When I first heard the song Goody Bag by D’prince, I totally fell in love with it. For starters, the rhythm is very addictive. It is no surprise that it went viral and became an instant hit overnight. It was so popular that excerpts of the lyrics became catch phrases, one of them being “what’s your selling point”. According to D’prince, if you can identify your selling point there’s money and a whole lot of other surprises in store for you in the ‘Goody Bag’. And to be sincere with you, he was quite right about that. So what really is the selling point?

Selling point is a feature of something such as a product or an idea that makes people more likely to buy or support it. Although the term is popularly used in advertising and marketing, selling point can also be seen as that unique quality that makes you or your business stand out.

Believe it or not, there is no idea that is completely new. But there are new ways to implement ideas that make them appear brand-new. For example, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti was able to combine elements from existing music genres such as traditional Yoruba music, highlife and English Jazz. He fused it with percussions, scats, vocal styles and invented what is now known as Afro Beat; one of the world’s most celebrated music genres today. This reinvented style was Fela’s selling point.

There are steps you too can take to help identify your selling point and I have summarized them into what I call the WWW Rule. The rule is made up of 3 chronological steps; Who, Why and What. I will analyze each of them to give you a better understanding of how they work.

STEP 1: WHO

This refers here to your target group or target audience.  It comprises mainly of the potential customers of your business. Knowing ‘who’ they are and being able to manage and understanding their needs or expectations will help you in identifying your selling point. This is the first and perhaps the most important step of the WWW rule.

The success of any business is largely dependent by how the public perceives it. It is therefore good practice to start off with the customer in mind. While pinpointing your target audience, it is imperative to narrow it down to a definite group. This will help you structure your services effectively. It is not rare to see businesses that claim to offer a range of services that are unrelated. They believe that by doing this they can attract more customers. But how many of you would buy a product that claims to be good on the skin and for washing toilets effectively? I definitely won’t buy such. This is where a lot of folks get it wrong. So they end up with no customers other than their family and friends. Identifying a target audience that is clear-cut doesn’t prevent you from reaching out to customers outside your key market. When your content is right other customers will find it appealing and might patronize you. There are straight men who still buy female magazines like True Love to read.

Reflect thoroughly on this step.  A good way to start could be to identify a general audience you intend to reach and try to break it down to a group that is relevant and specific. For example, imagine you are creating a product that is primarily for Nigerian women. While your general audience is made up of the typical Nigerian woman, a more specific group could be Nigerian women who are single mothers or who are stay at home moms. If you are able to get your target group right, then you are ready to move on to the next step.

STEP 2: WHY

After identifying your target group, the next question you need to ask is ‘why’ you want to reach out to them. The answer you get underscores your aim and how you need to perform to achieve your objectives.

Virgin Atlantic is a good example of a successful business in this case. Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of Virgin Group, was able to identify his customers as travelers who were adventurous and eccentric like him. He believed that the big airlines at the time were not in touch with their needs. His aim was to start an airline that provides a flying experience that was fun, ultra-cool and affordable. To achieve this, they put a bar onboard, offered massage or nail clean up services and made sure that food and drinks were always top quality.

Most of the time it is easier to gauge the expectations of your target group when you can put yourself in their shoes just like Branson did.  Today, customers who fly Virgin Atlantic acclaim that it “really makes you feel special”. Without any doubt, this demonstrates their distinction in the market place as well the contribution to their target group.

Take proper care in answering the questions in this step. Make sure your reasons stem from needs that are crucial to your target group rather than on your assumptions and projections of them.

STEP 3: WHAT

This sums up the steps in the WWW Rule with a formal statement of ‘what’ the business stands for. It states who your target audience is, explains the reason why the business exists and summarizes how it achieves its objectives. It is the mission statement, headline or tagline that guides the action of the business and paves a pathway for it.

KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is a fast food restaurant chain which specializes in fried chicken. It is the world’s second largest restaurant chain. Their mission statement is “To sell fast food in a fast, friendly environment that appeals to pride conscious, health minded consumers”. Their mission statement clearly states;

  • WHO (Target audience) – Health minded customers who are pride conscious.
  • WHY (Objectives) – To sell fast food in a fast and friendly environment that is appealing to them.

The market place is overcrowded with a lot of businesses and their promises.  Like all successful businesses that stood out, you have to make a statement that shows that it is worthwhile and potentially worth investing in. In a nutshell, an assertion of your selling point.

Identify what makes your business stand out today. Apply the WWW Rule and see where it leads you. Be sincere and succinct in your approach. Do not be a jack of all trade in an attempt to get mass appeal. You will only end up looking desperate and confused. Be sure of your greatest advantage and focus on satisfying the needs of those who rely on it the most.  Always remember that the success of any business is largely dependent by how others perceive it. So what do you want to be known for?

Together we will build the Nigeria of our dreams.