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USP & Differentiation Books

Books On Unique Selling Propositions,Customer  Value Propositions, Branding and Differentiation Strategy

Below is a list of books I’ve reviewed on Amazon.co.uk about the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) concept, customer value propositions, branding and other books about how to differentiate a business away from its competitors including niche marketing where you specialise to hopefully become one of a kind.

As the author of the Differentiate Your Business Blog, this is a core interest of mine.

This is a core strategy of a successful business, even if, sometimes, it can happen accidentally. It’s also an area that I’m particularly interested in helping business owners to master. .

I aim to be a tough reviewer. Five star books are highly recommended, four star books are recommended and three star books may be suitable if you have specific needs. After the book title and author, I give a brief summary of my review and there will be more details on the book page at Amazon.

FIVE STARS – Rated As Excellent

***** How to Create a Million Dollar Unique Selling Proposition by Bill Bodri – A terrific resource to help you to define your business in a short statement. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Competing on Value by Mack Hanan and Peter Kemp – Perhaps the first book to look at value pricing for B2B product, this shows how to differentiate by showing your product or service provides more value or faster value for customers. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne – an excellent book about creating new markets across existing boundaries as opposed to segmenting an existing market. There is a updated version below. (My review on this website.)

***** Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne -the original book has been extended but not re-written. It’s still an excellent book but if you have the original, you don’t need to rush to get this one.If you don’t have the first one, get this unless you’re really keen to save a little extra money. (My review on this website.)Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth by W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne – A detailed how to guide for developing blue ocean strategies. (My review on this website.)

***** Creating Value: Shaping Tomorrow’s Business by Shiv S Mathur and Alfred Kenyon – a highly original look at how to differentiate products but it is challenging to read so it’s suitable for academic types only. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael E. Porter – Very challenging but very rewarding if you’re interested in competitive advantage by either cost leadership or differentiation. It was this book which introduced the value chain for the company and the supply chain. Differentiation normally comes from doing activities differently within the value chain. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Crackerjack Positioning: Niche Marketing Strategy for the Entrepreneur by Don Reynolds – an inspiring book to help you to find unique space in a market. The crackerjack referred to in the title is a popcorn and peanut mix with a children’s toy also included but the Crackerjack UK TV programme is also unique and was my favourite when I was about six or seven years old. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

***** Mafia Offers: Dealing with a Market Constraint (Chapter 22 of Theory of Constraints Handbook) by Lisa Lang – the full book is huge and has an enormous amount of detail about the Theory of Constraints but the chapters can be bought separately. This focuses on creating a unique offer that customers can’t resist. I can’t get at the page to bring the review across but I do have a page with a video from the author explaining the idea of mafia offers.

I have just checked and the chapters can no longer be bought on their own so this is only available through the Theory of Constraints Handbook which isn’t appropriate here. Let’s hope this is just a temporary issue.

***** Reality In Advertising by Rosser Reeves – the classic marketing book that introduced the concept of the unique selling proposition. (My review on this website.) Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

FOUR STARS  Rated As Good To Very Good

Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition: Managing Customer Experience for Profit by Cindy Barnes, Helen Blake and David Pinder – this starts strongly and the authors appear to share their full process but has a strong focus on technology businesses which may make it less relevant for the mainstream. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Niche Marketing Expert: The Art of Selling to a Hungry Crowd by Gary Booth – this is a short Internet marketing book where the emphasis is on marketing rather than the Internet. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition by Andy Cunningham – Very interesting for technology based businesses (Four Stars) but for the rest Three Stars (My review on this website.)

Managing Customer Value: Creating Quality and Service That Customers Can See by Bradley T. Gale – Puts “value” numbers to the idea of differentiation but it has a big company bias. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Stop Competing on Price: What every salesperson, entrepreneur and business professional needs to know to differentiate their product or service and make price irrelevant by David Gomez – Thoughtful guide to differentiation (My review on this website.)

The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less by Mark Joyner – A great way to simplify a complex idea but it’s expensive for what’s there. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Clear Sales Message: What are you selling, who are you selling it to and why should they care? by James Newell – Helpful (My review on this website.)

Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success: 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs by David Parrish – A good introduction to strategic marketing that deserves to be read by many small business owners (My review on this website.)

Beyond Price: Differentiate Your Company in Ways That Really Matter by Mary Kay Plantes – A leadership approach, for big rather than small businesses. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Business Results Revolution by Sandy Richardson – this book looks at how to differentiate a business but it’s strength is in how the ideas behind the value proposition need to be rippled down the organisation so that they mean something to every employee who can make a difference. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by Al Ries & Laura Ries – Branding in terms of what the brand stands for. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Visual Hammer: Nail your brand into the mind with the emotional power of a visual by Laura Ries – a development on her father’s famous work on branding with an emphasis on a powerful visual image. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Positioning: How To Differentiate Your Business From The Competition Without Wasting Valuable Resources And Sending The Wrong Marketing Message by Krisz Rokk – it includes 19 key questions to help you to define your positioning statement. Amazon.co.uk

Crackerjack Positioning – How To Control the Way People Think About You in the Marketplace by Ben Settle – a copywriter’s view on how to make your business or product unique. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

Customer Power: How to Grow Sales and Profits in a Customer-Driven Marketplace by David Swaddling and Charles Miller – an impressive book on customer value. (My review on this website.) Amazon.co.uk

THREE STARS Rated As Worthwhile

I haven’t brought the reviews on Amazon.co.uk across to this website for books rated below four stars.

Positioning for Success by Dave Berkus – stories from a venture capitalist. Amazon.co.uk

Defining a Dynamic USP: Crafting a Compelling Message to Attract Your Ideal Client by Andrea Callahan – a nice but incomplete process to finding your USP. Amazon.co.uk

Your UTTERLY SEDUCTIVE PROPOSAL: Make your clients and offer they can’t refuse by Tim Coe – more of a general marketing book than a book about differentiating your business. As such, you can find better. Amazon.co.uk

Competitor Analysis: Find your unique selling points and know the objections to expect by Robert DeGroot – Useful technique for sales presentations. Amazon.co.uk

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin – A powerful analogy but a disappointing book. Amazon.co.uk

Core Value Proposition: …A powerful tool that provides a customer focus to your business development by Jack Hardy – Build your core value proposition up from five factors, Idea, Benefit, Target, Perception and Rewards. Amazon.co.uk

USP – How To Craft Your Unique Selling Proposition by Tara Jacobsen and Rebekah Welch – this is more focused on elevator pitches than USPs. Amazon.co.uk

Unique Selling Proposition Formulas For Positioning Your Small Business by Jalanda James – the book looks at four ways to create a USP. Amazon.co.uk

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder et al – the authors of Business Model Generation are back with another great looking book but I found the content disappointing. Amazon.co.uk

Value Prop: Create Powerful I3 Value propositions To Enter And Win New Markets by Jose Palomino – This is an important topic but i thought it would be a better book. Amazon.co.uk

How to Influence Buying Criteria by David J. Pannell – too wordy but interesting for anyone who faces customers who treat the product or service as a commodity even though there are clear differences between suppliers. Amazon.co.uk

USP Breakthrough: The Power To Get More Customers, Close More Deals, and Charge Higher Prices by Andrey Polston – an explanation of USPs and a six step process. Amazon.co.uk

Creating Competitive Advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors by Jaynie Smith – More about benefit statements that competitive advantages. Amazon.co.uk

Copywriting and the Unique Selling Proposition by Mike Swedenberg – more emphasis on copywriting that the concept of the USP. Amazon.co.uk

TWO STARS – Disappointing & Not Recommended

Find Your Own Unique Selling Proposition: Getting Ahead With USP by Jennifer S Cosculluela – a hard to read pamphlet with disappointing contents. Amazon.co.uk

Marketing: Unique Selling Points and Creating a Tagline by Amy Foxwell – It is far too short. It’s much more suitable to give away free as a lead generation tool. Amazon.co.uk

Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin – Combining good things can create something horrible – this was long-winded with little substance. Amazon.co.uk

Niche: The missing middle and why business needs to specialise to survive by James Harkin – Perhaps an interesting book but it’s struggling to get out because it jumps around so much. Amazon.co.uk

Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions by Simon Kelly et al – very disappointing, aimed at big B2B businesses. Amazon.co.uk

USP: How to Construct a Winning Unique Selling Proposition by Michael Senoff – this is a transcript of the author working with the owner of a website hosting business. Useful info on finding benefits and creating sales scripts but it doesn’t live up to its title and it’s dated. Amazon.co.uk

ONE STAR – Don’t Waste Your Time

Business Strategy: Strategic Positioning with Strategimetric Profiles by Stuart Cook – needs better editing and less self promotion.

Dare to be Different: How to Create Business Advantage Through Innovation and Unique Selling Proposition by Alessandro Forte – I had high hopes of this book and it was given an extremely misleading title.

The Consumer Value Model: Know The Perceived Value of Your Products & Services and Convert Inquiries Into Purchases by Lanze Thompson – Too small to read as a Kindle book on 10 inch Tablet.

These are affiliate links so if you buy after clicking through to the Amazon website, I will earn a small commission.

Navigation To Other Book Reviews

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister. I’ve also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs.

Five Star Books (All Topics)Marketing, Sales & Strategy Books – USP & DifferentiationStrategyCustomer PsychologyCopywritingGeneral MarketingInternet MarketingPricingSales TrainingCustomer Service

Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free Business SOS consultation with me to help you get unstuck.