Possibly the most important lesson to learn in marketing is the difference between features and benefits.
The simple truth is that people generally do not care about your features, they want to know how their lives will be improved after doing business with you.
Features are the attributes of your product or service. Technical specifications, ingredients, and methods of manufacturing are all features. Benefits are the changes your product or service provide.
Features describe you, benefits describe the results your customers will have.
The typical example of this is how Apple marketed the iPod Nano. There were numerous MP3 players before the Nano came out but none of them were dominated the market. This is because they focused on features like disk space and dimensions. Unless you were familiar with technology, those messages didn’t appeal to you. Apple quickly differentiated itself with the benefit of “1,000 songs in your pocket.” This message clearly tells people how their lives will improve after purchasing an iPod Nano.
Let’s go through another example:
You’re selling a supplement with several ingredients. The purpose of this supplement is to accelerate muscle gain. In this case, the ingredients are the features and the muscle gain is the benefit. Just like features, the ingredients are important to support your claims of muscle gain. But your benefit must come first.
But that example is a little too easy, let’s do a more complicated one:
You operate a mobile dog grooming service. Many business owners would market the “mobile” and leave it at that. The mobile is a feature though. The benefit is that dogs can be groomed in the comfort of their own homes. Or you save people time and make it convenient by coming to them. To get anyone to care about you over a typical grooming business, you need to tell them how there lives are going to be better with you in it.
What if you have multiple benefits?
Most products and services will have several benefits. It’s your job to figure out which benefit is most important to your target market. This can only be resolved with extensive testing and market research. Some markets care a great deal about time, others do not. Get to know your market and figure out what truly resonates with them.
Once you’ve figured out the most important benefit, it needs to be your primary message in everything you do. From product design to social media content, make sure people see the main benefit first. Once your audience knows why they should care, then you can cover the rest of the benefits and a full explanation of your features.
Focus on the main benefit.
Having trouble figuring out if you have a benefit or a feature? Put it in the comments and we’ll work through it together.