If you’ve ever worked on a full-fledged marketing campaign, you know the long hours fueled by caffeine and creativity, endless debates, and the anticipation of the big launch.
As the next few weeks fly by, you notice something troubling; your campaign is not doing well at all. In fact, it’s not generating any calls, sales, or engagement – nothing!
Face it, your campaign tanked. Miserably.
It happens to the best of us, but what went wrong?
From a lack of research to a design mistake, your campaign could have fallen flat for a whole handful of reasons.
However, it is likely that your campaign failed due to the poor message. Instead of highlighting the benefits of your product or service, you focused solely on the features. But what’s the difference? Why does it even matter?
I can hear my college professors snickering at that question right now. My friend, there is a huge difference and it most certainly matters.
Features Vs. Benefits
Let’s see if you can pass this little quiz. Is the following a feature or a benefit?
The Macbook Pro 15-inch model boasts over 5 million pixels.
If you guessed benefit, you will benefit greatly from reading this article. Pun intended.
The previous statement is a feature. A benefit would be stated as:
With over 5 million pixels, you can edit photos, videos and surf the web with unparalleled clarity.
Notice the difference?
Examples of features include:
- Retina Display
- 40 mpg
- One-click reports
But what are the benefits associated with these examples?
- Never strain your eyes to see the details of your Photoshop project again.
- Get where you need to go and back, and keep your wallet happy.
- Save time and increase productivity with a click of a button.
As customers, we are selfish. After all, we’re spending our own money on a product and/or service, and want to get the most for our buck. When shopping, it’s all about me, me, me and me! Sure, features are great, but what do I get out of it?
Want to sell? Show your customers the benefits associated with your product or service. As former Harvard marketing professor, Theodore Levitt, is known for saying, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
Your customers rarely care about the ‘how.’ For instance, I will be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about RAM, megapixels and other technical mumbo jumbo. Therefore, trying to sell me on your fancy new company by using stats, metrics, numbers and other numbers really will not work. Whether you’re Microsoft, Dell, Apple or another technology company, I will blankly stare at your advertisement trying to decipher the message.
On the other hand, if you were to tell me that your computer would help me improve my productivity and take my creativity to the next level, all through the lightning fast speeds, expansive storage capabilities and resounding graphics, you’d have me hooked.
Features Do Have Their Benefits. Wait, what?
Depending on the demographic you are targeting, features may actually work in your favor. For instance, is your target audience made up of primarily technology buffs, engineers and those who thrive on statistics and other metrics? If so, highlighting specific features of your product or service will work wonders.
For most companies, however, their target audiences could care less about features.
Benefits + Features = Success
Brian Clark of Copyblogger puts this entire concept into perspective with one simple sentence. “Sell with benefits, support with features”. His article details how we are attracted to the emotional benefits elicited from an advertisement, and then sold with help from the features of a product. The combination of the two is the key.
All aspects of your campaign need to follow suit. From your website sliders to your Facebook advertising efforts, the benefits need to be stressed throughout in order to truly achieve success. Stop forcing metrics and features down your customers’ throats, and tell them how they will benefit from your product. The next time you are tasked with creating and implementing a marketing campaign, focus on the emotional benefits and you will see and improved campaign performance.