Have you ever caught yourself thinking “so what” when somebody is telling you what makes their product or service so amazing? This isn’t an uncommon reaction because most people are only telling you about the features of their product or service, and forgetting to explain the benefits entirley.
Relying on your prospective customers to extrapolate the benefits to them of using your products or services is risky. They may not understand your products and services well enough or it may even seem too much like hard work – especially if you have a savvy competitior who has done all the hard work for them.
In marketing we have a phrase called FAB – features and benefits.
A simple technique which makes translating features into benefits much easier is to ask the question “…and that means what?” after identifying the feature. The same features can even represent different benefits to a range of customers, so you need to put some thought into this and really understand the benefits for each customer.
Some benefits will be more important to the cusotmer or more compelling during the decision making process than others. You need to consider each benefit in turn and ascertain if that benefit is universal to all competing products or services or if that benefit is unique to your own product or service. That benefit that only you can provide would be part of your differentiation and become a distinct competitive advantage.
Here is an example of a ‘feature’ and the ‘benefit’ derived from that feature:
Our cars are German engineered. Okay, “so what”, lots of cars are ‘German’ engineered, big deal. Well, this generally means that they are made to a higher specification; the materials used in their construction are better quality and finish; they are more reliable; they spend less time broken down; and they maintain their value better over other manufacturers in the same class. Ah, now you’re telling me something!
Not all benefits will be ‘unique’ to you. So, you may have to be unique in how you promote them or represent them. If none of your benefits are unique, then you might try to promote a particular strength you have as a business, an aspect of your method or processes which gives you an advantage – or you can consider how you will further develop your product or service features to deliver benefits to your customers that are not already provided by other suppliers.
If you would like more information or help to develop your own features and benefits, please let us know.