Defining a Unique Selling Proposition Creates a Competitive Advantage for Small ManufacturersStagnant ROIs are often the result of minimal marketing and sales efforts, if any marketing is used at all. Marketing and sales are the functions manufacturers should be actively engaging with to see continual business growth and increases in ROI. Small and medium-sized manufacturers are missing out on sales opportunities and losing future prospects because they haven’t designed a marketing program specific to their target market--their customers. The goal of sales and marketing strategies is to grow an organization’s business; however, their core concepts are often overlooked by manufacturers of this size.

This is the first installment in a six part series to assist in understanding and developing your sales and marketing strategies for substantial business growth. The intent of this post is to help you assess where you stand with your target market and competitors, as well as what are the next steps to take. We will accomplish this by providing sample marketing tactics your company can use to help your message resonate effectively with your target audience.

What is your Unique Selling Proposition?

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the message you are communicating to your customers and prospects, so it’s important your communication is clear and effective. When you are communicating a clear USP, you’re defining your business for your target audience and why they benefit from choosing your product over a product from a competitor.

When you are determining what your unique selling proposition is, you need to perform an internal assessment to capture the breadth of your manufacturing organization. This snapshot should include things, such as:

  • What is your current marketing message?
  • Why  do companies buy from you?
  • How do you promote your business?
  • What makes you different; is it your price, the availability of your product?
  • What do you offer your customers that’s different from your competitor?
  • Who are you selling to and what are you selling them?
  • Where are your Channels of Distribution?
  • Do you have any product or service guarantees? If so, how do they stack up against your competition?

Once you have created a clear image of who you are as an organization, you can take the necessary actions to close the gap between your marketing efforts and your sales procedures.

The areas of marketing and sales opportunities are considered to be your growth objectives which can only be fulfilled once you have defined your target market and your desired area of growth. Being able to define your target market is the foundation of your marketing and sales initiatives; your target market is who defines the next steps in every process. Other areas that are still vital to define and fully understand are:

      • Your desired area of growth
      • Uncovered assets that increase customer value
      • Your competition and how to use it to your advantage
      • A variety of valuable marketing tactics specific to your target market

Once you have defined your target market and have a clear vision of your goals and who you are as an organization, you need to create a cohesive unique selling proposition that resonates with your target market. There are three ways that you can communicate value to your customers and each point should be the pulse of your USP including:

      • What your company does well
      • Why your customers are still purchasing from you
      • Where your company can improve for its customers

If you need additional insight on what your USP looks like, you can create internal focus groups asking questions, such as:

      • Do you have any distinctive abilities
      • What is your current marketing message
      • Do you have any product or service guarantees; if so, how does it compete with your competitor?

You should also question what your existing customers think your USP is and ensure that you are able to follow through with everything that you are communicating in your unique selling proposition.

Handling Competitive Forces

What Makes Your Manufacturing Organization Unique from its CompetitorsNow that you’ve established a clear internal focus it’s time to switch gears and look externally to your
competitors. A successful marketing strategy acknowledges competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Begin by conducting research on your competitors’ USP. Try to uncover their marketing message and take note of their efforts to ensure yours is truly unique and perceived as valuable to your target audience. Often times, you’ll discover competitors will not have a unified USP since the majority of them differentiate themselves on quality, service and low price.

Competition is everywhere, and isn’t going away; it puts certain pressures on organizations and is healthy for our economy and for consumers. Keeping up-to-date with competitor’s efforts will help your organization maintain marketplace awareness and help achieve a unique selling proposition.

How to Effectively Communicate your Unique Selling Proposition

Once you have developed the USP for your organization, be sure that it is infused in the pulse of your organization through all communication channels, including:

      • Your website
      • Social media platforms
      • Brochures
      • Verbal interactions with prospects
      • Your employees

What Are Your Marketing Tactics & Where can Your USP be Heard?

Once you have developed the USP for your organization, it’s important to transmit your newly developed message via all organization communication channels. The Internet has created a unique and personalized way of marketing and being able to track and quantify your marketing efforts. Are you only using online tools, offline tools or a tasteful combination of both? Maybe you’re using the wrong marketing tactics for your target market?

If possible, start measuring your ROI on each one and test out current or different marketing tactics based on your findings.

Online marketing efforts can include:

  • Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc)
  • Emails with tracking
  • Google AdWords (Pay Per Click)
  • Banner Advertisements
  • Blogging

Offline marketing efforts can include:

  • Tradeshows
  • Conventions
  • Articles
  • Radio Ads
  • Television Ads
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Direct Mail

Building on Your Unique Selling Proposition

Defining your target market is key for any successful marketing and sales initiative. They are your customers who should have a clear understanding of your product’s perceived value. Take some time to determine who your target market is and the direction you want to go for increased marketing and sales-based ROI.

The next post in this Sales and Marketing series will focus on the fundamentals of marketing and is intended to broaden your understanding of marketing and how it can have a positive impact on your revenue and profits. 

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