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The Death of the UVP

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by Startacus Admin

Chris Phillips is an experienced mentor/coach and super engaging workshop teacher. He is the Founder of Help Start-up, which works with and inspires entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses. Here Chris writes about the death of the UVP...
UVP

The Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
The Unique Selling Proposition/Unique Selling Point (USP)

There are various versions of this all along the same theme.  In a nutshell, they all say that to be successful, you have to be unique.  Customers will buy your USPs.  If you don’t do something unique then forget it.  But actually, no customer in history has ever said “I bought this because of the company’s UVP”, and you can be incredibly successful without doing a damn thing that’s unique. 

Having a UVP/USP is a concept that actually pre-dates the internet, and has been reinforced over the years by various advisors/mentors/coaches justifying their bills.  It’s made people kid themselves to try and find something different that no one else does.  It’s also made businesses end up talking about things that customers have zero interest in hearing.  The thing is though, you don’t need to be unique to be successful.  Even if you are doing something that’s never been done before, that’s absolutely no guarantee of success either.

Some of the most successful businesses I’ve ever worked with and some of the most successful businesses in history weren’t unique.  They weren’t first to market.  They weren’t better funded.  They just happened to do it BETTER than their competitors.  In many cases, they were the BEST.  Which, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably found something you can do better than those competitors already.  

You have to be BETTER.  Stop concentrating on finding something that makes you unique (which probably doesn’t exist anyway) and focus on what makes you better.  There is a catch though.  You have to be better in your customers’ eyes, not yours.  It absolutely doesn’t matter what you think.

UVP

What does it mean to be better in your customers’ eyes?  Well, firstly, it has to be the RIGHT customers.  When asked the question “Who’s your market?” the vast majority of start-ups answer with either “Anyone/Everyone” or “ABC1” (or similar).  Some might say “men, aged 25-45” or something like that.  Not good enough. 

The way you succeed without being unique (and actually even if you are), is to really pinpoint your target customers in a high level of detail.  How old are they? (Not which age range do they fall into, give me a number).  What are they into?  Where do they live?  Where do they shop?  What do they read?  What other brands do they love?  Why?  What are they passionate about?  This isn’t about who can buy from you, it’s about who’s most likely to buy from you early on (early adopters).  Having this level of detail means you can craft an ultra strong, ultra compelling set of reasons why they’ll buy you instead of anyone else.  I bet “because we’re unique” isn’t one of them.  

UVP

Here’s the kicker:  The majority of those reasons should be emotional, not rational.  They’ll be how you make them feel, how you make them look, the convenience you give them, how your brand makes them feel, what the time you save them lets them do, your ethos etc.  Well over 50% of buying decisions are made emotionally, not rationally.  That rises to over 70% if food is involved.  If people buy because of emotions, wouldn’t it make sense to engage with them on an emotional level?  Your app doesn’t save customers time, it lets them see their kids more often.  You won’t help them lose weight or exercise more, you’ll help them feel fitter/healthier and have more energy. Behind the vast majority of buying decisions is an emotion, not a piece of tech, nor a USP. 

So:

  • Don’t worry about being unique, focus on being the BEST at what you do

  • Know your customers inside out, and give them a compelling set of reasons to buy from you

  • Engage with them on a emotional level, and give them emotive reasons to buy - Tell them how they’ll feel when they own your product


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Published on: 18th August 2017

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