Would you keep reading this call tracking and marketing skills blog if I started off with the following phrase?
“Let me talk about me…”
That’s a terrible way to start a blog. Why would you keep reading? You don’t care about me. You care about you.
I could talk about me forever, I could talk about you for…well, it depends on how well I know you…your interests, preferences, needs, and wishes. It takes effort to get to know you. This is where marketing and sales teams fall down.
The tendency to talk about ourselves invades our sales and marketing pitches. A product or service is composed of a list features. Features are the “me” of a product. If I start rattling off features of my product, customers zone out. The benefits are what matter to you, and it takes extra effort to understand what you want. To be a winning sales or marketing team, we can’t afford to be lazy.
The #1 mistake marketing writers and sales teams make is trying to sell features, not benefits.
This happens because as we’ve discussed, it’s easier to talk about me than you. Features are easy. Benefits require second-level thinking, an ability to look through your eyes and communicate what the product or service does for you. It’s so much easier for me to rattle off a list of things I can do; it’s much more difficult for me to tell you how and why this is good for you.
Example: let’s say you go into a shoe store. You pick up some Asics running shoes. A features-mined sales rep will say:
“Cool, right? Paper or plastic?”
None of this means much. Listing features does not sell the product or service!
Fortunately, the good folks at Asics know how to market and sale a product. The technique you’ll see here is called feature-for-to-benefit, aka Feature 42. The keywords here are “for” and “to.” What’s the feature for? What does it do for the customer? What is the feature going to do for the customer? Equations:
Feature + for = benefit.
Feature + to = benefit.
These two equations of Feature 42 make it easy to remember to include the benefit any time you’re writing marketing copy or selling.
Here’s how Asics positions their features together with benefits using Feature 42.
(Credit to Zappos and Asics for great copywriting.)
Business owners and product development teams usually try not create features that do not serve a need. That need is the benefit. Good marketing writing and sales pitches must move beyond the features to research the customers’ needs and match the features with benefits.
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