This post is about understanding features and benefits from a marketers perspective.
As a small business marketer, you deliver goods or services to your customers every day. Those goods and services have a benefit for your customer – that’s why they pay you. They are buying the benefit.
So: if you are a carpet cleaner, you may provide super-clean carpets, fast friendly service, and flexible appointment times. In marketing parlance, these are called features. Customers do not pay you for this.
What customers pay you for is the benefit you provide them. These benefits are not always obvious even to the consumer.
Percieved benefits (meaning perceived by the customer) vary widely. The obvious service you provide as a carpet cleaner (super-clean carpets) may translate in the customers mind to mean “a healthy place for my child to play.” The concrete, tangible benefit for this consumer is actually peace of mind. For other customers, this may translate into “people will think I keep a very clean household.” Which ultimately satisfies self-esteem and belonging needs: “I will be perceived positively by others”
Lets say one of the features of your company is the fact that you have flexible business hours and can set appointments after hours and on weekends. A possible benefit to the consumer is: “my schedule will not be disrupted, and I can spend time doing the things I want to/need to do.” Which fundamentally means “convenience.”
In your communications material (for a carpet cleaner, lets say in the content of your website) the benefits are often preceded by a “you get” type statement which is directed at a potential customer. This is where you use the features to support and reinforce the benefits. For example:
“Because ABC cleaners leaves your carpets super-clean, you get the peace of mind that your family is living in a healthy environment.’
Or, “Enjoy the convenience of extended working hours and flexible appointment times with ABC cleaners – so you can spend time on the important things (show image of customer engaged in esoteric oddball pastime: sketching their pet iguana, etc.)
Your features and benefits should be concrete and easy to understand. “Extended business hours for your convenience” doesn’t work as well as “We’ll work around your schedule, anytime. That’s our Convenience Promise.”
Small business marketer homework:
1. Write down all the features of your business, innovative and mundane alike.
2. Think of the key benefit(s) offered by each feature.
3. Think of what those benefits may mean to the potential consumer, fundamentally. (Put on your psychology hat.)
4. Write down a statement using a concrete, tangible benefit.
Starting to feel like a marketer? Good. Look for my next post: your brand does not exist.