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The graphic above is from an awesome post from Buffer titled People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves which sums up how businesses should sell. It’s a cliche, but customers don’t care about features, they care about what what products can do for them and/or why they matter. Marketing messages, therefore, should focus on benefits rather than features.

If you read the full post you will find numerous examples of companies that sell on benefits rather than features. For those of you that want a quick fix I will give you the best two. Firstly, Apple made the iPod successful with the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket” whilst other MP3 vendors pitched memory sizes. 1,000 songs in my pocket feels great. 1MB storage doesn’t make me feel anything. Secondly, Evernote’s slogan is “Remember everything”. Their product is a place to write stuff and doesn’t remember anything so that isn’t a feature, it is, however, a benefit to the customer who doesn’t forget stuff they’ve stored in Evernote.

Breaking it down, features are what a product does and benefits are why your product matters. (Remember Simon Sinek’s Getting to why.

Here at Forward Partners we have been working on how to describe ourselves for over a year now. It’s been a slow, iterative, and sometimes painful process that I plan to write up fully when we are done (not that we will ever be done-done) – but looking through this lens what we are selling is success. Work with us and you will be a successful entrepreneur and your company will reach great heights – that’s our benefit. The money, our amazing team, our methodologies and our office space – these are our features.

  • Nathan Schor

    Great topic! Despite it’s obviousness, I’m continually astounded about how many firms, many well-known, miss this crucial distinction. And you’re correct at referencing Sinek’s work, as he makes a neural science based case for why humans respond to ‘why’ rather than ‘what’.

    But I don’t fully agree with this interpretation: “what we are selling is success. Work with us and you will be a successful entrepreneur and your company will reach great heights – that’s our benefit.”

    That message misses Sinek’s point as it doesn’t tell the founder in
    explicit terms WHY success will take place.

    Instead, the compelling benefit of working with Forward Partners –
    WHY a founder should engage with your firm – is, for example, deep experience, a proven track record, and the like.

    IMHO, those are the WHY reasons that your home page should emphasize,
    where presently it references “who’ and ‘how’, important as well, but not
    primary.

  • http://www.theequitykicker.com brisbourne

    Interesting. Thank you.

    I definitely agree that we are too much ‘who’ and ‘how’ at the moment. Not sure that our track record etc. is the ‘why’ though. Aren’t they more reasons you should believe what we are promising, whilst the success itself is the ‘why’?

    Breaking down the ‘why’ is something I want to think about too – i.e. identifying the steps on the path to success. Maybe the Forward Path.

    “Great topic! Despite it’s obviousness, I’m continually astounded about how