USP: 4 Steps to Differentiation

USP: 4 Steps to DifferentiationThe world of internet marketing, affiliate marketing and really advertising and marketing any product or business these days, is happening in a very crowed and busy space.  With so many websites, blogs, emails, commercials, pop-ups, splash ads and dancing do-dads in the corner or middle of our screens, etc., we as marketers need to work on being unique so we are noticed.

What’s a Marketer to Do?

I happily watched a training the other day that brought me back to the fundamental marketing principle of differentiation or what I have come to know as developing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

One of the many benefits to my membership in the Daily Marketing Coach Program is the library of past recorded training that are available to me for viewing and as part of my ongoing marketers mindset training.  Sometimes that is more of a re-training!

One such jewel in that treasure chest is a recorded interview with Jack Trout and I would like to share some of what I learned by listening to his timeless advice.   But first… let me tell you just a little bit about Mr. Trout just in case his name and reputation are not familiar to you.

Who Is Jack Trout?

Jack Trout is a veteran marketing guru and the owner of Trout & Partners, an international consulting firm.  He is considered one of the founders and pioneers of what is known in the marketing world as positioning theory and the marketing warfare theory.  Mr. Trout has authored or co-authored over a dozen books on marketing and related subjects.

Differenciate or Die - USP: 4 Steps to DifferentiationIn the interview he did for Daily Marketing Coach Members, he was specifically discussing his book entitled Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition  This book offers real-world examples combined with Jack Trout’s own insights to show business owners how to bind customers to their products for long term success and loyalty.  The revised 2nd edition (blue cover) includes new research, new case studies and updated global examples.

The following is a Summary of the 4 Steps to Differentiation

Adapted from Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

  1. Make Sense in the Context  Your customers are savvy on the subject at hand.  Research and options are just a click or finger swipe away in the palm of our hands.  Your message need to start with the perception of your audience or customer base in mind… both about you and your competitors. Research is so very important.  Know your products and the features that make it better and know the weaknesses of others. Never attack the strengths of your competitors, only address their weaknesses.   Listen to your customers – they will tell you what is important to them.
  2. Find the Differentiating Idea   Nobody said your ‘differentness’ has to be product related.  Focus on the ways to set YOUR company, YOUR product, YOUR services apart from the others.  Maybe that is the leadership you offer, sessions of coaching and mentoring or the follow-up on a products usage or customer satisfaction.
  3. Have the Credentials   You need to have the expertise or credentials or experience to support your differentiated idea.  Demonstrate your knowledge and demonstrate your differences and that, in turn, becomes your credentials.  Be a product of your products or have first hand testimonials.  If you don’t have stories of your own, leverage off of others.  Don’t promote, represent or sell something you don’t believe in – people will sense that!
  4. Communicate Your Difference  There is no such thing as over-communicating your difference.  In fact, every aspect of your communication should reflect your difference.  The better perceptionists (is that even a word?) tend to be the winners because marketing is really the battle of perceptions, not products.

But Does Everyone Need A USP?

This advice or perspective on marketing seemed to me to be another way to emphasize the importance of having a Unique Selling Proposition or USP.  Smaller players in the business or marketing world often do best by specializing in a category or particular niche. It is difficult to compete with a generalized offering, but if you can fill the gap or fill a unique need… solve a problem.  And that USP can be centered around leadership, support, service, attributes or perspective.  Give then a unique perspective or a reason to pick you over the other voices on the web. Specialization supports the idea of knowledge and increases your positioning as an expert in you field.  More on that in a future post!

If you are interested in a learning, teaching and mentoring program to assist you with your marketing tasks, be my guest at an upcoming FREE webinar for Daily Marketing Coach.  Check out upcoming dates and times and REGISTER HERE.   I also offer those who join extra consulting in private calls each month and access to additional support via a private Facebook Group!

Doing more than just wishing you success… Helping you on your journey! ~Dawn

Dawn is an online marketing consultant, specializing in attraction marketing techniques for affiliates and business owners. She believes in simplifying effective marketing efforts and mentors business owners to make productive use of their valuable time.
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About Dawn Golden

Dawn is an online marketing consultant, specializing in attraction marketing techniques for affiliates and business owners. She believes in simplifying effective marketing efforts and mentors business owners to make productive use of their valuable time.


USP: 4 Steps to Differentiation — 52 Comments

    • There are so many great books out there… we just need to take that wisdom and put it to practice and help others to do the same. Paying it forward!

    • Thanks for stopping by Nathaniel! I enjoy hearing the various marketing principles explained from different points of view – it helps me to grasp the concepts and remember the wisdom and advice.

  1. Hi Dawn,

    USP…A must have in the business. We do have to have that Unique Selling Disposition in order to stand out from the crowd. It starts with being ourselves…honesty! Yes we do need credentials in order for people to check us out before they opt into our opportunity.

    Most of all we need the constant learning curve of marketing strategies. They change all the time and we have to be up to date on the current trends.

    donna merrill recently posted…Talking To The WorldMy Profile

    • Thanks Christine. I am not a very good reader… it is one sure way for me to fall asleep fast. Don’t know how I made it through college! I can only make it through a book that really interests me. This is one of those books!

    • Part of the Attraction Marketing philosophy that I follow encourages letting our individuality and uniqueness shine through… I love that!

  2. Excellent article Dawn….
    It’s a good thing we are already unique by nature! So finding out and using that uniqueness is vital in business. Take the soda industry .. if you just look at a can of soda, that’s all it is – sweet stuff in a can. But what makes Coca Cola stand out.. the association of that soda with parties, athletes, accomplishment .. so it’s part of a “culture” that Coca Cola created through massive advertising… so we are already different. It’s finding what it is that’s challenging
    Lesly Federici recently posted…Be MORE Than Your ProductMy Profile

    • Some people have such a natural USP perspective… it makes me a little jealous! It can be hard for us to see the inner strength we each have within us.

  3. I really liked the 4 points of differentiation … being different, as in being your own brand and not your product, is so important and I loved point 4 … communicate this a lot!!
    I think people learning to do business online often try to be like others, which is natural when learning … but I’m sure your coaching Dawn pushes people towards their individuality.
    A USP gives a person their online identity with which to build upon.
    Great info, and thanks to Jack Trout too 🙂
    Jacs Henderson recently posted…Imagine … Joining Noah’s Ark BEFORE The Rest Of The KingdomMy Profile

    • Thanks Jacs. I do love to mentor and teach others. Most people don’t realize how much the coach also learns through the mentoring experience!

    • That is very true David. many people can offer or represent the same product, but the leadership and connection we share with our customers and teams is what sets us apart.

  4. Hello Dawn:

    My first time here! I have not heard of Jack Trout either. That’s why it’s so good to network, reach out, and join other like-minded people. You can learn so much!

    I think being genuine and authentic can help you differentiate yourself from others. There’s no one like you! For example, I focus on photography. You could take 25 photographers to one location and they’d all come back with a different style of photos! I don’t worry about competition. I only compete with myself. 🙂

    Thank you Dawn, I <3 the list and the points you brought up.

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Why? For The Love Of Photography!My Profile

  5. Very good article, Dawn! It is essential to differentiate yourself from all others. One way of doing that is by allowing your personality to through your writing, on your webinars, and social media. I tell my clients all the time to just be you and those that resonate and like you will follow you.

    I’m a strong believer that you can have fun and be professional at the same time.

    I like what you said: “There is no such thing as over-communicating your difference. In fact, every aspect of your communication should reflect your difference.” This is so true!!

    Thanks again for the great article. I’ll be tweeting it for sure! 🙂
    Kelli Claypool recently posted…Creative Ways to Combat Out of Control Childcare CostsMy Profile

    • Thanks for the compliment Monna. Honestly backing and believing in your mission makes all the difference. One’s sincerity on a subject bleeds through everything you do. People can sense it.

  6. Great post Dawn!

    Gave my memory a jolt as I was reminded about all of my marketing training for the ‘offline’ world that I do not necessarily transfer into my ‘online’ world!

    I have not heard of Jack Trout so thank you for introducing him – I will add his book to my ‘must read’ list.

    Thank you 🙂
    Sonia recently posted…Your Business on PinterestMy Profile

  7. Hello Dawn,

    This is my first time visiting. I never heard of USP or Jack Trout before. Learned something new today. THANKS! USP is very interesting however I think it’s very important to pinpoint the niche otherwise the marketing will be all over the place.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Lillian. Thanks for visiting. Pinpointing a niche or your perfect audience or customer avatar is also very important. What a great idea for another post!

    • What a great comment… or should I say: compliment! Thank you Joan for your happy words. So glad to be helping to inspire others!

  8. Entrepreneurs who are struggling with attracting new customers to their business and are often overshadowed by their competition. It would be wise to learn the steps to finally differentiate themselves in the marketplace so they can get new clients and make more money.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…The Art of FacilitationMy Profile

    • You are touching on the basic fundamentals of Attraction Marketing here in your comments, Rachel. If allowed to let our inner voice take stage, we will attract liked minded folks and have an instant connection!

    • I am so very glad to be able to help you Monisha. That is what this is all about for me… helping others. You have made me smile!

  9. Dawn,

    These are wonderful tips. My favorite is the 4th one, “Communicate your differences. I have fallen short in that area, actually communicating to others just how my products and services are different and will be the best choice to benefit them.

    Dr. Erica

    • We often sell ourselves shorts. You know that your uniqueness is part of your strength. I hope this post has inspired you to give yourself more credit for that!

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