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The Journey to Better Marketing: Benefits vs. Features

Emotional and financial benefits are great motivators

The basis of capitalism is “the individual will do what’s good for the individual.” When you consider marketing your product or service, you need to consider it from your customers’ perspectives. What’s in it for them?

If you talk about how cold your refrigerator is, you’re talking about a feature. The refrigerator is cold. So what? What does that mean to your customer? The refrigerator will keep food fresher longer because of its cold temperature. The feature is “cold;” the benefit is “fresher food.” Too many businesses list features and think they are benefits.

A feature is not a benefit. A benefit explains how a product or service will make the consumers’ lives better, and just because it’s a benefit for you, doesn’t mean it’s a benefit for someone else. The most compelling benefits are emotional or financial.

A competitive advantage is a special kind of benefit. It is one that is unique to you or it is something that only you talk about. It’s a benefit that gets the buyer’s attention, sells your product, keeps customers coming back, and causes people to talk about your product. The right competitive advantage buries your competition and should become the focus of your overall marketing plan.

Adapted from “Guerrilla Maketing in 30 days.”

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The Journey to Better Marketing: Competitive Advantage

marching penguins creating a new experience

Every business needs to have a competitive advantage. This is something that the business does that others do not, or it is something that the business talks about that others do not. It needs to be a positive benefit, communicated with a few well-selected words, and something that people will relate only to you.

So, what is our competitive advantage? Our penguins are unique from the norm; have you seen another white penguin on the market? They’re rare in the wild, too. Our penguins are also unique from each other. No two penguins look exactly the same because their eyes are hand-embroidered. Their height fluctuates within a half-inch because they are hand-sewn. How much stuffing gets used for different penguins is variable as well. Our penguins are also rare. They are handmade. We only have one maker, so supply is limited. For collectors, the rarity and uniqueness are benefits.

Nathaniel and Eudora Atwater, Steampunk Penguins
Nathaniel and Eudora Atwater, Steampunk Penguins

A second competitive advantage is that we can make penguins in costumes that can’t be found anywhere else. If someone wants a particular style of penguin or costume, Jenya can make it. We’ve done steampunk penguins as a special order.

A third advantage is our Penguin Passports. Our penguins are travelers. You can take them with you and use them for Instagram photos and fun while you travel. The passports reveal their names and their likes. These names are never the same.

This information is adapted from the 2005 version of “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.” Get an updated version of “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.”