A Unique Selling Proposition
No lie. I just read a press release touting that a new accounting service bundled previously separate services to offer the customer "Unique Pricing." Are they kidding? That's their competitive advantage? Had I only known that so many consumers were screaming for unique pricing, I would have gone after it a long time ago. Imagine the traffic that's going to flow in when I launch UniquePricing.com.
When all you can come up with to differentiate your product is unique pricing, you may need to ask the guys in product development to dig a little deeper. I wonder if they test marketed that idea. I can almost here a focus group participant saying, "well, the bundling is nice, but what really turns me on about this product is it's unique pricing." Where did this benefit even come from. Since when does a unique selling proposition have to include the word unique? Maybe the guy in charge of marketing pulled out a form he got at his community college marketing class. It had three line items under Competitive Advantage. The executive group brainstormed. They came up with five and then voted for their three favorites. The winners:
- It's online. People like stuff online.
- It's bundled. Bundled is bigger.
- The pricing is unique. Who doesn't want unique pricing.
Do you think it really happened that way? Possible. More likely, the marketing guy said his product had competitive pricing or affordable pricing. Then the PR people got a hold of it and the big, red false advertising sign went off. They knew that the product was expensive in terms of competition and common sense. What else could they do? They took the safe route and labeled the pricing "unique." They couldn't just let the pricing question go un answered. After all, every press release newby knows that product releases have to mention the price.
Can you imagine the poor salesperson on the phone with a prospective buyer.
"So how much does this online, bundled service cost?"
"George - do you mind if I call you George - that's the best part. The pricing is absolutely unique."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you won't find any other services like this with this pricing, that's how unique it is."
"So what is it?"
"It's the most unique pricing you've ever seen. I wake up in the morning smiling that I get to sell a product with pricing like this. It's so ridiculously unique."
Wow, unique pricing. I hope that next time my wife comes home from a shopping spree, instead of telling me how much money she saved us. She comes home with some stuff that had unique pricing.
I guess the bottom line is that when you broadcast your competitive advantages, make sure they really are competitive.