Features and Benefits: How Do You Find the Benefits Of A Product? (Part 5)

One of the all-time great marketing FAIL stories goes something like this:

The corporate head honchos at a pet food company (I believe it was Alpo, although I could be wrong about that) decided to introduce a new flavor for their product lineup.

So they ran focus groups to hone their marketing message to perfection.

Then they shipped the product—and sales were abysmal.

Turns out, somebody somewhere left “dogs like the taste” off the New Dogfood Product Launch Checklist.


That’s a good “cautionary tail” (heh) to keep in mind when you’re digging through the piles of features and benefits you’ve compiled and trying to decide which to use in your emails and sales copy.

Because when it comes to which benefits are most important:

Your CUSTOMERS get the last word.

Now the tricky part is you won’t always know exactly what they’re thinking.

And usually you can’t just ask them straight up which benefits are most appealing, because chances are they won’t give you accurate information.

What I do instead is to spend time interviewing them and “eavesdropping” on conversations…

Looking for clues as to which of my benefits are most likely to meet their deeply felt needs.

For example:

Right now I’m writing a new email series for Simple Programmer to promote a book.

The book covers a range of topics—I have a whole slew of features and benefits to choose from.

I know from interacting with programmers for years though that they devour anything on “productivity” like a pack of ravenous wolves.

So I’ve decided to pitch the book from an angle of “become superhumanly productive.”

Is this the BEST benefit to use?

Not sure—you never know for sure until you put it out there.

Since I’ve seen my audience “vote” for this theme time and time again, though, I’m pretty confident in this choice.

And if I’m wrong?

No biggie—I have 100 other benefits I can try next.

This article is Part 5 on finding the benefits of a product. Read the rest here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5