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Are You Focusing on Benefits not Features?

When we advertise our products or services, it’s often easier to talk about the features as opposed to the benefits. Features characterize the product; benefits are why we buy the product. Benefits answer the question, What’s in it for me? When you buy products, you don’t buy because of a feature, you buy because of a benefit. Features are easy to describe; benefits less so. Benefits, too, can be intangible.

The most compelling benefits are those that deliver emotional or financial rewards. This is what struck me as I looked at those magazine ads. The Twinings Tea ad that says “With my cup of Twinings, even a rainy day feels brighter” is selling an emotion. My favorite ad that pulls the emotional heartstrings is the Michelin ad with the baby sitting inside the tire. Michelin is not selling tires; it is selling safety. Good use of selling a benefit.

Looking at some quilting examples, you don’t buy a new design rotary cutter because it’s described as ergonomically correct, you buy it because the manufacturer says you will have pain-free cutting. If you are selling a pattern, instead of just saying it includes rotary-cutting instructions, say that you can save time with easy-to-follow rotary instructions. Saving time is a benefit we can all appreciate. A finished quilt isn’t just a valued piece of art, it’s a collector’s item that will increase in value. Do you think people are buying those Kinkaid prints because they are pretty? No, they think they are making an investment in something that will increase in value.

Also consider how you’ll package your product. You might find a benefit there. For example, patterns are packaged in bags with vent holes so they pack more easily. Or a kit could be in a resealable packet to keep the work clean.

One way to look at benefits is to consider your products from the consumer’s point of view. You might even survey them. What examples do you have that sells the benefits of your product or service?

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

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4 Responses to “Are You Focusing on Benefits not Features?”

  1. Laura Estes said:

    Very interesting article. Benefits is something I am constantly trying to get my mind around. Why does someone buy one of my patterns, tools or stencils? Obviously because they wanted to make it or use it, right? What I have found is that is the case for about a third of the customers. Another third or so are collectors, they collect everything a designer puts out because it makes them feel good to have the collection, and signed pieces are even better. Then there is the remainder who collect projects, and the pattern is a starting place. A part of this group enjoys the hunt, finding just the right fabrics can take several years, and the other part of the group are the kit buyers who want to have it just like the model and not have to think about color, value and complicated art stuff.
    So my benefit thinking over time has changed from: complete instructions to…. easy to follow complete instructions. And for the retailer….. kitting tips with initial purchase and wholesalers…… next day shipping and drop shipments available. It seems to me, benefits is always a work in progress, so I try to keep alert to customer needs and dreams. Just barely getting my feet wet so far.

  2. Shelly Stokes said:

    Thanks so much for the timely post, Morna. I’m finishing up the announcement for my new book and I just wasn’t happy with the “romance copy” I’d written so far. You’re absolutely right — the benefits are far more important that the features. Back to the editing…

    I hope you have a lovely vacation. I’m looking forward to a break once Design Magic goes to the printer!

    Shelly Stokes

  3. Morna said:

    Laura, you’re right. Benefits are a work in progress. You’re doing the right thing, though, in keying into your customer’s needs. And, as you note, you have customers at different levels – retail consumer, wholesale, distributor.

  4. Morna said:

    Shelly, glad it was helpful. And vacation was just what I needed! I’m looking forward to seeing the new book.

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