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The Importance of Defining Your USP

Wed, 25 October 2017

A blog post contributed by Innovate UK
When launching a business, it’s imperative you have a clearly defined USP. Not only does this set you apart from the competition but also gives you a consistent grasp of what you stand for as a company. The problem is, finding that one special characteristic which sets you apart from the rest of the market isn’t easy. If you’re struggling to settle on a USP, here’s some essential advice from Innovate UK.

Define Your Audience
“Know your audience – know what they care about, know what matters to them and what makes a difference to their lives – only that way will you understand the problems that are worth solving, where you can make a difference and where you can truly do something new and innovative” – Mark Johnson, Head of Digital Marketing at KTN.
Your audience should be the first place you look when you’re trying to settle on a USP. Think about who your target audience is and why you chose this demographic:
  • Do they buy your product elsewhere?
  • Is there a gap in the market you can fill?
  • Is your business aimed at the mass market or a smaller niche?
  • Are you aimed at businesses or consumers?
  • Where does your target audience live?
  • What media do they consumer?
  • How do they access this media?
If your target market currently purchases your offering from a competitor, ask yourself why they’d choose you instead. There are plenty of different potential reasons you could exploit, from superior service to competitive pricing or even your ethical approach to the business.
Solve a Real Problem
“For many technology based companies, it is critical to avoid focusing on the development of the technical solution before first getting a real in-depth understanding of the problem to be solved. Talk to customers. Reduce their problem statements to simple jargon free language. Test the problem from different stakeholder perspectives and quantify the potential impact” – Darren Ragheb, Head of Business Development at Centre for Process Innovation.
Unless your business is solely concerned with entertaining customers, you should solve a problem. This could be improving the customer’s experience of a certain process or even boosting their quality of life. Your product or service should be something they need or want.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some of the most innovative businesses have needed to educate the market before they can see any form of demand.
Demonstrate Unique Benefits
“What is the real problem? Who is feeling the pain of it enough to pay you to solve it?” – Mike Pitts, Head of Urban Living & Built Environment at Innovate UK.
There’s a chance you’ll be entering a crowded market. If this is the case, you’re going to have to show people why they should try your product.
Customer recommendations are a hugely powerful tool at this stage. Incentivise customers to leave reviews on your website and social media accounts.
If you’re still struggling to see a clear USP, think back to why you started the business. What opportunity did you see? Why would you be successful?
Get Paying Customers As Soon As Possible
“Validation ASAP is essential to see if your business has got traction. Get out there with your product or service and make sure people actually want to buy it” – Stefano Marrone, Managing Director at Nuccobrain.
Getting early adopters on side is essential to the success of your business. These people who initially take to your offering will validate your proposition. This will highly interest investors too, it proves your business works and can generate interest.
There are plenty of ways you can get new customers on side. Offer innovative special offers and advertisements when you launch. Entice people to give your product/service a try this time. Bang the drum loud enough and you will be heard.
If you follow these guidelines, you’re be able to clearly define your USP and use it to maximum effect.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. They work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. 
You can subscribe to the Innovate UK's YouTube channel here, or you can also follow them on Twitter at @innovateuk


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