Why You Shouldn’t List All Your Product’s Benefits

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Most people know by now that when they’re marketing a product or service, they need to hammer home the benefits that come from using it.

The idea is simple. If you’re selling an iPhone skin, you don’t just mention that it’s made of high quality rubber…you should also point out that the rubber gives it traction, so it won’t fly out of your hand when you’re talking to your mom on speaker while practicing your morning kickboxing routine.

But here’s the thing, most people take this too far. It’s like all of the marketing and copywriting books scream about benefits, and people have gone a little gonzo over the whole thing.

So what you see is people listing every conceivable benefit of their product or service.

Okay, you wonder, what’s the trouble with that? I can explain.

Think about a comedy routine. Comedians have a saying: You need to be willing to throw out your best joke. That is, if it doesn’t fit with the rest of the routine, a professional comedian worth their salt will have the discipline to trash even their number one line. They understand that comedy may be part science, but it’s mostly art.

Same thing with selling, it’s mostly an art. And the art of selling works best when you tell a tight story that makes sense.

That same iPhone skin may double as a mean pot-holder, but this isn’t something you want to flaunt….anymore than you’d tout the fact that the luxury fountain pen your company manufactures can also be used to pry open a stuck elevator door.

Another thing that goes wrong when you list every imaginable benefit of your product (or service) is that you start to dilute the juicier benefits.

Think of it this way. Imagine you win the lottery for like $10,000,000. And on the same day you also happen to win a free sandwich at your favorite deli because you threw your business card into a fishbowl three months earlier.

Are you really going to tell people, “Hey guess what? I won 10-million dollars….and also $25!!!!” I’m guessing not. Why? Because you instinctively realize that you’re just going to water down the whole amazeballs story of winning the big bucks.

Benefits work the same way. If you talk about the drab ones, you’re going to make the stellar ones look less like shining stars, and more like black holes. Don’t make this blunder. Pick the biggest, baddest, juiciest benefits, and stick to them like the rubber iPhone case sticks to your dashboard on a muggy summer day.

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2 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t List All Your Product’s Benefits

  1. Mikal says:

    That last point, about dilution, can’t be understated.

    How many times — especially in a crowded category like nutrition bars — do you run across brands touting each and every conceivable feature (e.g., Gluten-free, High in Protein, Wheat-free, Non-Dairy, Vegan, No Hydrogenated Oils, No Artificial Sweeteners, Kosher, No Sugar Alcohols, 100% all natural, Non-GMO Soy, etc.), as well as every possible benefit (e.g., Won’t melt in its packaging, Tastes great, Award-winning, Easy to digest, Kids love ’em, Athletes use them, Balanced nutrition in one bar, Safe for people with Celiac Disease, Improves muscle growth, Available in 12 flavors, Reduces the chance of heart disease, etc.)?

    Sadly, you see it all the time, which is why shopping for nutrition bars, shampoo, toothpaste and breakfast cereal, just to name a few, leaves people staggered in the isles.

    In the household commodities space especially, touting everything dilutes everything else.

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