4 minutes read

A Unique Selling Proposition May Be the Big Idea You Need

Creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a risky move – but with a well-developed strategy and a coordinated public relations and marketing effort, it can pay off.

Creating a USP

Jim Bolin was born and raised in Casey, IL. As he grew up, Bolin watched a familiar small-town story unfold: Casey lost population, visitors, business, and industry. As the town’s revenue went downhill, so did Casey. Bolin responded with a plan to put the town on the map, and back in business.

Bolin knew Casey needed a marketing plan, a plan that focused on why people should visit (and shop, and eat, and otherwise spend money) in the town. After all, there are a lot of quaint towns with friendly people and small businesses with great customer service in the Midwest. What Casey needed was something to truly differentiate it. So if marketing Casey as a great small town wouldn’t work, what would? Something a little bigger. What Casey needed was a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.

Casey was about to become the small town where big things happen.

In Business, It Pays to Think Big

Bolin was determined to give people a reason to visit Casey. What he came up with were several reasons – big reasons. They include the World’s Largest Wind Chime, World’s Largest Golf Tee, World’s Largest Rocking Chair, World’s Largest Knitting Needles, and the World’s Largest Mailbox.

The unique attractions drive traffic – a lot of traffic – to Casey. In fact, so many people visit Casey to see the (big) sights that it’s created a (small) problem: the occasional traffic jam.

At this point, it’s safe to say that Bolin, and everyone in Casey, has learned that success can drive traffic – and more success.

Certification Supports USP

The USP that Bolin “made up” for Casey may sound quirky, but it’s legit – all of the town’s World’s Largest attractions have been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Casey’s largess goes a little further, however.

Once the town began to garner attention for its World’s Largest items, Bolin (with the support of the majority of residents) added several other oversized attractions. While they don’t carry the official “World’s Largest” designation, they’re still part of Casey’s allure, and they align with the USP.

World's Largest Rocking Chair

What If You Don’t Have a USP?

To be clear, we don’t necessarily recommend that clients “invent” a USP – but we won’t create a marketing plan without one.

The efforts led by Jim Bolin in Casey provide an excellent example of how you can put your business, services, or attractions on the map.

Bolin clearly had a vision. Big Things in a Small Town is what Bolin dubbed his local workshop, which is now a tourist attraction in its own right. But vision isn’t enough.

Bolin put Casey on the map with a solid strategy and coordinated marketing effort.

Here’s how Casey’s “invented” USP drives traffic to the town and its businesses:

  • Excellent use of Social Media – check out the town’s Facebook Page to see what we mean.
  • Face-to-Face Marketing – all of the town’s retail businesses participate in some way to promote Casey’s unique features.
  • Operational Support – a trolley runs on the weekends, carrying tourists from one big attraction to another, and the local post office hand-cancels postcards deposited in the World’s Largest Mailbox with – what else? – a stamp that reads “World’s Largest Mailbox.”
  • Coordinated Marketing/Public Relations efforts have resulted in press coverage from regional news outlets and niche publications like Roadside America and Road Trippers to a recent feature on CBS Sunday Morning

As we’ve stated before, a purely invented USP won’t work for everyone. But when you have a USP, a solid marketing strategy, and coordinated, well-managed promotional tactics, then you’re on your way to growth. Big time.

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Effective marketing starts with a thorough understanding of your business and how you stack up against the competition. (In other words, discovering and testing your USP.) You also need a methodical assessment of your opportunities, and a little bit of vision. This is why we start each client relationship by completing a Blueprint, a comprehensive assessment of your business. It is invaluable in determining the strategies needed to grow your business, and once it’s complete, the blueprint becomes an actionable plan for that growth. We use the Blueprint to weigh each marketing program and expenditure before launching any initiative. For our Joint Sourcing clients, the Blueprint also forms the basis of our shared risk and reward. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that Joint Sourcing is our USP. Contact us to learn more about the Sales Renewal JointSourcing™ process.

Sales Renewal’s insight:

Creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition), as Jim Bolin did for his hometown, is risky – but with a well-developed strategy and coordinated public relations and marketing effort, it can pay off. For Casey, IL, the payoff has been, well, pretty big.