The Difference Between Features and Benefits (Does Your Team Know This?)

When you create a marketing campaign, do you highlight the features or the benefits of your products or services? Do you and your team understand the difference between these two tactics? One tactic focuses on what your product or service is or does. The other focuses on how your product or service will improve your customers’ lives.

Marketing strategies, digital or otherwise, hinge on how well your team understands your products. Knowing the product’s features and benefits are critical skills to successfully market those same products to consumers. Marketing teams must understand the differences.

What Is a Feature?

A feature is something your product or service has or is. Software companies’ features are capabilities that allow users to perform a particular function. Features are a direct answer to a consumer problem. The features have to be precisely planned, created, and executed.

When considering features, consider what you look for when buying a new car. Typically, you look for the bells and whistles that make the car stand out to you from among the many other models currently available. In this case, you are focused on features. The features will draw you to some products; however, they won’t tell you what the product can do for you.

What Is a Benefit?

On the other hand, benefits are the results that users will experience when using your product or service. For example, in the case of an umbrella, the feature is the ability to raise and lower the mechanism. The benefit is the ability to stay dry beneath the umbrella. The problem that is solved may be less tangible with some products, but the concept is the same.

For another example of a benefit, think about the finance industry. Most people seek out a financial institution because of the benefits attached to their accounts. Cashback rewards on purchases, lower credit card interest rates, and mobile banking that allows you to access your accounts from anywhere are all examples of benefits that lead consumers to choose a particular financial institution.

Why Do Features and Benefits Get Confused?

In marketing, features and benefits often get confused because marketers spend much of their time focused on the problems the target market faces. Features are often obvious even to the average consumer, whereas benefits might not be. Marketing pros often mistake putting more importance on time spent to develop a new feature than the typical consumer would place on that same effort.

Why Should Your Marketing Team Know the Difference?

Depending on your industry, your team may be fine to use a feature-driven content marketing strategy. The automotive industry, for example, has success marketing new features to consumers. The consumer electronics industry also relies heavily on features marketing strategies.

However, many other marketing niches are more successful, focusing on benefits instead. Software-as-a-Service and Financial Services are two industries that use a more benefits-directed content marketing strategy. These industries tend to focus more on what they can do for their customers rather than what they are.

The typical consumer wants to know what’s in it for them, so a benefits-based marketing tactic is an ideal solution. Because these strategies solve problems for the consumer, they tend to be the more successful of these marketing models.

Key Takeaway

Benefits and features are two words that are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they are two different things, and digital marketing strategies should reflect an understanding of the differences between the two. If you are having difficulty crafting a marketing solution that highlights the features or benefits of your product or service, contact our Academy Team to see how we can help you or check us out on social media.

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Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.