The Difference Between Features and Value


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There are numerous articles, blogs, Tweets and discussion groups that talk about content marketing. The consensus across the web is that content needs to be highly relevant and engaging to break through the clutter. So, why is it that so much B2B content misses the mark?

I call it feature focus.

I do a lot of work in the IT realm where features are a dime a dozen. Companies are proud of their solution's features. They worked hard to create and develop them. They listened to customers (hopefully) and designed their interfaces and the ways in which the solution functions to address outcomes their customers value.

The issue is that your prospects don't know all that. In fact, they likely don't care much unless they can get information that applies to their perspective on the problem they're trying to solve.

Unfortunately, because they know them so well, many companies create marketing content focused on the features.

A feature is something your product or solution does.

Value is something your customers get because of what your product enables.

Here's a partial list of "Key Benefits" found on a web page designated for a "business champion." (I had real hope when I saw the company had pages for buyer types.)

  • Single, universal index of all types of content, data and media
  • Advanced search features including dynamic facet generation, tag
    clouds and multi-lingual support
  • Sentiment analysis, concept clustering and classification
  • Search with SQL or keyword-based queries
  • Workflow and alerts to provide real-time updates to users and other

These are not benefits or value statements. They are product features. A business buyer will look at this list and click the back button in a flash. In fact, they might never even see this page as there's not a word included that a business user would be likely to use in a search query.

The company apparently expects the business buyer to know how to translate each of those statements into some kind of advantage. That's asking your prospect to expend way more effort than they're probably willing to do.

Whenever you get tempted to talk about your features, think about what they do and write about that instead. Just try it and see what happens. Tell your prospects a story that matters.

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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