Benefits not features

It must be one of the most often quoted ‘Marketing Maxims’ but how many people actually take the time to step back fully and apply the maxim to their business and their marketing mix? What does it really mean anyway? What are the steps to analyse and formulate your benefits and then, how should they be presented?

To start to answer these, let’s take a simple example. What does a consumer want when they buy a power drill?

If you answered any of the following – hammer action, keyless chucks, SDS, cordless, rechargeable – then I’m afraid, in my opinion, you are way out. If you included – convenience, speed, accuracy – then you are getting closer. However, from my perspective the answer is simple. Somebody buys a drill because they need a hole. End of.

Now that we know what they want, we can offer them a hole. Any ‘feature’ we think of is only of use if it increases the benefit realised by the customer. Consider the following two very rough taglines:

Wodgets Power Drills, hammer action in an affordable cordless form factor

Wodgets Power Drills – easy holes in any material in any location at any time

I hope you agree that the second speaks to the customer. Now – and only now – we can start to identify the benefits that matter.

Possible benefits (and why the customer feels the benefit)

  • Speed – I can get my shelf up without spending all day and missing the footy
  • Accuracy – The shelf won’t be wonky and I won’t have to do it again
  • Flexibility – I only have to buy one tool for my whole house

Now, and only now, can we start to improve our tagline and then lead into the rest of our marketing collateral.

Wodgets Power Drills – Fast, accurate results, every time.

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