Selling Value

Posted By on Mar 15, 2010 | 0 comments


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Some clients have never thought about unique value proposition (UVP, or unique sales proposition, USP), the thing that differentiates them from their competitors. Some business owners just don’t think in those terms. They think, “I sell widgets.” They don’t stop to analyze the fact that blue widgets are the thing they do better than any other widgetator. That makes my job more interesting because I have to play detective before I can play writer or editor.

The Grand Canyon is a brand and has a unique value proposition. The brand is embodied in the landscape, which has become the symbol for the place. The UVP is that there is no other place like it and what you experience there, you cannot get anywhere else on the planet.

“The Grand Canyon — 17 million years to create a vacation you’ll never forget”

I just made that up. I think the National Park Service should buy that from me.

If the client doesn’t know the answers to my discovery questions, I may need to talk to their customers to help pinpoint what makes the client unique.

However we do it, we copywriters have to understand and succinctly state our client’s message in a way that gets customers to take action (call, e-mail, buy), or else the action they take will be to go to another Web site or peruse someone else’s ad.

Of course, my guilty admission is that I’m struggling with my own UVP. I’m good at detectiving UVPs (and making up words like “detectiving”) and taglines for other people’s businesses (see Grand Canyon above) but I hurt my neurons to articulate my UVP. It’s a really good exercise that every business person should hurt themselves with. I continue to ask myself late into the night all of the questions I ask clients.

Based on the feedback (testimonials) from previous clients, my UVP has something to do with the fact that clients think I’m a wonderful human being, that I write copy that works, they’re confident that I’m hyper-reliable (ask my friends), I hit my schedule dates, and get to the finish line on budget.

So I guess my UVP is that I’m a super hero. But I think “man of steel” is already in use. I’ll keep working at it.

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