How many times has someone talked about his or her products and it sounded like, “blah blah blah?” …I have no idea what you’re talking about or how this information pertains to me, but I’ll nod and pretend that I do.

One day I was at the market and saw a tea product called Celestial Seasonings. I loved how they labeled their tea products. Rather than just calling them Floral Egyptian Chamomile Tea as what its ingredients suggest, they branded it as “Sleepytime”.

celestial seasonings tea sleepytime

“Sleepytime” automatically lets me know that it’s a soothing tea that I can drink before slumber to relax my body. Doesn’t that sound better than “Floral Egyptian Chamomile,” “Cool Spearmint from the Pacific Northwest”, and “Lively Guatemalan Lemongrass?”

Benefits are what customers will gain or experience by using the product. The real question is, “how does this help me?”

Features are characteristics that the product has; not what it can do for the customer.

Benefits vs. features – have a good understanding of it!

Apple Iphone 4 Marketing

Can you identify which are benefits versus features?

iphone 4 marketing

Answer: their bold titles are the features and light gray text are their respective benefits. They clearly know what they’re doing 🙂

How To Apply This Into Your Business

  1. Know who your customer is
  2. Think in their perspective
  3. Focus more on results (benefits) that they can relate to

Here are some examples. I also made one up for event planners – it can be inaccurate because I’m not one, so just play along.

Wedding Photographer – my advice is to avoid talking about what cameras / lenses you have, bragging about how many megapixels it has or how fast it can shoot.

Instead, focus on how you won’t miss a moment because it can go “click click click” really fast and how the camera shoots in such high quality that they can blow the image up to wall-sized prints.

Wedding Planner – (I apologize ahead of time if I’m butchering this up) – avoid talking about features like spreadsheets or cool programs that you will be using.

Instead, focus on how the program will send your clients updates with diagrams and timelines, so that everyone will be on the same page leading up to the wedding day.

(Although I relate best with wedding photography, I understand that my readership is pretty diverse, thus the wedding planning example).

Notice how benefits make more sense to consumers? It’s like saying Rolex uses kinetic mechanics – say what? Kinetic engineering allows the watch to never rely on batteries. You just need to keep moving for it to function.

What I want you to do now…

  • Share this with your friends via Retweet or Facebook buttons below if you thought this post was pretty cool.
  • Comment whether you think the title of this post is a benefit or feature. Why?
  • Write about other worldly examples that use this model (except for Celestial and iPhone). It’s good exercise to recognize and ultimately apply.

Your neighborhood Spiderman marketing strategist,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. If I could be any super hero, I’d be Magneto (no need for any tingling spider senses). Oh how fun that would be…

P.P.S. I want to test a new lab. Can anyone share their experience with WHCC except that they have a wickedly cool booth at WPPI? Don’t snicker.

Every year at WPPI, I’m working diligently at my tiny booth sharing business strategies; I sort of look like a tarot card reader except that I’m free. Okay, maybe not completely free – you do need to wait for a considerable time in line and give me high fives and hugs after a consultation. In the end, I never get to explore the trade show. Thanks in advance!

P.P.P.S. Good news! For 2011 WPPI, I’m a Master Class speaker! My topic is “Marketing is a lot like Dating”. So if you’re interested, mark your calendars. And yes, I know that it is 6 months away, but do it anyway.