Benefits or Features: What Does Your Digital Marketing Focus On?

February 29, 2016 Doug Milnor

It would be great if every company was able to operate in a blue ocean. Unfortunately, creating an uncontested market isn't easy. It takes time, patience, a proactive plan and the follow-through capabilities to see that plan to its end. However, the one differentiating factor for all blue ocean enterprises is that they all concentrate on their product or service's benefits. It's a strategy digital marketing professionals can easily adopt.

First, let's define features and benefits. Features are unique characteristics, differentiators and add-ons that a product has that set it apart from its competition. Benefits are the positive results that come from using those features. Only a portion of customers can immediately convert features into benefits. However, all customers immediately recognize benefits.

Digital marketing

Content focused on benefits appeals to a wider audience and is easily shared on social media.

So, why should digital marketing teams focus on benefits over features? Answering this question involves defining each concept and outlining how benefit-centric content helps to spotlight those all-important solutions today's customers are looking for. Success begins and ends with an understanding of the difference between benefits and features and how you can use that knowledge to better connect with your target audience.

Focusing on Features

A common mistake companies make is to assume that all customers have the technical background, understanding and product knowledge to appreciate information related to features. Many companies try to one-up each other in terms of the features they offer and much of their digital marketing is focused on promoting these features. However, not every customer is tech-savvy or knowledgeable enough to understand the value related to the features; customers want to know what's in it for them. In other words, they are looking for a solution to a problem. While features may be the power that provides the benefit the customer will appreciate, most customers are focused on the outcome, not the technicalities that make the outcome possible.

Companies whose content focuses predominately on features will find it hard to define how those features solve problems. They'll boast about the payoffs those features and add-ons provide, but they won't translate them into quantifiable benefits all customers can appreciate. More importantly, being too technical with your content means you're ignoring a large portion of your market, a portion who would likely buy but choose to abandon pursuit because they can't connect with the product or understand its inner workings.

Digital marketing

When you solve a problem, you win a customer.

Focusing on Benefits

No, you're not doing your content or company a disservice by focusing on the personal benefits that come from buying your product. What you're doing is defining a baseline, one where you are educating customers on how your product's benefits solve problems and one where you are appealing to your entire audience. The awareness and educational phase is the first and most important part of your buyer's journey and it's why your product's benefits must be front and center in your content creation strategy.

Benefits work because they're understood by all. A product's technical features typically come into play when tech-savvy individuals with similar likes and dislikes speak about those features in exclusive groups. However, when part of a larger group, those individuals fall back to describing the product's ease-of-use and simplicity. Your content must do the same.

If you want your content to better connect with your audience, but are unsure about how to focus that content around personal benefits, then contact us.

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