Marketing Features Vs. Benefits

Benefits Are Results

The best way to understand the true benefit of your product or service-or to answer the "What's in it for me?" question-is to focus instead on results. A customer's perception of each feature's results is what attracts him or her to a particular product or service. When someone chooses a VCR with a self-setting clock, the assumption is that the benefit is convenience, but the actual results are that they don't have to read the instructions, watch a blinking 12:00, and, most important, feel stupid. Those results are the true benefits.

When you try to sell the features of your product or service, you're making the customer do all the work to figure out why they want the feature. It's in a seller's best interest to draw the connection for them. But to do that, you have to know the results yourself. Let's take another look at that features list to see the possible benefits from the customer's point of view:

Self-setting clock: I won't feel dumb!

50-number speed dial: I can keep in touch with my best customers without effort, and I won't get frustrated misdialing.

One-click financial reports: I can see exactly where my business is financially at any time. I can spend more time with my family instead of trying to figure out whether I'm making enough money or not. I can see business what-ifs instantly.

Custom programs: It will accomplish exactly what I need, and I won't have to worry paying for services I don't want.

Open 24 hours: When my pregnant wife craves pickles and ice cream at 4 a.m., I won't have to disappoint her.

Batteries included: I'll never have to see the crushed look on my child's face when his toy won't work because I forgot to buy batteries.

By this time, you should be mentally going over every sales pitch or marketing message you've been using with great trepidation and rightly so. If you look carefully and honestly, you'll most likely find that your benefits are really just more features.

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