We love our service and products. We strive to perfect them. When creating a marketing positioning statement, we also often fail to grasp (or remember) that we don’t really sell products or services. We sell the benefits. I recently helped some companies set up an email marketing system. I wasn’t really selling email marketing campaigns. I was giving my clients the ability to connect with their customers and grow their business more efficiently without the hassle of learning how to setup Mailchimp.

Marketing companies like Hubspot sell “inbound” marketing services. Look at the 9th point on slide seven on this presentation by Hubspot on Slideshare. Hubspot knows that they sell the ability to grow your business without becoming a used car salesperson. With the opinion that many hold of marketing and sales, this is a particularly powerful benefit. It allows people to say, I’m a marketer but I’m not like those other bad marketers. They get to stand out from marketers in a positive way and at the same time be accepted by the rest of us.

Benefits or Features in Content Marketing

People tend to talk about the features of their new gizmo or service. Massages that last 90 minutes rather than 60. Cars that go faster with better sound. These are features and people spend a ton of time reviewing these when purchasing a product or service. However, people do not purchase something for the features. They purchase for the benefits behind the features. You buy the faster/more luxurious car and the nice suit because you feel more attractive when driving/wearing it. Every step of your product development and delivery process should focus on the benefits of your products and services.

The One True Benefit

We want to feel good about who we are and what we do. This drives everything we do. The problem is that what makes us feel good is unique to each person. There are definitely trends. We are constantly joining (and leaving) tribes. Do you drink coffee, wine, beer or water? What are the real benefits of this choice. Belonging to the crowd working/meeting and talking at Starbucks? Feeling healthier and safer? When we make these choices, we become a part of a group. Seth Godin called them tribes. Your identity becomes intertwined with whichever group you joined. You are now a member of the coffee drinker tribe.

Connect with Your Clients

This is your true product or service. What do your clients become when they use your product or service. Make your content marketing materials more powerful by focusing on this over your features. Blog articles telling stories about how people benefited from your product or services can be incredibly powerful.

Let’s consider the CRM company Salesforce. Who is their customer? At first glance, it might be sales people, but that’s not entirely correct. The target market is someone in charge of sales at a company. This might be a VP of Sales. Now, take a look at Salesforce’s website feature list. Notice that the first headline, “Run Your Sales Organization From Anywhere,” is written for sales managers not sales people. The entire page is written with the decision maker in mind. Based on the marketing copy, it is a reasonable bet that Salesforce’s ideal client is not a small entrepreneur, but rather a large company with sales teams. I won’t list them here, but there are less successful (but really good) CRM companies that spend a lot of time on features over benefits.

What do you really sell? Tell us more in the comments!

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