles to refer to the USP without providing an explanation, as if everyone, whether involved in marketing or not, should understand what it means. USP is a simple, but very powerful marketing concept. In this article you'll learn what USP means, its history, and see some examples of how it's used.

In the 1940s, advertisers began to wonder why some marketing campaigns caused massive increases in sales, while others had no effect on sales at all. The marketing firm Ted Bates and Company carried out extensive market research to determine what successful advertising campaigns had in common.

They found that successful advertisers described a specific benefit that the customer would receive by buying their product, a benefit that the competition did not offer. Rosser Reeves, an employee of Ted Bates and Company, invented the term "unique selling proposition" (USP) to describe this marketing concept.

The unique feature or benefit must be something that is important to the consumer. It must be communicated in a memorable message that is easily understood. That message is the USP. It's the USP that differentiates a product from the competition and has a strong pull on the consumer.

A USP must have the following characteristics:

1. The USP must be a unique feature or benefit of the product or service that the competition does not offer. If it's a unique feature or benefit that the competition CAN NOT offer, even better.

2. The USP must be something that is important to the purpose of the product or service and that is important to the consumer.

3. The USP must be communicated in a message that is memorable and easy to understand.

Below are some USP's used successfully in the past:

Anacin: "Relieves your headache fast fast fast."

Domino's Pizza: "Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free."

FedEx: "When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight."

USP is a simple, but very powerful marketing concept. In this article you learned that a USP is a unique feature or benefit of a product or service that is important to the consumer and is communicated with a memorable and easy to understand message.


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