When formulating the best approach to market your service or product to your customers, it is essential to be able to make the distinction between three key concepts. These concepts are the value of the service, the benefits of it, and the features that it provides. All too often, a pitch labeled as a value proposition will only highlight what the product can do or what the service can provide, and that is not enough. And certainly not value.
All marketing professionals should be equipped with the necessary knowledge to be able to separate the value of their service from the features and benefits it provides. Let’s take a look at these concepts in more detail and how they specifically can be applied to an industry I am quite familiar with: vacation ownership.
The Features are Great
Often, the features of a service are the most exciting thing to talk about and the easiest to list off. Within vacation ownership that could include the ability to use points on shorter stays in larger rentals, pool usage, or even dry cleaning services. All of these things are great and are sure to pique the interest of the consumer. But will features alone close the deal? Probably not. Once your customer has heard the features, and they are sticking around, it is time to move into the next phase.
The Benefits are Better
Stemming directly out of the features of a service or product comes the benefits therein. Benefits are a bit more nuanced than features in that they will address exactly how that specific aspect of the service will benefit the customer. For example, if your vacation ownership provides you with points-based ownership, the benefit of that would be the flexibility of your vacation location and dates. These are ways that you can connect the feature directly to the consumer in a surface level sense. If you want to get deeper than that though, we need to talk about value.
The Value is Best
When you approach the best way to communicate the value of your service to your customer, it is essential that you take this time to decide how this service, and the benefits of it, precisely aligned with your customer’s overall goals. In our vacation ownership example, we have determined that the benefit of having point-based ownership is the flexibility of when and where you are going to vacation each summer. If we push this further for our client, say John Smith, we could communicate value by connecting this to how he appreciates flexibility in other aspects of his life, why not his vacations.
Most consumers want to know, not just how your product or service will benefit them, but how it will add overall value to their daily life. Making these crucial distinctions between features, benefits, and value will help you to approach these conversations with an arsenal of tools to effectively market or sell your product. And always remember that the value that your service or product provides will ultimately be what drives someone to commit.