Features and Benefits: the “So What?!” test

If you are talking to a potential customer and they say (or maybe just think) “So What?!”, then the chances are you are talking about features, not benefits.

It’s a trap we can all easily fall into. We are enthusiastic about our creative businesses and want to tell people about what we do and how we do it, to produce products or services – and forget to sell the customer benefits.

The customer will ask themselves “What’s in it for me?” and if we fail to explain what’s in it for them (customer benefits), and just talk about the facts or features of the product or service, they will walk away.

An example. I was talking with a web designer and asking how he could help me with a project I was working on. He went on at length about the open source software he used, the capability of the programs, his skilled staff etc, etc. I was thinking “Good for you! But what’s in it for me?” I had to ask him directly before he explained the benefits to me, the potential client, of his using open source software.

In another example, quoted in my strategic marketing book, a designer proudly told a potential client about the awards his creative agency had won, which didn’t impress the client (who was thinking “So what? What good is that to me?), until the designer explained that the award was for packaging that helped increase the sales and profitability of his client. At that point the potential client was impressed and engaged the designer to deliver the same benefits for him.

It’s embarrassing but I’ve fallen into this trap myself. But you’ll have to read my book ‘Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success. 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs’ to hear that story.

Marketing is about looking at things from the customer’s point of view. That means emphasising customer benefits they are interested in, not the features of the product or service we are interested in ourselves.


More information about features and benefits, communicating with potential customers, understanding customers and winning marketing strategies are in the eBook ‘Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success
63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs’.

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