Features and Benefits

Features and benefits can persuasively sell your story 
Substantiate Your Claims for Added Credibility

Consumers are getting smarter all the time.  Just because your advertising or marketing communications pieces say your product offers certain benefits doesn't mean the buying public will...uh...buy it.

Benefits (or "WII-FM")
During the buying process, your prospects will wonder "What's In It For Me" to spend the time and/or money to consider your product or service. How is your product better or different than all the other similar products out there? Of those attributes, which are the most compelling reasons (features and benefits) why your target audience should choose your product over your competitors'?


Rationale (or, Why Should I Believe You?)

Ever notice how some advertisers claim that their product is "10% larger," "better than Brand X" or "new and improved"? What they're doing is giving you a reason to believe why their product is better than others.

Parity products, such as bar soap or banks, for example, can be difficult to differentiate from competition. However, there may be some nuances that can exploited. Or, there may be an opportunity to create a new product or line extension to separate yourself from the pack. 

A note of caution.  Avoid hype! Don't overpromise what you're going to deliver...if you do, you run the risk of having very unhappy customers who can undermine all of your marketing efforts and dollars through poor word-of-mouth. 


A Note about Features vs. Benefits
Some of you may think that features and benefits are one and the same.  They're not.

Features describe specific product attributes or characteristics, such as color, ingredients, aroma or packaging.

Benefits describe the essence of what the product delivers to the end user.  Many times, benefits are emotional or intangible, as well as factual. "Provides peace-of-mind" and "makes one feel like a good parent" may be used in selling insurance, for example. In business, one emotional appeal could be "will help the prospect show her boss that she's capable."

Let's use mouthwash as an example. Several features may include its alcohol content, its color, and special mint flavor.

The benefits? Fresh breath, greater confidence in social settings, save your relationship because you won't gross out your significant other, etc.

Once the message is seen or heard by your prospect, what is it you want him or her to do next?   That's where the call-to-action comes in.


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