Whenever I start working with an ambitious business, the first question I always ask is; ‘What’s your UDP?’ and after a few scratches of heads, I’m usually met with blank faces.
Let me be clear. A UDP is not a USP (Unique Selling Point), which is specific benefit tied to your product or service, whereas your UDP sits across your entire brand offering. It’s the reason people chose you over a competitor. It’s the secret sauce that sits behind your brand, it unites your culture and it’s ‘the thing’ you’re best known for.
Why do you need one?
When supply outstrips demand as is the case in a recession, only those businesses who have a uniquely quantifiable point of difference will be able to hold their price AND grow out of the recession.
The Four Criteria of a UDP?
As you begin to think about your UDP here are my four criteria;
Is it a true Point of Difference?
When I ask businesses to list out the individual benefits that make up their overall value proposition, they’ll often include things such as, the quality of their service, or their people and culture. Naturally you should be proud of these, but your competitors would say the exact same thing and therefore your customers take it as a given.
If you’re a products business, your UDP could be attached to the IP within your product, but if you’re a service-based business, your UDP could be your methodology – the way you deliver your services. Or it could be your product/service mix. Perhaps you have some sector or geographical dominance.
You need to decide on your mountain, climb to the top, plant your flag, pee around it – and claim it as your own. What is the ‘thing’ you want all your target customers to know you for?
Is it Market Defendable?
Obviously if you own the product IP, then great – but often I instruct my clients to take it to the next level. Name the IP within the product. Create a logo or visual representation of what that means. Take Safe Solvents (safesolvents.com) who under my guidance named the ‘magic chemical reaction’ within their core product as Ambimization.
And many of my service-based clients have been able to map out their delivery methodology, or their combination of services with a simple graphic supported by an agreed set of language to describe it. Trademark the ‘method’. Follow it up with Thought Leadership, and supported content and you’ll create Copyright around your UDP.
Is it Actionable?
A UDP is not a strapline. It has to transfer into actionable value you bring your target market. Plus, it must mirror the strategic direction you’re taking - obviously, and everyone’s individual Key Objectives should contain measurable outcomes that align with your UDP.
Can it be proven?
The claim you make as a result of your UDP should be backed up with proven quantifiable data, ideally from a 3rd party source. Because of your UDP you’re able to demonstrate ‘x’ amount of increased value / cost savings / increased NPS scores / % efficiency … you get the idea. What’s the biggest pain point of your target market? Does your UDP align to fulfil that need?
Without a clearly defined UDP, your growth will be limited to your capability to compete on price, or to the individual 1:1 client relationships you’re able to build. Not that either of these sales tactics are not important, of course they are – every market has a price tolerance, but if you want to stop competing on price – you need a UDP. Likewise, unless you develop a UDP that communicates to your entire target audience, you’ll be required to communicate your value proposition to every potential prospect in a 1:1 sales process. Draining resource and reducing productivity.
A strong UDP will elevate you above your competition, even if you’re the challenger in a mature market, ensuring you’re recession proof (and pandemic proof) and bring together under one clear value proposition the true benefit of your company.
Nicola Cook is the CEO of Company Shortcuts. The UK’s leading Sales Acceleration agency helping scale-ups build a profitable Sales Engine for Growth.
Her waitlist is open and is currently taking new applications for 2021. If you’re interested in finding out how she could help your business, for an application form contact firstname.lastname@example.org