Sell Features Instead of Benefits?

A cardinal rule in copywriting is that you must always emphasize the benefits of a product  to a prospective buyer.  The mantras go like this: “People don’t buy features, they buy the benefits those features bring”; or “”Always provide a feature/benefit list” and “Make your copy benefit-rich.” 

But there are situations where you need to emphasize the features of your product more than the benefits.   It’s whenever the benefits are obvious or well understood and your product’s features will be the decisive factor in whether or not it will be included in a component or system design.

Some examples come to mind:

  • A design engineer filling out a BOM
  •  A manufacturing engineer evaluating a robotics application.                      
  • A systems engineer choosing a major component of a SCADA system   

The scale here is different, but the issue is the same.  Engineers already know what the benefits of the design will be, but it’s performance that counts.  Extolling end user benefits to them at this point can be a turn-off.   Their over-riding concern is that your product meets all of the  design specifications: functional performance, reliability, durability, and maintainability.  If they are convinced that it does, the odds are in your favor that your product will be spec’d into the design and eventually you will get orders.  But you need to provide them with convincing evidence in the formats they prefer, which are usually charts, graphs, data tables and case studies that back up your performance specs.  In these situations, features sell.

Engineers are analytical and can never seem to get enough, so make it easy for them to call and ask for more details and have knowledgeable people available to engage with them in a technical dialogue.  Fit your product into their acceptance space.  Engineers usually don’t make the final purchase decision, but they can tee it up for those who do.

B2B tech marketing has multiple audiences with different information needs  The challenge is to get the right messages to the right people via the right channels  at the right time.

We can help with that.

Bob Martel, MS, PE, PhD (an engineer)

Published by Bob Martel, MS, PE, PhD

Principal, The Write Stuff, LLC, B2B Copywriter & MarCom Consultant, Editor of The Marcom Buzz, Founder, Automation Marketing Leaders Forum

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