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Marketing strategy: Define success with features and benefits

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The biggest mistake made in marketing–and a reason that success can be so elusive—is not clearly explaining what you are selling. Specifically the benefits. Consumers rarely make buying decisions based on a product or service’s features; yet that’s what most businesses promote over and over again. People don’t buy features; they buy the benefits that those features offer. So what is the difference between a feature and benefit? Oftentimes, there is a lot of confusion between the two.

Features are factual statements about often distinctive characteristics of a product or service. Features are a means of providing benefits to customers; for instance, “I have a ChFC designation” or “I complete 30 hours of continuing education each year” are features.

Benefits are value statements about the feature of a product or service, with an emphasis on what the customer gets. A benefit answers the question ‘Why should I care?’ A benefit tells you that you should care because of the result.