In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, the adage “features tell, benefits sell” remains more relevant than ever. It is essential to understand that while features are the backbone of your product, it’s the benefits that truly resonate with your audience. This blog, which continues our month-long focus on “Talking to Your Customer,” delves into the transformative power of focusing on benefits over features in your marketing strategy. 

Understanding the Difference: Features vs. Benefits 

First, let’s clarify the distinction.  

Features are the characteristics of your product – the technical aspects, specifications, and functionalities. They are factual statements that are measurable and describe what the product is and what it does.  For instance, a coaching program might feature a series of 12 one-hour sessions over six months with a certified coach – this is a feature. 

On the other hand, benefits explain why these features matter. They are the outcomes or improvements clients experience as a result of these features. They are the real reasons people enroll in coaching programs. The benefit of the 12-session coaching program is not just the accumulation of hours spent with a coach but rather the personal growth, clarity, and actionable strategies clients gain to achieve their goals and overcome challenges. It’s about the transformation they experience and how it positively impacts their personal and professional lives. 

The Fries Analogy: Adding Context to Product Features 

Imagine ending every feature list with the phrase, “And would you like fries with that?” This analogy humorously underscores the impersonal, transactional nature of simply listing features without context. Just as adding fries to an order is a standard upsell in fast food, rattling off features can feel like an indifferent sales pitch. It lacks the personal touch that connects with customers on an emotional level. 

Crafting a Story: Benefits as the Heart of Your Narrative – A Coaching Program Example 

  1. Identify the Emotional Connect: Every benefit of a coaching program should address an emotional need or aspiration of the clients. Whether it’s the satisfaction of achieving personal goals, the confidence gained from professional development, or the relief of overcoming personal barriers, focus on how the program enriches the client’s emotional and psychological well-being. 
  1. Speak to the Problem: Directly address the challenges or issues the target audience is facing. Position the coaching program as a tailored solution. For instance, if the program offers career coaching, highlight how it empowers clients to navigate career transitions confidently, equipping them with strategies to tackle new challenges in their professional journey. 
  1. Create Relatable Scenarios: Use real-life examples to demonstrate the benefits of the coaching. Illustrating a scenario where a client successfully navigates a challenging workplace situation or achieves a significant personal milestone due to the skills and insights gained from the program makes the benefits tangible and compelling. 
  1. Leverage Storytelling: Develop narratives around the coaching program that focus on the transformative benefits. These stories should paint a vivid picture of the journey from challenge to triumph. Highlight testimonials or case studies where clients have seen significant improvements in their personal or professional lives, capturing the essence of what the coaching program aims to achieve. 

By weaving the benefits of the coaching program into a narrative that resonates with the emotions, challenges, and aspirations of the audience, you not only showcase the value of the program but also forge a deeper connection with potential clients. 

Integrating Benefits into Your Marketing Strategy 

  1. Social Media and Advertising: Use visuals and copy that highlight the benefits. Instead of just showcasing the product, show it in action, being used in ways that enhance people’s lives.
  2. Content Marketing: Write blogs, case studies, and create videos that tell stories centered around the benefits. Explain how real customers have used the product to improve their lives.
  3. Sales Strategy: Train your sales team (that includes you) to talk about benefits. They should be adept at translating features into advantages and improvements in the customer’s life.
  4. Customer Feedback: Use testimonials and reviews that speak to the benefits. Hearing real stories from other customers is often more convincing than any sales pitch.

In conclusion, while features are the “what” of your product, benefits are the “why.” They are the heart of your product’s story. By focusing on benefits, you not only make your product more appealing but also create a deeper connection with your audience. Remember, people don’t just buy products; they buy better versions of themselves. Make sure your marketing speaks not only to the mind but also to the heart.