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Features and benefits are two distinct concepts in marketing that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.
Specific characteristics or attributes of a product or service. These are the tangible and measurable aspects of the offering, such as its size, color, shape, weight, or materials used. Objective and factual, they describe what the product is or what it can do.
- Specific characteristics of a product or service, such as its size, color, or materials used.
- Describe what a product is
- Objective and factual
- Appeal to logic
- Important to include in product descriptions
- When creating marketing materials, it’s important to translate features into benefits to demonstrate how the product or service will meet the customer’s needs and solve their problems.
Example – Features for a smartphone:
- 6.5-inch OLED display
- 128GB internal storage
- Dual rear-facing camera (12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide)
- 4K video recording at 60fps
- Face ID and Touch ID biometric authentication
- Water and dust resistance (IP68 rating)
- A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
- 5G capable
- Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- iOS 15 operating system
Benefits (Why did they create those features)
Positive outcomes or solutions that customers gain from using a product or service. These are the intangible and emotional aspects of the offering, such as how it saves time, money, or effort, or how it enhances quality of life or improves health. Subjective and emotional, they describe what the product does and how it helps customers.
- Describe what a product does and how it helps customers
- Are the positive outcomes or solutions that customers gain from using a product or service
- Subjective and emotional
- Appeal to emotions
- Benefits are what truly sell a product or service
- Often more memorable and impactful than features
- Effective marketing should focus on the benefits of a product or service rather than just its features
- It’s also important to highlight unique and specific benefits that set the product or service apart from competitors
Example – Benefits for a smartphone:
- Enjoy a large, high-quality display that makes it easy to watch videos, browse the web, or play games.
- Store all your favorite apps, photos, and videos with ease, without worrying about running out of space.
- Capture stunning photos and videos with professional-level quality, thanks to the dual rear-facing camera and 4K video recording capabilities.
- Securely unlock your phone and make payments with ease, thanks to the Face ID and Touch ID biometric authentication features.
- Use your phone confidently, even in challenging environments, with its water and dust resistance.
- Enjoy lightning-fast performance and seamless multitasking, thanks to the A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and 5G capability.
- Connect to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for faster and more reliable wireless connectivity.
- Enjoy the latest and greatest features of the iOS 15 operating system, including new ways to stay connected, organize your life, and protect your privacy.
Benefits appeal to customers’ emotions and needs, such as their desire for convenience, security, and high-quality experiences. Like with Apple, 1000 songs in your pocket. People care about how a product will benefit them, not about the features.
Features describe what a product is, while benefits describe what it does and how it helps customers. Features appeal to logic, while benefits appeal to emotions. Effective marketing messages should focus on the benefits of a product or service, as they are what truly sell it. Understanding the difference between features and benefits is crucial in creating effective marketing messages that resonate with customers and drive sales. By focusing on the benefits of a product or service and highlighting its unique advantages, businesses can more effectively communicate the value of their offerings to customers.
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