Makarand Utpat

7 Steps- Do You Know Your Unique Value Proposition?

Last week, I got my haircut in a shop called Sports Clips. I usually don’t have a preference or choice when it comes to getting a haircut. Usually, any shop in the downtown does a good job. The Sports Clips store recently did a grand opening in my town. They sent direct mailings to spread the word around and to get more customers. Coupons included complementary haircut with free MVP experience (they put a towel around your face, shampoo your hair, and give you head and shoulder rub) with few additional $5 savings coupons for subsequent haircuts. It all sounded wonderful 🙂 Why not? So, I decided to give it a shot. Sports Clips Salon specializes in offering unique haircut experience. As they call it, its mission is to create championship experience for Mens and Boys. It comes in the form of offering sports theme ambience, sports shows running on Big Screen TV, stadium style seating etc. Quite an innovate concept! Getting haircut turned out to be wonderful experience for me. From unique value proposition, Sports Clips offers 2 highly specialized services-

  1. They cater to Mens and Boys hair care and
  2. They offer sports themed environment.

In short, they are not a regular hair cut shop and are not afraid to differentiate themselves from the pack. They have identified a market niche by super specializing on a specific subset of customers. Sports Clips has been franchising since 1995 and they are still in business. They are confident about going after this segmentation by offering one-level-notch up experience. The concept has been working for them. Few other examples:

These companies do only 1 or 2 things but they do it exceptionally well. You get the point. The concept sounds simple and easy to grasp. However, I see from time to time that many of my peers, professionals and/ or business owners struggle with identifying what makes them unique, what makes them special. In summary, here are my 7 steps to create and succeed with your own value proposition:

  1. Think about unique skill sets or unique abilities you possess– Regardless of whether you are working for someone or working for yourself, always think about the kind of unique abilities or unique perspectives you bring to the marketplace (or to the stakeholders or to your organization). Take a piece of paper and quickly jot down 15-20 points that you think you are passionate about and good at. These are basically the things you love doing and your strengths.
  2. Identify your niche- Identify your unique angle by studying what is missing in the current solutions or current offers? What you wish should have existed? What would you like to do? How and where can you add more value? You will discover that there is a close correlation between the unique angle and what you are passionate about. Come up with 3-4 ideas for your unique angle and take your pick.
  3. Less is more- Do not try to cater to the needs of the mass market as it will get you nowhere (unless your niche is in mass market business such as Selling Colas, Laundry Detergents or Shampoos). You will stretch yourself too thin and will affect your message. See my blog What Wikipedia can’t tell you about Marketing Trifectafor more details.
  4. Pick and choose crowded market areas- It means that there is already a big pie with more number of customers or target audience that can benefit. Going after an area where there is not much of exposure (in terms of books, podcasts, blogs) is a big warning sign.
  5. Become Expert in your niche- Become an expert in it, and then dominate that niche. It is ok to reject certain market segments and remain focused on select areas. E.g. start writing blogs that you are passionate about, create podcasts, construct video tutorials.
  6. Articulate your target audience’s pain points– The more you know (see my blog: 10 tips to ignite marketing campaigns and win customers), the more you can incorporate the wordings of your marketplace’s pain points, challenges. What are those hooks? This will allow your prospects, leads and customers to relate to you instantly.
  7. Back it up- You can offer customer testimonials as social proof to show that your value proposition has been working. You can also offer things such as money-back guarantee if not satisfied 30-days (& truly stick to it if not able to fulfill your promise). This will help you remain transparent to the marketplace.

Everyone has unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP). The key lies in identifying and leveraging it. It will set you apart from your peers and competitors. It will also help you win and sustain customers for a long haul. So, nail it down clearly.

Stay blessed! To your success.