Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett
Your Robot Washes Windows?
As a volunteer fundraiser for a new library in my town, I have learned to promote library features and benefits that are important to individual donors. Study rooms are important to parents, but businesses are more interested in donor plaques than study rooms. When marketing your products and services, how do you decide which features and benefits to promote?
When you list too many common features and benefits, you will obscure the unique features and benefits you offer. To decide which aspects of his writing services to highlight, Steve Slaunwhite classifies features as "Common Features," "Superior Features," or "Unique Features." He then promotes selected Superior and Unique features.
"Common features" are the features that all products in the category provide. Buyers assume that all radios have a power source and volume control and that computers have a monitor or display.
"Superior features" are common features plus improvements, for example, the Bose Wave Radio provides "lifelike, room-filling sound" without requiring separate speakers. A superior smart phone battery is one that works for a week without needing charging.
"Unique features" are features that only your product or service offers. For years American Express has guaranteed eligible items against theft or accidental damage for 90 days after purchase. Besides preparing tax forms, some accountants will tell clients if they qualify for a lower tax bracket. Some physicians now make house calls, a service that ended over sixty years ago.
When promoting your business, emphasize superior and unique features and their associated benefits. Align the features and benefits with the needs of the different types of customers or clients you serve. A family with limited income, high expenses, and few assets will not find tax bracket advice to be useful. For the few who want technical information about your offerings, you can always post links to spec sheets on your web site.
Ironically, what is a unique feature today is a superior feature tomorrow and a common feature in a year or two. Two-day shipping used to be unique. Now Amazon and others are offering one-day shipping. That is why you should periodically reevaluate the features and benefit you have been promoting.
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