Do you have a strong "USP" ("Unique Selling Proposition")? You've had the importance of establishing your USP hammered into you again and again, but if you're like most people, you still only have a vague idea of what it might be.

I've hammered on the idea myself:

How to Make Your Marketing Story Compelling:

A few days ago, I shared a checklist for creating a marketing story that hooks readers and holds them long enough for you to show the benefits of your product. The first two points were that your story should be unique and interesting.

Fools Cash In Where Angels Fear To Tread:

Seth Godin says you need to be a "Purple Cow". Chip and Dan Heath teach that "unexpected" ideas stick better. A million other people offer the same advice in a million other ways. If what you're doing is run-of-the-mill, you're headed for run-of-the-mill results.

The Art of the Unexpected:

How boring would music be if every song sounded the same? Who's that band who had a big hit some years ago, and it was great, but all their other songs sounded exactly the same? Boring!

Today, I read something by Perry Marshall that really hit home:

I've had the privilege of working with some of the most talented people in marketing today and it's a thrill to just be in their company. Today I'd like to tell you something about the very best ones, that most people never notice.


All 3 of these guys used the same formula. The formula is:

"Take all your expertise from some field that most people think is completely unrelated. Import it into the new field. You'll create something totally new that never existed before."

Before you say, "yeah, that's a great idea," and then immediately forget about it, let's make it a little more concrete. Here's what to do:

  1. Grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you're interested in.
  2. Start combining.

Simple process. Do you think you could come up with a unique and interesting combination?

Let's look at the math.

  • If you've got 2 interests, you've got 1 combination.
  • If you've got 3 interests, you've got 3 combinations (of 2 -- 4 if you count the combination of all 3, but let's keep our message simple).
  • If you've got 4 interests, you've got 6 combinations.
  • With 5 interests, you've got 10 combinations.
  • With 6, 15 combinations.
  • With 7, 21 combinations.
  • ...and so on.

Your unique set of interests is your personal goldmine of unique combinations of different interests. Somewhere in there, surely you can find something interesting.

It may take you some time to find the winning combination. Remember this key from what Perry said:

...some field that most people think is completely unrelated.

The most powerful combinations will be those that aren't immediately obvious. Why? Because they'll be the most unique, and the most unexpected.

So if you have a vague inkling that there might be something to a particular combination, but can't quite put your finger on it, don't just set it aside and move on. Write it down and then go on with your day. Then come back to it and think about it some more later. Your subconscious may have come up with an answer for you.

Once you've found a good combination, dig deep and find all the ways you can tie the parts together to deliver a unique message and unique value to your customers.

I'll share some examples once I've had a chance to go through this exercise myself.