A venue (or band’s) unique selling proposition

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what separates you from all of the other competition out there. It’s what you do incredibly well, and hopefully something that no one else is doing. And it’s why customers will (hopefully) return to you again and again.

When you figure out what it is you do exceptionally well, you have the opportunity to own that category, such as:

“best hard rock venue”
“best dinner theater”
“best club with creepy vibe”
“best club for hooking up”
“most sought after stage to perform on”

And once you own that category, most of the competition will drop away like dead flies; you’ll have to use a fly swatter for the rest. Some clubs will still try to imitate you, and that’s a form of flattery to be sure…

Me Too!
You’ve probably heard of the “me too” complex. This is when a business goes through the motions, or attempts to do everything that they perceive is being done by their more successful competitors. For venues, it might look something like this:

Got a bar? Me too!
Got a PA? Me too!
Got a stage? Lights? Me too!
Got a web site? Me too!
Pay bands based on their following? Me too!
Poker video on Monday? Trivia on Tuesday? Karaoke on Wednesday? Bands on Thursday through Saturday? Me too!
What are we waiting for? Let’s open a live music venue!!

Are you yawning yet? Yes, this stuff is wearying. Do you know what’s missing here? Adjectives, among other things. Let’s insert a few of those and see if they help us identify a few successful operations:

9th & Lincoln - home of incredible jazz and fine dining
9th & Lincoln – home of incredible jazz and fine dining
I own a charming downtown music venue that features live jazz on any given night, from the greats of our local community as well as accomplished touring musicians. The intimate stage provides an excellent view from virtually any comfortable lounge chair or booth in the venue. I also serve original, quality cuisine, wine and other fine beverages. Who is it?

Our music builds throughout the week, starting with “new band night” Wednesdays, more local bands on Thursdays and a top headliner act each Friday and Saturday (with other up and coming supporting acts to build the climax). We advertise the shows weekly in Westword, print tickets for the bands to formally invite their fans at a discounted price, and we have a big stage with performance recordings available for a nominal fee. Who is it?

We feature “happening” touring bands on weekends, with some local acts getting to open for them. Other nights you’ll find up and coming bands playing their hearts on out on the main stage, or brushing up on the entry stage. The venue is managed by an experienced and dedicated booking organization. Another hint: this club has a kitchen with extensive menu and is “home to the first dine-in marquis pizza experience.” Who is it?

The USP is a starting point for a successful business. It allows you to be first in a category and solidly own it. But then you need the next element to stay in business: consistency. Please stay tuned…

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