Features vs. benefits and why the difference matters

March 11, 2024

March 11, 2024

When you know what makes your product better than your competition, it can be tempting to focus your marketing on those features. Including how it improves your customer's life is what makes your message resonate.

A benefit gives the feature value. It’s what actually matters to customers and what makes them care about the feature. A cell phone’s whopping terabyte of storage is impressive, but “you can record every moment and never miss a memory” is what that feature actually means to a shopper.

Benefits are tied to emotion, and it’s emotion that moves us.

Benefits can also be more easily understood. Deeper slots and sipes describe a winter tire, but the confidence you feel driving winter roads with your kids in the back seat is what sells that tire. Being more relatable also makes the benefit more memorable.

"So what?" is a helpful way to hone in on a feature's benefit. If a special tile grout has a component that means it never needs more than a wipe – so...? "So you can spend less time scrubbing your kitchen counters and more time chefing up a storm."

Even if it’s obvious, it’s still worth stating the value. Everyone understands that being open longer hours is more convenient to customers, but “so you can walk to your car, not race to it” lets them imagine a less hectic and more pleasant experience than rushing to get to your competition who closes earlier.

But don’t forget features altogether. While the emotional tug of a benefit makes us want something, the feature appeals to our logic. It backs up the benefit, and validates our decision to buy.

Putting both to work in your marketing is key. Clearly communicate a product’s positive impact in a customer’s life and provide reason for them to feel good about purchasing it.

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