Are you barking up the wrong tree? How to sell what people want to buy.

Now this is a benefit by Kim Schlossberg Designs

In January, we often think about our marketing plans for the year. I’m working on a simple marketing plan for Kim Schlossberg Designs, and over the next few editions, I’ll share the components of a simple, but solid, plan.

The first thing we should get really clear on is this: What precisely are we offering? The clearer we are at this stage, the better the ultimate marketing plan will be.

Sometimes our first instinct is to define whatever widget or service we’re offering in terms of its features. That’s a good start, and we need to understand the features, but we also need to understand that features don’t sell. Benefits do.

I’ve been saying this to people for pretty much all of my career, and I think I finally have a good way to explain the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature is about the product (or service). A benefit is about what it will do for the customer.

Cocoa’s features are four legs, long ears, big paws. But his benefits are unconditional love, affection, playing, cuteness, and the ability to be a boy’s best friend.

Which do you think would make someone sign the adoption papers?

Here are some examples of features and corresponding benefits:

  • 20 years of experience – I can help you anticipate situations that might arise because after 20 years I’ve seen just about everything in this industry and know how to handle it.
  • State-of-the-art technology – This product will save you time and money because the technology makes the process faster.
  • Fancy materials – Make your friends and colleagues take notice. Materials that last longer could save you money in the long run.

When you’re writing your marketing copy or talking to people about your product or service, be sure to frame your features in terms of the benefits for the customer. Next edition, we’ll talk about defining who, exactly, your customer is.


Photo courtesy Walter Hofheinz. Models Adam & Cocoa Schlossberg.

Kim Schlossberg
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Kim Schlossberg created Kim Schlossberg Designs to help businesses and non-profits refine their messages and get them out to the right audience, in a clear, consistent, and integrated way. She provides strategic planning, execution and coordination of marketing, branding, and design by developing a deep understanding of clients’ businesses and their goals, and serves as a trusted advisor to help them grow their businesses and brand. Kim speaks to business and non-profit groups about marketing and related topics, and publishes a well-received (but slightly irregular) newsletter.

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