Unique Selling Point (USP): In traditional marketing speak, that's what sets you apart from your competition. In some ways, it's very useful. Imagine if you own one of the only two Chinese restaurants in town. You might choose to focus on how yours is, "cleaner." Or has, "better food." That would make perfect sense.
As a concept though, USP does have has some weaknesses. If all the plumbers in Austin had to come up with a completely unique selling point, you'd quickly run out of relevant selling points. The first five would be advertise their
- Quality service
- Low price
- BBB standing
To be truly unique, the rest would have to be advertised as jovial, handsome, tall, nice smelling, and best-from-behind. In most businesses, there are typically only a few USPs that matter - value, quality, etc. You can compete on the same USP as someone else. If a selling point is very important to your customer, you'd better compete on it or you will lose the sale.
However, there are some good things about the USP model.
1) The USP model forces you to prioritize your messaging. Your customers will only tolerate so much information before they're done making their decision. It's a good idea to figure out what the main thing(s) are that people want from you and tell them you have it.
2) The USP model forces you to consider your competitors. There's no sense competing on a metric you'll never win. Pepsi will never be the most wholesomely american cola, so they focus on other things.
You may have only one USP, or you may have many. If you have a low-involvement product, like honey, you probably only get to try to communicate one USP. On the other hand, a high-involvement product like a home for sale would have a litany - location, value, view, neighborhood, size, curb appeal, pretty much everything in MLS.
At Austin Web and Design, we know our USP very well (if you haven't figured it out yet, we provide amazing websites at amazing prices. If you're not sure what sets you apart though - don't worry. Just ask Proctor and Gamble which of their many detergent's USP is that it gets your clothes clean (all of them).