Marketers always talk about unique value propositions. What exactly is a unique value proposition? Is it important? Do you need one? Do you have one and don’t know it? If you don’t know what your unique value proposition is, you run the risk of having others define it for you and you may not like what they say about you.

Wikipedia defines a value proposition as a promise of value and a belief from the customer of value that he or she will experience. A unique value proposition can apply to an entire organization, parts thereof, customer accounts, or products or services. It’s a marketing statement, which summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. Usually this statement tries convince a potential consumer that your product or service will add more value or solve a problem better than other similar offerings.

Why should a customer buy from you and not your competitor? What do you offer that makes your company a better choice? Are you having trouble answering these questions? If you are, you might want to spend some time developing a concise statement that summarizes, “Why your company is the better choice.”

You may have heard the term, the thirty-second elevator speech where you describe what you do within a thirty-second period. If you have such an elevator speech that could be a good starting point for creating your unique value proposition. Depending on whom you talk to there are four to six steps required to create your unique value proposition.

The best way to develop your unique value proposition (UVP) is to pull together your key staff members and have them assist you in developing it. That way there will be some ownership by key members of your staff. The four areas to define include: 1. State your target market —define your customer. 2. State the primary benefit of your service or product that you provide to your target market. 3. Create a description of your product or service. 4. Finally describe what makes you unique in your marketplace.

Keep in mind that your UVP must be a clear statement, it must line up with your market's challenges and desires and it must communicate the unique contribution your company makes to your market that’s different from your competitors. Remember to keep the descriptions short and simple. If you can keep it to two or three lines that would be great. If it’s too long, keep working the sentences to shorten them and remove and words that do not need to be there.

Do some online research and study the UVP’s of other companies. Notice what they wrote and see if you can put your UVP into a similar format. Wal-Mart’s UVP is “Everyday low prices.” At Wal-Mart, customers know that whatever they buy is at a good price. Trader Joe’s UVP is, “We shop the world for you.” It implies a promise of exclusive product categories, a variable assortment, a high proportion of private labels, and best value. Mercedes Benz’s UVP is, “Designed like no other car.” It implies something very special.

One thing that you will begin to notice as you study the UVP’s of other companies is they reinvent themselves after developing their UVP. Once you go through the steps to define your UVP, you just might find that you need to tweak your company to achieve the success that you desire. This is a great exercise to go through and I highly recommend it if you want to get all of your employees on the same page and be the standout leader in your market.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.