How To Stand Head And Shoulders Above Your Competition

Shea / 17 February / Comments Off on How To Stand Head And Shoulders Above Your Competition / 147

STRATEGY #1: How To Stand Head And Shoulders Above Your Competition

Unique Selling Proposition: How To Stand Head And Shoulders Above Your Competition through differentiation, niche marketing, and positioning. These and other related business buzzwords have no doubt crossed every small business owner’s ears in recent years.

But what do these words really mean to the average entrepreneur? Usually, they mean that a business will attempt to sell a product or service which is somehow different than the competition’s to a certain, specific kind of customer. In theory, this is a great idea. If you could just reach that one segment of the market with your great, new, innovative product…

Welcome to reality. If your company is innovative enough to develop a truly unique product or service that is earning you a profit, the following inevitably happens: competition springs up from nowhere to imitate your product, undersell your price, and steal your market share. It’s immutable.

How To Stand Head And Shoulders Above Your CompetitionSo, as your next line of defense, you choose to position yourself as the quality leader within your field. Or as the low price leader. Or as the service king. You soon find yourself in a battle with four other companies, all claiming to have the largest selection in the state.


A marketing free-for-all usually ensues. Each competitor tries in vain to shout with the loudest voice that his business is superior. Headlines get bigger; radio ads get more obnoxious, advertising agencies get richer. More significantly, customers begin to discount any claim made by any of the companies.  Is niche-marketing the way to go then? Obviously different is better than me-too. Target marketing is more profitable than selling to the masses. The question isn’t whether or not to be different, but rather how to communicate those differences in a way that your customers will believe and embrace them. Your Real Opportunity for Innovation Lies in the Marketing.

Consider an example. The city and local surrounding area I live in has approximately 200,000 people. Even though most companies have abandoned the local yellow pages directory in favor of online marketing, the Yellow Pages still lists a whopping 81 companies that repair air conditioners. Of those, 34 spend from $100 to $1,000 a month for space ads in addition to the regular category listing.  Some of the advertisers claim to be “the” experts. Most tell me in bullet points that they only charge one low rate, even if service is needed after hours or on weekends. Almost all of them tout that they fix all major brands.  None of them, however, gives me a compelling reason why I should call them instead of their competitors. The “unique” claims of each company have become generic, non-appealing, and meaningless to the prospect who is just waiting to be sold.

Surprisingly, very few businesses really make more than a token attempt to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Once a company stakes out a position in the marketplace, the usual strategy is to foolishly proclaim to all potential customers, “Here we are, now give us all the business that you have been giving to our competition for no justifiable, rational reason.”  Fortunately, you can cash in on what your competitors are doing wrong. The most powerful tool you can use to stand head and shoulders above your competition is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP is the singular, unique benefit that your customers can expect to receive when they favor your business instead of your competitor’s – stated in specific, graphically illustrative terms.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about Articulating Your Advantage

What else?  What are some more thoughts on articulating your USP (Identity) (Identity)?

Shea Ellison | Updated: 05/22/2015 | Categories: Strategic Planning