Defining the Unique Selling Proposition for your Membership

Have you ever been asked what differentiates your membership from the other products and services that are available in your marketplace? In marketing terms, do you know your “unique selling proposition” (UPS).

This is the type of question I often ask of prospective clients when I meet with them. A lot of times I do not get very compelling or confident answers.

That’s why I thought that it might be good today to go all the way back to 1956 and a book written by Victor Schwab, “Mail Order Strategy” (Hoke Communications, 1956). Schwab was a famous copywriter – an Ad Age person of the Century — who detailed the 40 key “emotional drivers” that influence people’s actions.

I have found that one of the best ways to define a USP is to start with the wants and needs of the potential member and work backward. In other words, instead of contemplating your product, contemplate the needs of your potential buyer and how you can help them – look inside out and not outside in.

Here are a few of Schwab’s drivers that I think might be particularly relevant for membership marketing.

People want to be:

  • Up to date
  • Recognized authorities
  • Efficient
  • Good parents, bosses, and employers

People want to gain:

  • Time
  • Comfort
  • Praise of others
  • Health
  • Popularity
  • Personal prestige
  • Money

People want to save:

  • Work
  • Discomfort
  • Embarrassment
  • Worry
  • Time

People want to:

  • Satisfy their curiosity
  • Win others’ affection
  • Improve themselves generally

What do you think of this inside out way of developing your organizations unique selling proposition? If you need help better understanding the emotional drivers for your membership, we would be glad to be of assistance.  Feel free to contact me.

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