Have you ever researched a product or service you’ve needed, only to find that you’re faced with a load of technical features, and have to figure out the benefits of it yourself?
If you can’t establish the benefits and find yourself saying ‘so what’ to the features I bet, like me, you look elsewhere.
First, let’s define the difference between features and benefits:
Feature = Dimensions, capacity, tech, colour, weight. Basically aesthetics, how it works and what it does.
Benefit = How it solves your customer’s problem or eases their pain or fear. How it makes them feel and why they’d tell others about it.
Example – Paracetamol tablet caplets:
Feature = lozenge shaped, coated, easy to snap in two.
Benefit = easier to swallow. What would you buy into first? The feature or the benefit?
The trap that features lay for business owners…
You’ve come up with a fantastic product or service. You’ve worked tirelessly to make it just so, you’ve designed packaging or service bundles, you’ve worked with other professionals to identify your market position and target audience, you’ve even looked at your competition and found your own unique identifiers. And you’re exceptionally proud of your end product. And so you should be! Of course, you’re eager to tell everyone how you made the features better than anyone else’s, but going back to a previous blog, ‘why’?
Why have you made it smaller?
Why have you made it easier to use?
As part of the customer journey as they move through the consideration stage, your customers already accept that you’re good at what you do, and that your product is great, but they want to know what makes your solution different to everyone else’s. That might be the fact that it’s smaller, but why is that better? It might be that it’s prettier, but why does your customer care what their hand sanitiser packaging looks like?
They care because they are driven by emotions. People buy from people, and people that sell to people make the sale!
A great example which I used in ‘Understanding your customer’s journey’, is Apple’s iPod. Apple could have talked about features, but instead they simply said ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’. Another example would be the mobile phone network, Three, who featured people ‘spamming’ friends and family with holiday photos whilst abroad. The feature = No roaming charges, the benefit = Sharing your experiences as they happen. And that’s what they showed in the adverts, because that’s what people do…
Which brings me to HOW you communicate the benefits of working with you.
Understanding your customers
I’ve already touched on the ‘people’ side of business, but now we take a closer look at who the people are that you want to lean in to your product or service and show an interest. This is customer profiling. Three knew their customers sent holiday snaps to those still at home, they even knew it was called ‘holiday spamming’, so their advert used that. They communicated in their customers language, they advertised on digital platforms where their customer hangs out.
In very simple terms, what does your customer care about, what do they like, where do they hang out, how do they use your product/service and how do they consume information? This should help you craft your message in the language your customer uses and place it where they will see it.
Beware the trap of leading with features! Lead with the benefits and then the features can be used to back them up. One way to link the benefits of a feature is the phrase “which means that”. The feature is x which means that y (resulting in the benefit to lead with).
I do hope this has given you food for thought and encouraged you to style your marketing messages in a more benefits-led way.
As you know, I’m always here to support entrepreneurs of all kinds, so for guidance on clarifying the benefits and unique identifiers within your business, or help with customer profiling, please do get in touch. I look forward to hearing all about your business (features included!) in a free business mentoring session.