It’s a major debate that comes up with nearly every advertising project – product features vs. benefit. To us, there is a simple answer, but this subject often causes much controversy on the client side.
Business clients are very proud of their products and all the effort it has taken to perfect. Sometimes, facts like these are important to get customers to understand what makes THIS version of the widget better than all the others. The problem this style, however, is that it’s not very interesting, and with so much information bombarding consumers every day, leaving it up to them to interpret is a dangerous gamble.
I remember one example where a successful vacuum company (“Company A”) relied on listing all their new features each year. A wiser competitor (“Company B”) decided to take a different approach by advertising the idea of more leisure time for people who chose their vacuum. So, while Company A may have had a more technically advanced product, Company B dominated the marketplace with greater relevance for the consumer’s life. Later on, as Company A continued to push more and more features, Company B came out with fun colors – another move that connected more emotionally.
The focus for any company should always be on the customer experience. This doesn’t mean that all the great features should be dismissed and replaced with some snappy headline. But they do need to be understood in the context of the benefit.
Rather than saying “our vacuums offer a 5.0 peak horsepower,” Company A should have said “our vacuums offer 60% more horsepower than the average vacuum, giving YOU the power to clean your house quicker.”
It’s important to remember that features are really technical responses to a market or customer need. By engaging the reader in a way that is more centered around Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Safety, Belonging, Esteem and Fulfillment), a company can create deeper consumer relationships that will connect well beyond features.
Businesses that continue to focus solely on a product-centric approach will likely end up just going home. Bottom line – don’t flood the customer with dozens and dozens of granular bullet points. Rather, romance them into desiring what your product or service will DO for them!
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