A classic Marketing 101 lesson for small business is the distinction between features and benefits.
Features are descriptions of your product or service. When you discuss features, the focus is on your product or service.
Benefits are the ways in which your product’s features affect the customer. When you discuss benefits, the focus is on your customer.
Conventional marketing wisdom is that your small-business marketing should emphasize benefits, not features.
But take it one step further, to Marketing 201: what is the result of the benefit?
Below I have used some of my favorite products to illustrate features, benefits and results.
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
Feature: A wireless signal that extends 100 feet (my estimate)
Benefit: I can use my laptop anywhere in the house
Result: I can vary my work location, which makes me more creative and productive
Diaper Genie (thankfully, the Diaper Genie years are over in our house, but I remember the Diaper Genie fondly)
Feature: When disposed of, each diaper is individually sealed
Benefit: I had to directly handle each diaper only once
Result: My stress level as a parent was lowered
Third Tribe (a membership-only Web site for business owners)
Feature: Discussion board (forum)
Benefit: I can find answers to my marketing questions
Result: I don’t waste time and money searching for answers to my marketing questions
Feature: “Memory foam” built into the footbed conforms to the shape of the foot
Benefit: My shoes feel great and fit wonderfully
Result: I don’t spend any time thinking about aching feet
Feature: The ability to search the Web in real time
Benefit: I can see and react to what’s happening right now in my niche
Result: I am able to generate more page views for TheSolopreneurLife.com
DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket “Short Cuts”
Feature: Rebroadcast on Sunday night of all NFL games, with timeouts and time between the plays edited out
Benefit: I can watch an NFL game in less than 15 minutes
Result: I gain a competitive advantage in my fantasy football league because I can scout players quickly and efficiently
Feature: The ability to analyze the search-engine optimization of an article
Benefit: I can tweak articles to make them more SEO-friendly
Result: My SEO rankings rise, I get more traffic, my site becomes extremely profitable and I am able to retire early
Should You Emphasize Benefits or Results in Your Marketing?
The discussion of features, benefits and results begs the question: should you as a solopreneur emphasize benefits or results in the marketing of your small business?
When you emphasize results, does it make your marketing more easily understood—or does it make too many assumptions about your customers? Do you know your customers well enough to be able to use results effectively in your marketing? Do you run the risk of alienating your customers if you make incorrect judgments when describing results? Is that a marketing risk worth taking?
Do you describe customer results in your marketing?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.