In addition to knowing the difference between needs and wants, another marketing concept you need to learn to create great advertisements is the difference between features and benefits.
An effective way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper.
On the left side, list all the features of your product. Features describe what a product is, has, or does. For example, if you’re selling bottled water, here are some features:
- is made of plastic
- contains 30% less plastic than other bottles
- comes from carefully selected mountain springs
These are objective qualities of your product. And if buying were purely a rational process, selling would be as simple as listing features.
Luckily, buying is NOT an entirely rational process. In reality, another factor weighs in before rationality – that factor is the emotional persuasion.
You want to stimulate in your potential customer a feeling of excitement for your product, and your advertisement will do exactly that. So for every feature you listed for your product, come up with a benefit. Do this by asking the following question:
What do these features mean to your customer?
- A bottle made from plastic is recyclable.
- A bottle made from 30% less plastic is more eco-friendly.
- Water from carefully selected mountain springs is of high-quality and pure.
Put this on the right side of the page.
|Made of Plastic||Recyclable|
|30% Less Plastic||More eco-friendly|
|Comes from carefully selected springs||High quality, pure|
Once you have these ordinary benefits, don’t stop there. You can go even deeper.
How do you figure out a deeper benefit?
Ask the “why” question. Why would people want bottled water that’s recyclable? Eco-friendly? Made of pure water?
|Ordinary Benefit||Deeper Benefit|
|Recyclable||Saves you money over the long-term|
|Eco-friendly||Reduces the negative impact you have on the environment|
|Pure||Healthy, good for you|
Why would they want to save money over the long-term? So they can spend their hard-earned money on more important things?
Why would they want to reduce the impact they have on the environment? Because one day their future children will be living in the world they left behind?
Why would they want to have good health? Because getting sick is painful? Because they want to live long enough to see their children and grandchildren grow up?
There isn’t a single answer to these questions. Keep going until you’ve described very specific benefits or desires that you think are important to your customer. These should be based on dreams that excite them, or fears that worry them.
Figure out how your product provides benefits that satisfy deeper and stronger emotions. Then work them into your advertisements and they’ll be much more powerful.
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