This is probably the most common mistake I see in communication today, although it’s honestly reviewing the basics and to even be overviewing it seems like marketing 1.0. I wonder, with the proliferation of communication tools, whether we forget to focus on benefits, or whether we are no longer training the difference between them?
Why is a benefit so important?
A single minded benefit, well-chosen and based on strong relevant consumer insight will give you the greatest chance to persuade your consumer to buy your product. Psychologically speaking we seek to relate products to our needs and values before consideration. We call this relevancy and consideration.
The benefit tells them what is in your proposition for them. What it means to their lives. It is this difference that differentiates a feature from a benefit, which might imply it, or give a reason the benefit may be true, but doesn’t not explicitly outline it. In this sense, the benefit is normally couched in terms of the consumer’s need vs the product.
Here are 3 examples which may help draw this out:
This should be a basic of marketing knowledge, but surprisingly senior marketers and local marketers and sales teams constantly get these two mixed up. I have seen this more in the B2B sector, but also in consumer marketing. The result tends to be confused communication, with lists of ‘benefits’ (actually features) and communication that doesn’t really speak to the targeted consumer, or is just a massive product claim with a big fat photo of the product itself. The communication falls flat on its head – maybe it does a great job of showing the product actions, but unless consumers take the jump to benefit themselves, the sales potential will not be realised.
If you’re still unsure, there is a great article by Laura Clampitt Douglas which really helps to pull apart these differences – read it here.
It’s also lazy advertising. It’s easy to show a product action, but harder to show the effect on the user (e.g. not a faster action cleaning, but ‘more time’ for the cleaner). The drama, the emotional or mind-opening connection which motivates the consumer to action/purchase comes with this final creative transformation of a benefit relevant to them.
If you are not clear and simple on your benefit in your brief, your creatives will either give you bad creative, make up their own benefit and create against that, or throw in the kitchen sink (result, bad creative).
First published here by @toniaOC