Time to ‘kill’ the USPs!

By Anders Björklund

Time to ‘kill’ the USPs!

You have a meeting with a potential supplier. What do you prefer—that they present their USPs or talk about your unique buying reasons? Does your company still use company-centric USPs?

If your company still use company-centric USPs it is high time to bring in the outside perspective and start using UBRs!

For a long time companies have been talking about featured based USPs, and that the ‘unique’ part is crucial for succeeding with marketing and sales. However, this very old concept and way of thinking (with so called unique selling propositions) are rooted in the mass-communication advertising world of ‘one size fits all’ advertising. In today’s digital, and highly personalised communication paradigm it is totally out of date. 

The idea with USPs was that you should make sure that you differentiate yourself from the myriad of brands you are competing with. Theoretically, if you have a really good USP, you can stand apart from all the same old things that everyone else is selling. The main problem with that line of thinking is that all USPs are created with the same inside-out mindset. Namely, how the product stands apart from the competition rather than what it does for the buyer.

I think it’s much better to focus on the buyer with unique buying reasons as the foundation of your approach. Your UBRs is what will get your customers interested in doing business with you and your company, and also prove that you know how it is to be them.

What is a Unique Buying Reason? 

A UBR is a mature cousin to the USP.  The main difference is that a UBR is created from the outside and built on how it is to be them. So, all about the buyer and what the buyer will gain from doing business with you. The buyer cares about what is in it for them and if what you provide will enable them to reach effectiveness, simplicity or just achieving their targets.

My advice on how to get started 

  • Start with your existing USPs. Sit down with a colleague and choose the USPs of one offering or product.
  • Decide who is meant to become interested in these USPs, i.e. who is the intended buyer? Discuss how it is to be that individual.
  • Reformulate the USP’s to that individual’s UBRs.
  • Test the re-formulated UBRs on your .com and in presentations both to internal stakeholders and to external prospects and customers.
  • Use feedback to tweak your UBRs if necessary.
  • Repeat the process for all your USPs and change them into UBRs.

Good luck!

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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