Features vs Benefits

small business marketing strategies

Is your business blog’s content in need of sales training?  If you want your content to perform like a marketing superstar, then you’ll have to craft it with showcasing your product or service’s benefits in mind.

Creating marketing messages which are focused on benefits instead of features may be even more important than tightly targeting your marketing message.

The following phrase is relentlessly pounded into the heads of aspiring sales people, “Features tell – while benefits sell.”   Those aspiring sales people are taught that they key to successfully closing sales is to  focus upon benefits instead of features.

Unfortunately, many people have trouble distinguishing between features and benefits.. This point was driven home recently when I picked up a box of facial cleansing wipes.   On the side of the box in bold print was the following:

4 Benefits in Every Cloth

1. Cleanse
2. Exfoliate
3. Tone
4. Hydrate

Did you notice a problem with that list?  

The ability of the cloths to cleanse, exfoliate, tone and hydrate are all FEATURES  of the cloths – not benefits.

If you’re one of Proctor & Gamble’s multi-billion dollar brands, then you have the  luxury of allowing the consumer to “fill in the blank”  with the unspoken benefits your products or services.  For the rest of us,  let’s clarify the difference between features and benefits.

The Why Behind the Buy:

In the case of the box of cleansing wipes, the benefits are almost “self – explanatory.”  This is dangerous territory – because one must never “assume” when it comes to customer communication.

The benefits of the cleansing cloths would include:

1. Younger looking skin
2. A radiant, youthful glow
3. Smoother, firmer skin
4. A more beautiful you.

FEATURES describe the cloths and what they do.  They clean your skin, they exfoliate, they tone and they hydrate.

BENEFITS describe why the features matter to a buyer. For example, skin that is clean, toned and hydrated looks younger than skin that is not.  Exfoliation is also an important part of helping skin to look its best.

Remember, women who purchase this product aren’t buying the features listed,what they’re “buying” is younger, better looking skin.

Features tell – Benefits Sell

Charles Revson the founder of Revlon cosmetics once said, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope.”

Despite launching a cosmetic company during the depths of the Depression, Revson was able to build a multi-million dollar company on the power of focusing on the benefits instead of the features.

If your marketing messages aren’t making an impact on your bottom line – check to see if you’re confusing benefits with features.


Why you need a niche marketing strategy for your business

niche marketing strategyThe internet is quickly becoming the best way to reach new customers and build your business.  However, in order to effectively advertise your business on the internet, you absolutely MUST have a niche marketing strategy in place if you plan to effectively use the internet to advertise your business.

After years of working with small business owners on developing successful niche marketing strategies, I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest “barrier” to the successful adoption of a successful niche marketing strategy lies within the business owner’s mind.

The typical consulting conversation with a business owner always begins well.  The business owner has contacted me in search of a more effective and cost efficient means of finding new customers and building their business and they’re always open to the IDEA of focusing upon a tightly targeted niche market in theory.

However their enthusiasm often turns into trepidation as they actually begin the process of targeting their ideal niche.

The Best Niche Marketing Strategy

The best niche marketing strategies follow this basic three step process :

  1. identifying the niche
  2. identifying the problems experienced by this audience
  3. communicating the solution your product/services offers for the problems being experienced by the niche audience.

Where the process breaks down is often step 2 – identifying the problems the niche market is experiencing.  The most challenging niche marketing strategy sessions are with the business owner who has no idea what purpose his/her product or service is performing in the lives of the members of the  targeted niche market.

There was a time prior to approximately 2008 – when your business could successfully sell products and services without a clear understanding of the product or services role in the consumer’s GDP.  (Goals, Desires, Problems)   Back in those days, consumers were basking in the “wealth” hidden within their property holdings.   These consumers spent freely because they perceived that they had significant “savings” built into their home or other property.  Then, the big real estate “crash” happened – and suddenly business owners were faced with a new reality.

Consumers began spending their money differently – more cautiously.  Business owners who had never given a thought about the role their product or service played in consumers lives were suddenly faced with a huge problem.

In the years which have followed, many business owners who didn’t want to think about their businesses’ role in consumer Goals Desires and Problems have had to face the music of the current age.    They can either identify the reasons members of a particular niche market may want/need the products or services they’re – or they can close up shop and go to work for a business that does understand these basics.

The good news is that once a business owner embraces the fact that they need to communicate their solution to their target audience’s problems – then the rest of the process of creating a successful niche marketing strategy is not only easy – but can be an incredibly fulfilling experience.  The hardest part of developing a niche marketing strategy is often breaking through the resistance of the business owner to the necessity of the process.