Features and benefits are two complementary ideas that are surprisingly easy to get confused. However, understanding the difference between the two is critical to your marketing efforts since benefits are more successful at encouraging a customer to part with their hard earned dollars then features. The simple difference between features and benefits is this:

Features focus on your product or service. Benefits focus on your customer.

Another way to look at it is benefits are how the feature impacts your customer. Here are two examples of marketing content for the same product, but one is focused on features, and the other is focused on benefits:

Features:

“The HC90 Treadmill Ultra has triple-axis rotation capabilities that adapt in real time, a built-in HD display, the smallest footprint in its class, and a five-year warranty.”

Benefits:

“The HC90 Treadmill Ultra adapts the running surface to your needs, helping you reach your fitness goals fast. You can watch all your favorite movies on the HD display and never get bored. The compact HC90 fits easily into a crowded basement or busy workout room. Everything is covered by a five-year warranty so you can rest easy knowing that your purchase is protected.”

There are essentially three kinds of benefits. One is to avoid something the customer doesn’t like. The customer doesn’t want stress, so the warranty prevents that. The second is to give them something they want.  They do want to get fit fast, which the triple axis rotation can offer them. The third type is savings. People want to save time, space, and money. So, the small footprint saves space, making it easier to fit into a crowded room.

How To Discover The Benefits Of Your Features

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to translate your features into benefits:

  • Pick your brainstorming medium of choice, whether that is a computer, whiteboard, notepad, or napkin. Write a brief summary of who your customer is at the top in your words. Add a section about the sort of things they want. For example, your summary could be “Business executives in the automotive industry.” That’s a busy type of customer, so they want to save time.
  • Below that, write two columns, labeled “Features” and “Benefits.” Write down all features for your product or service in the left column.
  • For each feature, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself how the feature positively impacts your customer’s life. What is the result of this great feature? Write down any example you can think of, and highlight the ones that give them what they want from your customer summary section.
  • The benefits that give your client what they want are your strongest examples. When you are writing marketing content, lead in with those. They should be in your titles, headers, covers, whatever your potential customer see’s first. The other examples, along with features, can be listed as bullet points further down.

One Simple Trick To Rising Above The Competition

Another technique to keep in mind is pure empathy. Because every time you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, you are relating to them; understanding them. What they care about, what’s important, what’s trivial. Take the time to communicate your understanding into your marketing material. That can be tough to do, in short, fast ads, but other opportunities like blogs and web pages are fertile ground for planting the seeds of empathy to show that you really “get” the reader. And when your marketing content is ready to go blow-for-blow with all the competing ads, it’s that element of empathy that can set you apart and make your product or service “the one” the customer goes for out of all the other choices.

Despite this being a fundamental pillar of marketing strategy, there are a surprising number of businesses that get features and benefits confused. StemSide is intimately familiar with all kinds of marketing companies, from big-shot agencies to individual consultants. Let us help you find the help you need to make your marketing as powerful as it can be.

Did you complete the features to benefits translation exercise? What features and benefits does your product or service have? Post your comments below.

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