Features, benefits and quarter inch holes

One of the toughest challenges in marketing has always been how to present and discuss benefits vs. features to an audience and have those messages resonate with value. Many very smart, intelligent people get confused – and that’s understandable!

In the simplest terms, a feature is something that you offer – it’s about you. A benefit is about the prospect or customer – what they get out of what you have to offer – the “what’s in it for me.”

The confusion stems from that little voice in the back of your head that fills in the bridge between a feature and benefit. You know your competitive rates, (a feature) earns a customer more interest, hence more money – your little voice knows this instinctively and so it sounds like a benefit to you. But it’s not – the benefit is earning more money – that’s what’s in it for the customer and that’s what you should say.

Benefit-packed copy uses the word “you, you will, you can” – it’s all about the reader, not the product or institution. Use benefits to clarify your message to make sure the reader’s little voice doesn’t leave them with a different message than the one you intended.

The famous marketer Theodore Levitt said it best: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Use this test – if you can put “we” or “we offer” in front of a phrase -it’s a feature.

OK – so we know it’s still not easy to sort benefits and features – and sometimes it’s necessary to provide a list of features. But if you want to persuade someone, use benefits to make sure it’s easy for them to answer the “what’s in it for me.”

Hopefully this email has helped you a little – and made you think about how you position your institution in your website, brochures, calls, etc. Now, redo the quiz – which is a feature and which is a benefit?

  • Competitive rates
  • Online banking
  • Friendly service
  • Locally owned
  • We support the community
  • 100 locations
  • 200 ATMs
  • In business since 1942

Yes, they’re all features. And congratulations to our winner Bob Lenihan from Vectra Bank – he was the first respondent who got 100% on the quiz!

And of course we’re available if you want us to audit your marketing materials and pack it full of benefits. Contact me at 303-795-3539 or lauren@oconnellconsultinggroup.com.

How Good are you at Identifying a Feature vs. a Benefit?
Please Stop Saying That

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