Unique Selling Propositions

There’s no such thing as a unique selling proposition. 

In marketing terms, a “Unique Selling Proposition” is something that sets you apart from your competitors in a way that will drive sales and customer traffic. 

If you google it, you’ll find lots of “educational” examples. They’re mind-numbingly inane. Please don’t do it. I’d like to spare you from the truly terrible writing I just had to wade through. 

The problem with most marketing consultants is they spend all their energy trying to identify a unique selling proposition. Something that makes their client’s product or service unique. 

Let’s say you have a truly unique product. It’s brilliant. Everyone will want it the moment they realize it exists. Like sliced bread. Or pet rocks.

It’s unlikely, but go with me here for a second. Any product that is truly unique AND valuable will only be yours for a very small window of time. The moment the rest of the industry catches a glimpse or stumbles onto the idea themselves, it will cease to be unique.

Side note: If no one else in the industry is doing it AFTER they’ve seen you do it, then the odds are it’s not that valuable. 

But even assuming that’s a possibility, most businesses STILL don’t have a unique selling proposition. 

What do you do when your service is replicated by a dozen other businesses?

When small-minded marketing people try to force something “unique” into existence, they have to crawl further and further down the stairwell of “Important Things” until they find something unique in a musty basement closet. They strike a match, hold it up to the light, and are elated to discover a Truly Unique Thing (trademarked). Unfortunately it’s also Irrelevant (trademarked).

How do you stand out from your competitors? How can you be different from the people in your category so that your people can find you. How now, brown cow?

In short, you. You are the thing that makes your business unique. It’s not the product or service. It’s your personality, your flaws, your strengths, your passions. It’s the way those things change your delivery of a product in a certain way inside a category. 

It also helps that YOU are the one thing your competitors can’t replicate. 

Well that’s awkward. It turns out there IS a unique selling proposition. And it’s YOU.

Now what?

You need to find a way to tell your story as a part of the brand and process. Tell people why you care, and what drives you. Show them how your story overlaps with the common fundamentals of the human experience. 

You may have a unique process to your service or product. But it’s your personality and approach that led you to the unique process. 

That’s only a small piece of the story of who you are and why you do what you do. Tell your own story. Tell the whole story. 

Stop looking for bullshit “selling propositions”. 


Daniel Whittington – Chancellor