What’s a USP? And Do I Have One?

Billings marketing USP

A USP, just not the right kind

Your Billings marketing plan starts with your USP.  Darcy Juarez from the Glaser Kennedy Group, had a great post about USP–Unique Selling Proposition.  Having a strong USP is literally the difference between being successful and watching your business die.  It is such a universal need, I thought I would repeat a bit of Darcy’s post here.

Billings Marketing and Your USP

Developing a clear, strong and compelling USP that is concise, differentiates you and is easy to understand is a crucial first step.

But here’s the thing, some businesses think they have a USP, but what they really have is a catchy slogan.

They don’t quite understand the goal of a USP.

For example, Diesel Jeans uses “Be Stupid”.  It’s concise, it’s clear and it’s catchy. But I wouldn’t define that as compelling. It differentiates, however is “be stupid” something that is a benefit to the customer?

The result is a confusing message, one that isn’t really unique or one that doesn’t offer a clear benefit to the user.

How does your business USP stack up?  Many businesses I work with in building their Billings marketing plans have a real problem with their USP.  Being different is fine.  Being different in the ways that matter to the consumer is even better.

Real estate agents and brokers are my favorite examples of companies with no earthly idea of their USP.  One agent or broker is pretty much exactly like every other agent and broker.  Yet they spend a huge amount of money on fancy graphics and bus benches to try and convince you there is a difference.

Call 911 for USP Help

How do you know if your USP needs help? Here are some signs that you might need to work on your USP.

1)      Your business is often commoditized. (think about that in terms of real estate agents)

2)      You find yourself constantly competing on price.

3)      Your employees or customers can’t easily explain what you do.

4)      You lack differentiation from your competitors.

5)      There isn’t a reason to respond NOW.

The great part of building Billings marketing plans is the limited amount of competition.  There are a lot of people who try and be all things to the market, but specialists can win if they take the time to develop a great USP.

Billings Marketing USP Help

Sometimes its hard to see the goal when you are in the middle of the fight.  Getting support from professionals who have built numerous Billings marketing plans to help your business is a great way to start.  Much of the type of consultative help you can get with the USP as part of your Billings marketing plan can be at low or no cost too.

Sometimes You Got To Quit Marketing and Listen

Listening is the key to your Billings marketing effortsI know you are excited.  Who wouldn’t be?  You are getting ready to launch a Billings marketing plan you know is going to increase your traffic, add top line revenue, and make Christmas 2012 (provided the Mayans are wrong) a great year.

If you were thinking this would be a touchy feely piece on “join the conversation” or some technique for social media using Facebook or Twitter for fun and profit, it is not (even if the photo is).

Quit Marketing

For a second I want you to quit marketing and get on the other side of the equation for a moment.  Make yourself into the buyer of your product. That’s the key to any marketing, much less any Billings marketing.

For years, I’ve coached talent to get into the audience.  To see and watch the show from the seats rather than from the stage.  If you are able to do that you will increase the performance of any kind of marketing process that you do.

When you start creating a promotion or any kind of marketing, the first thing to do is be really clear about what the action you want to be taken.  Do you want web clicks, store visits, a particular purchase made, or some other result?

Once you are clear on that, ask yourself the most important question a Billings marketing person must be able to answer.

What would someone have to believe in order to take that action?”

Now that’s getting off the stage and into the audience with your marketing in Billings.

It’s also a step most people overlook.

They don’t really think through what beliefs their prospect would need to have to get them to take the desired action.  So instead of getting the buy, they end up screaming at people and not getting their message across.

If the prospect already believed, they would have already bought your product.

Once you have identified those beliefs, then start thinking about what stories might possibly have a moral built-in could help the receiver establish those beliefs?

What experiences could you share with them that would stimulate those beliefs? What research? What case studies?

You already know the answer to your Billings marketing issue

Think about your product and your beliefs.  You believe that your product, your service is the solution to your prospects problems. Somewhere you came to that belief.

Now you need to communicate that idea in an accelerated fashion. In other words, give them the same experiences that you’ve had in a way that doesn’t take them the years to realize it.

Then build your story.

And that’s how you determine what type of content, what type of experiences, and what things to share.

The blog is about Billings marketing and advertising

So let’s practice the story telling I’d use with a prospect.

This story comes from conversations with real clients who have real problems and are scared and worried.

First, marketing and advertising in Billings is an incredible jumble of different programs, ideas, media and people trying to get your money.  It can be so terribly confusing you either want to shut down and do nothing, or only do the “same thing over and over.”

I agree it is a mess of stuff.

What if your Billings marketing was like this:

So what if you could hire a team of experts to help you build your Billings advertising plan?

What if that team of experts was local, had more than 80 years of success building winning media campaigns, and was a thought leader in all forms (television, radio, billboard, web, direct mail, events, couponing, social) of marketing?

And didn’t cost you any money until you got results?  Plus paid nearly as much attention to your income stream as you do?  And stayed around to help you handle every single challenge that appeared?  It would be like hitting the lottery.

My next question might be something like, “show me what you’ve done before so I believe you.”

When you hear a story like that, you want to believe you have found the answer to your Billings marketing problems.  And you have.

About the only thing left out is the “double your money back guarantee.”  Since you aren’t paying anything up front, you could consider you already have the guarantee.

Building a Billings marketing plan is really easy–once you have the “if” right. You can hear more of how this could work for you with just a click.



Why Being Funny in Advertising Doesn’t Work

There are a lot of attempts in Billings marketing circles to have “funny” copy.  It happens in TV (the dirty dog ad or the “picky one” ads); in radio (too many to name); even in print (more irony than humor).  The reality is this.

One in five TV ads are funny, and Super Bowl ads are three times funnier than the rest. But none of this makes much difference in selling stuff, according to new research by syndicated ad-testing firm Ace Metrix.


The funniest ad among 6,500 to debut in the U.S. between January 2011 and March 2012 is a Huggies ad dubbed “Baby Wets the Room” and “Geyser” by Kimberly-Clark Corp., showing a baby boy spraying the ceiling during an erstwhile diaper change by his dad. According to Ace Metrix, that ad from Ogilvy & Mather was 12 times funnier than average. By comparison, ads from the past two Super Bowls rated merely three times funnier than the average TV ad.



Measuring Funny

Now these are all based on surveys and conversations with a group of viewers after the various events.  With the case of Super Bowl ads, they get played online way in advance today.  Here’s the real story in these funny ads.

Ace Metrix found the funny Huggies ad more effective than other diaper ads on average, it finds neither Super Bowl ads nor funny ads generally work better than others.

Trial and Traffic is Why You Market

The idea behind any advertising or marketing is to increase traffic or trial.  If your marketing does not do that, it is a failure.  All that leads to one of the biggest thoughts to come from the Ace Metrix review.

Funny ads were slightly less likely to increase desire or purchase intent than unfunny ones.

The Requirements of Funny

Your next question might be how do you measure funny?  I can find something hilarious while you might find it boring or even dumb.  Look at the difference between what adults think is funny versus teens (Bam Magera anyone)

Ace Metrix applied a type of semantic analysis increasingly used to analyze social-media buzz to the answers consumers gave open-ended survey questions.

When people used terms including “funny, lol, lmfao, hilarious, good joke” or “chuckle,” the ads were deemed funny. When at least 20 respondents out of the minimum 500 who weighed in on each ad indicated an ad was funny, the firm classified it as such. The more people who thought the ad was funny, the higher its “funny” index.

Critical Error in Thought

Stop for a second and think about that paragraph because there are at least two things about it that are really scary.  One was the methodology.  Second is the idea there are companies who measure social media “buzz” by these words.

Next time you post LOL, or ROTFLMAO on a Facebook post, think about the person who is counting your response and placing in a chart to determine the success or failure of an ad. or even a company’s product.

Funny helps an ad work.  Being relevant, informative, and solving a prospects problem will make an ad work best.

AIDA and Billings Marketing

The next time you get an ad from a Billings marketing person, Billings advertising agency, or even your neighbor down the block, ask the question–‘Does this solve a problem?’  If the answer is no, it might be time to review AIDA.  Or ask for a bit of help with your business’ Billings marketing efforts.