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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The Elevator Pitch

I’m often asked what makes a good elevator pitch and generally I respond with a question. Not the smoothest tactic around, probably, but if the person asking me the question is willing to engage, the process of answering my question helps them more than a standard answer ever would.

What is my question I hear you ask?

“What is the purpose of an elevator pitch?”

So many times, people look for a quick patch without going back to basics. An elevator pitch is short. VERY short. Check the definitions if you wish, but even in a skyscraper, you will typically have less than a minute to deliver it. You have to make an impact, and you have to have a takeaway. That’s it. The end. Nothing else. Do you agree?

See what I did there? This is not (really) an exercise in self-indulgent bragging, but that paragraph was short, hopefully grabbed your attention and has a takeaway or call to action. Anything else is redundant. For me its even more simple. The only purpose of giving an elevator pitch to someone else is because you want to motivate them to follow up with you. You want them to call. You want them to do some research. You want them to want to. You need them to want to. And you need them to remember you for long enough to do the required action before the inevitable distractions take you out of their mind again.

So, we will often talk about presentations needing a beginning, a middle and an end. We will discuss foils having a magic number of bullet points. We will spout all of this learned wisdom. And so will everyone else.

Go back to basics. Make them want to remember you. Make them call. Got it? If not, please call me….

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