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Selling Prop vs. Value Prop: Can You Tell the Difference?

Do you know the difference between a unique selling prop and a value prop? It’s okay, not many people do. In fact, people often mistake these to be interchangeable terms. Turns out they’re not the same thing and understanding the difference between the two is important for businesses and marketers alike.

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In this blog, I’ll explain each, clarify the difference, and provide some examples. Let’s dive in.

Unique selling proposition (USP)

As defined in Entrepreneur, a unique selling proposition is the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than the competition. Essentially, it highlights the unique features or benefits that customers can expect to receive. A unique selling proposition answers the question, "Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors?" This is where companies use a bit of emotional marketing to create a connection with their customers. A unique selling proposition compels you feel something, whether it be motivation, inspiration, or more.

Examples of unique selling propositions

Here are a few examples from well-known brands:

  • Hubspot: Grow Better with HubSpot

  • Slack: Where Work Happens

  • Uber: We Reimagine the Way the World Moves for the Better

  • FedEx: When it Absolutely, Positively Has to Be There Overnight

Feeling inspired? I know I am. As you can see, these unique selling propositions aim to leave you feeling emotionally drawn to the company.

Value proposition (VP)

According to Hubspot, a value proposition is a short statement that communicates why buyers should choose your product or service. It goes beyond just the unique features or benefits and speaks to the overall experience or outcome that customers can expect if they purchase.

An impressive value proposition typically manages to identify a customer’s pain point, showcase the benefits a product can offer, explain why those benefits are valuable to the customer, and differentiate the business from competitors.

If the unique selling proposition answers the customer's question, "Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors?", the value proposition answers, "What is this brand offering me?" or “What would this product do for me?". You’ll find value propositions on a company’s website or sprinkled in their marketing campaigns. So next time you’re visiting a website, see if you can spot the value proposition – if it’s not clearly notable, I’d wager they haven’t perfected it yet.

Examples of value propositions

Here are some example value propositions from those same recognizable brands:

  • Hubspot: An Easy-to-Use CRM

  • Slack: Be More Productive at Work with Less Effort

  • Uber: The Smartest Way to Get Around

  • FedEx: Manage Your Home Deliveries

Did you notice anything these examples have in common? They are short and to the point, while explaining what the product does and what problem the company solves for their customers.

The difference between a unique selling proposition and value proposition

The key difference between a unique selling proposition and a value proposition is this:

  • a unique selling proposition focuses on what makes a product or service unique.

  • a value proposition focuses on the overall value that it provides to customers.

Both are important for businesses to consider when developing their marketing strategies, but they serve different purposes and should not be used interchangeably.

Hopefully this helps clear things up and leaves you eager to get started on crafting your brand’s unique selling proposition and value proposition. Need help getting started? We have a template that you might find useful.

messaging and positioning template


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