Features and Benefits: How Do You Find the Benefits Of A Product? (Part 4)

About 20 years ago Proctor & Gamble had this new product they were test-marketing.

One of their researchers had discovered a chemical that would bind to scent particles, rendering them odorless.

Who better to market this product to than people whose homes reeked…

Like the slightly crazy lady with 17 cats lazing about and puking behind the sofa, or the guy with the 3-packs-a-day chainsmoking habit?

The product was really struggling though.

And before discontinuing the line the suits at P&G got smart and sent someone out “into the field” to talk to the few customers who actually used this stuff.

And what they found shocked them.

Turns out people quickly get used to bad smells, and when you ask the cat lady “what’s that horrible smell?” you’re likely to get nothing but a blank stare.

Instead the product was being used primarily by women with near-spotless homes…

Who after their latest top-to-bottom cleaning blitz would spritz it into the air to give the house a “fresh and clean” scent.

The company rebranded retooled their ads to feature the product being used this way.

And Fabreeze has been a solid seller ever since.

The lesson here is this:

It’s all well and good to study your product’s features, and put in the though to capture the obvious “surface-level” benefits—and even the “benefits behind the benefits.”

In fact you SHOULD do this to suss out a huge pile of benefits that you can tout.

Do NOT stop there though.

One final crucial source of benefits is your CUSTOMERS.

The reason they’re so important is:

You’re too close to your product.

You have a fixed idea of how it’s SUPPOSED to be used.

And that can blind you to how it’s ACTUALLY perceived and used.

By interacting with your customers and observing them, you’ll often uncover a whole treasure trove of benefits that you’d never have imagined in a million years of just “sitting and thinking” about your product.

Find out how your customers are using your product. What they think about your competitors products. What they actually hope to accomplish with your product.

You’ll start to see your product and it’s associated features in a new light.


By now you’re no longer wondering, “What are the benefits of my product?”

Instead you likely have a new problem:


How do you decide which ones to use?

That’s coming. So stay tuned…

This article is Part 4 on finding the benefits of a product. Read the rest here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5