Are You A Features Or A Benefits Marketer?
If you spend much time diving into marketing principles, it won’t be long before you will come across the concept of features vs benefits. For the new salesman or marketer, this can be a hard concept to wrap your mind around and to apply consistently to your marketing plan. Why? One reason is that marketers often trick themselves into believing features are actually benefits. Let’s take a look at this classic sales and marketing principle of features and benefits, see how we can apply the lessons to our marketing plan, and increase our sales and conversions.
By: T. Eldidge
So, what are features and benefits anyway?
Each product or service that you can sell has both features and benefits attached to them. To reach the greatest potential in sales, you must know what the features and benefits are of the items you are selling. More importantly, you must know when to and when not to communicate each one.
A feature is a fact about your product or service. It’s the description that you often see on sales literature and product packaging. What you have are a list of features about a cool product. There is not a benefit listed in there at all. Why is this important to note? Simply because it’s not features that sell a product or a service, it’s the benefit.
Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that the consumer will do the work of translating the features into the benefits. My guess is that you were doing that with the list. But when you are the marketer, whether it’s with your book or your related services, you can not afford to leave it to the consumer to translate your features into benefits. You must sell them on the benefits yourself.
A benefit answers what problem is solved or what need is filled by the product or service. It’s the “So what?” question; the “What does this mean to me?” question that your product or service answers.
Let’s apply this to your book. Will people buy your landscaping book because you discuss how to bring 15 species of trees back from the brink of death or because they can save time and money by saving their tree and not having to go through the ordeal of digging up their old one, spending a small fortune on a new one, and engaging in the back-breaking toil of planting a new one?
Will people buy your murder mystery because it has received 20 five start ratings, been featured in USA Today, and has won 6 awards or because it will suck them into a world that will keep them from being able to put the book down because of the intrigue and compelling characters?
Will people buy your how-to book because of its 42 chapters of tips and instructions, checklist of activities, and real life case studies or because it will take their hand and guide them through the completion of their task so they don’t have to have to feel dumb, spend hours looking for the answers they can get now in your book, or spend a fortune to have an expert complete the task for them?
“So what?”; “What’s in it for me?”
I am not saying that features don’t belong in a marketing communication piece, but I am saying that you need to make sure that your customers can find the answers to the two questions above. If they can’t, it doesn’t matter how long or impressive your lists of features are, they will move on until they find a product or service that can answer those two questions for them. If you write your marketing piece from the perspective of the person asking, “So what?; “What’s in it for me?”, then you will be well on your way of crafting a marketing piece that leaves far less money on the table than would otherwise be left. And that will mean more sales for you, more satisfied customers spreading the word about your book, which means even more sales for you. <--benefit. [raw_html_snippet id="ad3"]