Monday, February 04, 2013

W06.01 How Tom Made $1 Billion From A USP

Don Draper, a character in the wonderful TV series Mad Men, was modelled on Rosser Reeves, an American advertising executive who pioneered television advertising with a concept he summarized as “Unique Selling Proposition” or more simply – USP. His ideas fell out of favour as TV advertising matured and moved towards “creative” brand marketing, something I have written about previously, however his concept survived him into the future.

Today the USP (also known as Unique Sales Point or Distinction) is alive and kicking among direct marketing businesses. For Alexander Technique teachers, it is the heart of your niche business. When you can articulate your USP, and people really get it, you’ve got yourself a business. A USP, one simple sentence, can harness enough market power to draw a billion dollar business around it. A story about that below.

Therefore, before you start writing and communicating about your work – which is the subject of this week’s series – please take time to figure out your USP.

You need to do two things:

Identify all of your competitors
Aside from other Alexander Technique teachers, who else wants your students to spend money with them? It could be: other partitioners (like doctors, masseurs, Feldenkrais, reflexology, acupuncture etc.); other education systems (music schools, special seminars, guru leaders); even entertainment (adventure holidays, residential trainings); health and fitness (gym memberships, hobby clubs and social events), online courses – I don’t know, you have to make your own list. What niche are you in? Who else is there?

Identify what makes you different from all of them
“All of them” are the competitors you just listed above – what makes you unique? For example, if you are an Alexander Technique teacher in the Alexander Technique niche living in London or New York, why would anyone come to you? Make a list. On your list you might write simple answers like: “I am close to where people live/work” or “I am a musician” or “I am an older woman” or “I work with children” or “I am cheap” or “I am expensive” (some people buy wine based on price – the more costly, the better it must be – they may use that strategy to choose a teacher too) or “I worked with these stars” or “I have taught for 25 years” etc. Get the idea?

Once you completed your list, the real fun starts. In my example, you start combining items: “I am a mature female musician inexpensively teaching children for 25 years right near the school your child attends” is on example of pulling factors together to start creating a unique benefit statement about your Service. Of course, this assumes that mother is already “sold” on Alexander Technique for her little prodigy, but of course this is not the case for most Alexander Technique teachers. Therefore, your USP needs to relate back not just to you, but also to your Service Product, the topic of Week 4.

Why does a student choose your Service Product? What have you got to offer that is unique? What makes you different, appealing, or answering a need that no-one else has tapped into yet? You need compelling answers to these questions, and this is not as simple as it sounds…

I have spent untold hours thinking about this. At BodyChance, we are constantly working on our USPs – I can’t say I have nailed them all yet, and I am not stupid. For example, within the music niche there are many sub-niches, and each of these may have their own USP. In school bands for example, the trumpets must be held exactly horizontal: students are yelled at if they drop just an inch off the level. It is incredibly violent, and it is one of several “restrictions” players must endure for years in order to stay in their school band, often feeling severe trauma around their beloved instrument. So we have started trialling “Non-violent music education” as a USP for these students. Four words, but it immediately catches their attention: it is totally different from anything else in the market, and it appeals to a deeper longer they have for recognition, kindness and wholeness. It sounds simple, but it took years to find.

The art of the USP is that it matches your market, it speaks to them directly. To make a good USP, you first must know your niche. Deeply. That is what takes the time – often, as many teachers are learning in my online course, the most obvious is what we fail to see. A USP might suddenly pop up in a comment a student makes in a lesson, or something you hear yourself articulating in an intro. Look out for it, be ready to hear it: ask your unconscious to pay attention and alert you when feel one is near…

For beginners, it is easy to think a USP is equivalent to a slogan or tag line in an advertisement. It is not. One key difference is a USP offers a clear benefit – it immediately telegraphs to a student what they get from your service. A slogan usually does not do that, and if it does – then it is a USP! Walmart’s slogan “Always Low Prices” is actually a USP because it is offering you a clear benefit that may motivate you to buy.

Try asking this question as though you were your student: Why should I choose to have lessons with you versus any and every other option I have? Try it now – do you have a ready reply? If not, start writing down ideas….

How Tom Made A Billion Dollars from a USP
In 1973, Domino's Pizza was a relatively small franchise pizza operation run by Tom Monaghan in Michigan. A lot of customers were university students who didn’t want to go out from their dorms, but were frustrated that it took more than an hour on busy nights to get delivery of their dinner. So he came up with a now famous USP “30 minutes or free delivery” which catapulted his company to become second-largest pizza chain in the United States. He sold it for $1 billion to failed Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital in 1998.

TOMORROW: How To Write Headlines that People Actually Read
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1 comment:

  1. USP(Unique Selling Point) is basically a technique or idea which make your business better/unique as compare to other products or competitors you have in the same market. Different techniques you can use to make your business unique.

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