Did you know that U.S. infomercial sales were expected to hit $250 billion in 2015?¹ Wait, I don’t even own a Snuggie®! What is it exactly that these infomercials do to sell like gangbusters? They sell BENEFITS, BABY—and you should be selling benefits over features in your business too.
The reason I’m bringing up infomercial sales is to demonstrate the financial gain that can be realized from touting benefits and not simply features.
ProActiv® doesn’t talk about the benzoyl peroxide and water, they talk about the lack of ridicule and gain of social acceptance that comes with having clear skin.
The PedEgg® doesn’t promote a foot roller, they promote the avoidance of embarrassment. Let’s jump into Marketing 101: Two Foolproof Ways to Quickly Spot Benefits from Features.
What the Heck Is a Feature Anyway?
According to Google:
A feature is a distinctive attribute or aspect of something, a characteristic, quality, property, trait, hallmark, trademark, facet, factor, ingredient, component, element, theme; peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, quirk.²
What the Heck Is a Benefit?
According to Google:
A benefit is an advantage or profit gained from something. Synonyms: good, sake, welfare, well-being, comfort, ease, convenience, help, aid, assistance, service, reward, merit, boon, blessing, virtue, bonus, value.³
Let’s Take a Little Quiz, Shall We?
There’s so much talk about benefits these days and why they’re so important. Take a quiz to test your skills. Ready? Which one of these statements is a benefit?
- “We’ve been in business over 50 years.”
- “Our firm has over 1,000 employees.”
- “All of our electronics are Wi-Fi enabled.”
- “Our company is located in over 30 states.”
Ok, which one is a benefit?
NONE OF THEM! Yep, not a single one of them is a benefit. Confused? Keep reading.
Marketing 101: Two Foolproof Ways to Quickly Spot Benefits from Features
There are two easy ways to recognize the difference between a feature and a benefit.
Features are the WHAT.
Benefits are the SO WHAT.
Think of a feature as just that—a “what.” A feature is something that is specific, a fact, a measurement, a tangible.
Think of a benefit as the “so what.” The benefit is how someone’s life is going to change for the better. It can be an emotional result or what the feature does for you. It is usually intangible.
Let’s Look at Some Examples of Benefits vs. Features
Here are 10 examples to help you craft benefits from your features and let your customers know exactly what they’re buying.
|Product or Service||Feature (the What)||Benefit (the So What)|
|A watch||Tells the time||Spares you the embarrassment of being late|
|Cell phone||Is Wi-Fi enabled||Connects you to the world|
|Lazyboy chair||Contains goose down feathers||Lets you relax on air|
|Tax preparer||Follows the law||Keeps you free and out of jail|
|Elmo||Talks to children||Delivers a thousand smiles|
|Life insurance||Gives your family money after you die||Gives your family peace of mind|
|Dentist||Cleans your teeth||Gives you the confidence of a million dollar smile|
|Plastic surgeon||Fixes imperfections||Makes you the envy of many|
|DirectTV||Provides TV network access||Acts as your ears and eyes to the world|
|Real estate agent||Finds you a place to live||Helps you create a new chapter of memories|
Talking only about features kills your sales because you leave it up to the consumer to connect the dots between the feature and the benefit. Simply tell your prospects and customers what they’re buying and what they stand to gain.
Two Powerful Real-Life Examples
Look at the Mucinex website below. What are they really selling? Are they selling the ingredient recipe in the bottles? No, they are selling empowerment to kick the butt of your worst cold and flu and get the relief you’re desperately seeking.
Take a look at the ADT website below. What are they really selling? Are they selling the electronic contraption that’s mounted to your wall? No, they are selling the protection of those you love most. Aww…
The Bottom Line
Always start with the strongest benefits in your ads, newsletters, emails, and messages, then talk about the features. Don’t leave it up to your prospects to figure out what the benefits are from your list of features. Remember, there are two easy ways to recognize the difference between features and benefits: features are the WHAT, benefits are the SO WHAT.
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