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Features and Benefits: Highlighting Your Products

Tuesday, June 12, 2012   By Mike Reddy


Business owners who develop or market a new product often have a justifiable pride in what they are selling. When selling a new piece of technology they can probably go into great detail about all the features of that technology.

However, you don't necessarily want that kind of detail when you're marketing. Your customers are generally only interested in product features that translate into benefits.

The first step in emphasising the benefits you offer is to identify the product features that will provide the benefit. Think about the form of the product - its size, shape, texture, consistency and colour. For some products, taste or smell could be relevant.

Then think about how these features translate into benefits. If a product is small, is that a good thing? It could make it portable.

Think of practical features. Suppose you're making office chairs. How do your chairs rate in terms of adjustability, support, tilting and general ergonomics?

Quality is a feature that can easily be turned into a benefit. Quality speaks for itself, so that even with limited marketing, quality can generate good word-of-mouth.

But beware of claiming that you have a high-quality product unless you're sure that's true. People hate to be disappointed and negative word-of-mouth travels very fast.

Simplicity is another product feature that easily translates into a benefit. For example, you can market simple technology as easy-to-use.

Safety is another important feature. For example, children's toys might need to fit into age-related safety guidelines. However, safety is a feature that is difficult to convert into a competitive advantage. All your competitors should be providing safe goods as a minimum requirement.

Then there are a whole lot of design features, some to do with function and some to do with style. You can differentiate a product almost purely on style.

Take the case of vodka, for example. It's very difficult to distinguish between different vodkas in taste terms. But Absolut makes itself stand out through the shape of its bottle - a shape that people will pay a premium price to have sitting on their shelves.

Clearly understand the benefits and you have a significant advantage when it comes to marketing.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.