The Difference Between Benefits and Features


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One of the things I find in working with B2B marketers is that it’s so dang easy to reference features rather than benefits in marketing content. Some of this is just because we know so much about our product and solution features. But, it’s also because those dang features have a sneaky way of masquerading as benefits.

Feature or benefit?

  • Customized reporting that enables you to pull data from a variety of sources with a few clicks.
  • Instantly assess the insights from operational data through a visual representation to make better decisions in real-time.
  • Segment your database by demographics or activity to create customized lists.
  • Target the right message to the right customer at the right time to increase pipeline momentum.
  • Streamline workflow with role-based assignments.
  • Enable collaborative exchanges among product development teams to reduce time to market. 
  • Ensure privacy of patient records in compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Features are what your product enables your customers to do.

Benefits are the outcomes your customers get that help them achieve business objectives.

The most relevant marketing content is focused on benefits. How you present them is a source of differentiation for your company. Features are a dime a dozen from a prospect’s perspective.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Your prospects care about what’s in it for them.
  • Feature statements are often not intuitively understood by prospects in the early stages of trying to determine how to solve a problem.
  • Feature statements often contain that “secret-handshake” lingo that prospects have not yet acquired.
  • Understanding features takes more effort than visualizing benefits as applied to a prospect’s specific situation.
  • Features are difficult to evaluate until a prospect understands what it’s possible to accomplish.

Education must happen in stages. When your marketing content focuses on showing your prospects that they can indeed solve their problem and potentially achieve more than they previously thought possible, they acquire the motivation to learn just how to get what they now want.

No one wants to be educated about features until they clearly understand why they should care.

Marketing content focused on sharing expertise enables your company to use marketing content to demonstrate and prove that what you promise can be done; that it makes solid business sense; and to substantiate that there’s a reliable method or process to achieving the desired outcome.

Evidence-based marketing content proves that your products deliver that. (case studies, analyst reports, referrals, etc.)

Now it makes sense to speak directly to the features and why the way your features work makes your solution the best choice when all the other options are considered. Do so before your prospects understand what they can gain and you’re likely to lose them.

Focusing on benefits is about answering all the questions your prospects have about solving a problem based on their self interest. Not yours.

Go look closely at your content. Have any features snuck into it masquerading as benefits?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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