May 4, 2004 Volume 3 Issue 44
New ... and a Change - Part II
If you missed it last week,The Works of Marketing with Ray is changing.
Last week I told the full story - this is a short version.
This 48 time a year publication has become nearly 'too much'. Maybe not for you ... certainly for me. So, I've made a change ... we're going back to basics.
The frequency remains ... the E-zine will come to you 48 times a year. The feature article remains. Words from Anonymous stays. There may, or may not, be "... a loose thought". Each issue will have a tad about our company. That's it.
Here we go with this edition.
The Difference Between Features & Benefits ... and what difference it really makes!
A number of times I've written about features and benefits.
It is time, again.
Why? Because many are forgetting, again, that your marketplace does not buy bells and whistles and red buttons. No ... they buy what happens when you ring the bell, blow the whistle or push the button.
Twice in April I met with marketers who were defining a key feature as an offer.
They did not understand the difference. In both cases the feature was strong ... yet, rather than talk the benefit to the customer, they had chosen to make the feature itself an important point in the message. To compound the misunderstanding, neither explained why the buyer would gain or how they would be better off making a positive decision. They just "assumed".
This has prompted me to schedule a few words about an offer as the topic in next weeks E-zine ... let's today define a feature, and then a benefit.
You truly must fill your marketing message with information / data / ideas about the benefits of doing business with you. To do that you must know the difference between a product or service feature, and the benefit from each. Here is a simple definition of each ... first for features.
A feature helps to distinguish one product from another.
All products and services in a category are not alike. Similar, not the same. That's why Hertz and Avis and National and Budget and Alamo and Enterprise all exist. They all rent cars, yet, their collection of features distinguish one from the other.
A feature is a characteristic of the product or the service you are selling.
And this characteristic is usually different from the competition. Or, at a minimum, it is something they talk about that others do not. Southwest Airlines does not offer assigned seating, vs. almost all their competition. They have a unique feature, today, in the airline industry.
A feature is inherent in the product -- part of the product whether or not it is sold.
Meaning it is there whether or not you sell your service or product. The feature is still there. The OnStar navigation system for your car is there for you, if you have it on, or if you do not. It is still there. A feature hangs with you, 'sits', waiting.
A benefit is different. Here is how;
A benefit ties the product feature to the customer needs. If there is no need, there will be no sale.
Needs, not wants or desires or hope drive a response. Sure, the prospect can 'want' something so strongly they rationalize they 'need' it. I have a good friend with a Ferrari who has done that successfully for a number of years. It doesn't have to be logical - frequently it is pure emotion. And still, it is very true. Benefits help you show 'needs'.
A benefit is the good the buyer gains from your product or service. It is what the buyer gains ... not what the seller gains.
'Yes', this is very true. It is not what you, the provider, earn or gain or how you profit. A benefit IS all about what the buyer gains, or earns, or saves, or makes. You will be unsuccessful in selling me a set of golf clubs because I see no benefit to me in playing golf. Yet, both the Bill's in my life - my brother-in-laws - are each avid golfers. They will understand your golf club features and translate them to benefits they will enjoy.
Of course, when your customer benefits - you do too. Yet, you enjoy only after you have a happy buyer.
A benefit cannot exist without a buyer. There must be a buyer if there is going to be a benefit.
Another truism. Your product sitting on a shelf in a warehouse or your service laying dormant in your mind or spelled out on a piece of paper is just there ... until you have a buyer. Then your features go into action and your benefits rise to the top. Yet, nothing happens - ever - without a buyer. The customer truly does come first!
You must know the difference between product and service features and the benefits they bring. When you do, and execute your DM projects with that knowledge, you are well on your way toward making your message more understandable ... and then meaningful to your prospect.
Translation; you'll get more action!
WOW, is this one from Anonymous true.
It is so-so easy to give up before you've gotten to your goal. Before you reach your objective. This fast-fast paced world is impatient for instant results. Many times that does happen. Frequently it should happen.
So, from Anonymous, a sparkling thought;
"A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it."
The RJm Story
www.RayJutkins.com tells you more about me and the RJm group then even my mother knew.
Within the collection you'll find a few words and a bunch of thoughts that you might find useful if you're looking for a speaker or seminar leader. www.powerdirectmarketing.com takes you to those pages. My #1 keynote speech, something all about people vs. 'things' and 'stuff' is www.itiswhatsnext.com.
When you're looking for some facts on how to do direct marketing right, visit www.marketingwithray.com ... there are literally hundreds of pages of tips and ideas.
If you'd like to 'talk' about just almost anything, send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com. Or phone 1+805+771-8300.
See you next week.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.