Direct Marketing Article
Are You In Search of the Unique?
By Jim Straw
Here lately, I've had a number of calls saying ...
"I really need to find a unique product to sell by mail or on the Internet"
- or -
"My product doesn't have anything unique about it" - or -
"How can I make my product more unique."
The first thing I tell them is to "go back and read the book," again. -- Not
my book, Dan Kennedy's book (or newsletter). Dan Kennedy, as you should
know, is the chief proponent of using a "Unique Selling Point" ... or
"Unique Selling Proposition" (either way, I'll use USP from now on) ... to
market your products or services. But, Dan does not say you have to have a
"unique" product, or find something "unique" about your product, or make
your product more "unique."
It is the "selling point" (or "selling proposition") itself that has to be
"unique" ... which may, or may not, have to do with your product or service
As an example: Coffee is pretty much coffee ... isn't it? -- But, Folgers is
"Mountain Grown" coffee; while Maxwell House coffee is "Good To The Last
Whoa! You say "Mountain Grown" coffee is unique.
Wrong ... caffeine breathe. All coffee is grown in the mountains ... even
Folgers ... because that's the only place coffee plants grow.
Folgers used "Mountain Grown" as its USP for their coffee back before most
people knew coffee was only grown in the mountains. -- Beyond that, once
Folgers used that USP, no other coffee company would dare say their coffee
was grown in the mountains, too. It would sound too much like they were
trying to copy Folgers.
Back when I was in the banking business, the USP I used for our bank was "We
Never Forget What Gives Money Its Value ... Somebody Exchanged Work For It!"
When you begin creating a marketing program for your products (or services),
before you do anything else, you need to make two lists.
The first list is your Fact List. -- In that list, you annotate everything
about the properties of your product ... what it's made of ... where it
comes from ... what it does ... what it doesn't do ... how it does what it
does (Sometimes, I go so far as to take a product apart and separately list
every component in it.)
Once you have your Fact List, you need to make a Benefits List. -- I usually
make two Benefits Lists.
One is labeled "Tangible Benefits" and the other list is "Intangible
Benefits." -- The "Tangible" list may include the words "light weight,"
while the "Intangible" list may say, "you can lift it with one finger." -- I
try to write at least one benefit ... preferably more ... for every item on
the Fact List. -- Get the idea?
When you have all your Facts and Benefits written down, read those lists
over and over until something "unique" hits you between the eyes. It might
be a phrase from your Benefits List ... like "Good To The Last Drop" ... or
a descriptive from your Fact List ... like "Mountain Grown."
Remember, it is the "selling point" that has to be "unique" ... not
necessarily your product or service. -- But, you might not want to carry it
Although I have wracked my feeble brain ... squeezed my little grey cells
until they cried ... I can't for the life of me remember who it was who
commented on an ad they had read. I can't remember whether it was in one of
Johnny Carson's monologues; or some stand-up comic's routine, or if the ad
being commented on was even real but, the punch line; supposedly from the ad
itself, was ..."Made From Real Plastic!"
That might be carrying the concept of the USP just a step too far. Then
again, it might just be "unique" enough to grab the reader's attention and
get them to read the rest of the ad.
About the Author:
Over the past 37 years, J.F. Straw has written well over 700 books,
booklets, manuals, reports, courses and articles about doing business -- all
based on his own personal, hands-on experience. His writings are "specific"
methods, techniques and approaches to doing business that anyone can use to
start or expand their business. As a mailorder marketer...with over 700,000
customers worldwide ... Straw has sold over four-hundred million dollars
($400,000,000) worth of products and services by mail. Everything from
Beauty Supplies to Heavy Equipment ... Burglar Alarms to Sleeping Bags ...
Fishing Lures to Women's Wigs ... Automobiles to Wheelchairs ... Investment
Opportunities to Seafood ... Consulting Services to "How To" Courses.
Find business books by Jim Straw by clicking here