Do You Know Your Clients' "Unique Buying Propositions?"

I want to run with an idea I just encounted in a blog post by Newt Barrett called, What is Your Unique Buying Proposition?

First, thank you Newt for this really thought-provoking idea. My mind has been racing ever since I read it, taking off in a variety of directions and applications for your idea.

Here is what Barrett says about a Unique Buying Proposition (aka "UBP"):
I think it’s much better to focus on the buyer with a unique buying proposition as the basic foundation for your content marketing strategy. Your UBP is what will get your customers excited about doing business with you and your company....

A UBP is a first cousin to a USB. The difference is that a UBP is all about the buyer and what the buyer will gain from doing business with you. Thus, your buyers don’t care that you are the only maker of green widgets in the United States. They do care if your green widgets will enable them to double their sales or cut their manufacturing costs by 50%.

Whenever I begin writing some web copy for a client, I start with what I call an "I want list." This list is written from the point of view of the buyer, prospect, or client for which the material is intended.

I have discovered that by the time I have filled one or two pages with "I wants" or "I don't wants" written as if from the mind of the buyer, I am able to really get inside their heads. It's kind of like the experience a method actor has when getting deeply into a character. In a sense the actor "becomes" that person.

A unique selling proposition is an important for differentiating your product or service, but it is still created from the perspective of the seller.

A unique buying proposition comes from the buyer's perspective. It tells what the buyer wants, needs and must get solved.

This is an essential mindset when creating content.

So how do you create quality content from the buyer's perspective?
  • Start with an "I want list." Include as many "I don't wants" as well so you can uncover the things about buying your product that really bug prospects.

  • Create a parallel "Why List" to dig deeper into these wants and don't wants. Get a real handle on the emotional needs behind your buyers' wants.

  • Take it out into the real world. If you stop at the above, you have merely conducted a focus group of one person (or one internal group of the people on your team). Interview, survey and observe real live buyers to see what they want or don't want.

  • Create "buyer personas." Continually ask yourself and your team, "What would Joe want?" as if your target buyer were a single individual named Joe. Learn to think of your buyer as a person, not a compilation of market research data.

  • Create content that addresses these needs, wants and "don't wants". The best selling tool in today's market place is free information. What information will help Joe solve his problems, relieve his pains, get him what he wants or help him avoid what he doesn't want?

I think I'm just scratching the surface here on this topic of "Unique Buying Propositions." My mind is churning with ideas I want to explore and ways I want to try it out.

Tell me your thoughts. What do you think of unique buying propositions?

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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July 6, 2009 at 10:24 AM Merrill Clark said...


Thanks for Newt Barrett's quote, and your spin on it..

After digesting it for a moment, it makes perfect sense. I'm looking forward to trying it out on my next copywriting project.

Merrill Clark
Direct Response Copywriter

July 8, 2009 at 7:20 AM Charles Brown said...

It really just makes sense doesn't it. A USP (as valuable as it is as a positioning device) is still from the seller's point of view.

A UBP is from the buyer's.

I have found that creating an "I want" list to be invaluable.