Sunday, December 27, 2009

What do your customers really buy?

Do you really understand why your customers might buy your product or service?

Is it because of the 'features' you offer?

Let's say you wanted to buy a new laptop computer.

You might go out and look for one with 3gb of ram, a 2.5 hour battery life and a 250gb hard drive.

But in reality you're not looking for those features because they excite you. You look for them because:

> 3gb Ram means your laptop will run quickly, smoothly and allow you to have several programs running at once without too much adverse effect.

> A 2.5 hour battery life means you can sit on the train on the way to a meeting and work for pretty much all of the journey being more productive and not wasting time.

> A 250gb hard drive means you can store all of your holiday picture and videos without running out of space.

These are the 'Benefits'

Before you went into the PC shop you did the analysis of what you wanted out of your laptop (the benefits) and the features required to achieve them.

Understanding the difference between features and benefits is critical to successful marketing and sales.

Sometimes (often, maybe) the benefits are not so clear cut as the laptop example. Take the motor industry for example.

A car, whatever type or size it is, will get you from A to B in the dry and warm. Even the performance of the car is pretty irrelevant as the speed limit is 70 mph, and it's often impossible to use the acceleration or cornering capabilities of high performance cars in this country.

So why does one person buy a small car and another buy a large luxury sports model?

It comes down to life style, status or aspirations. If that's the case then your advertising needs to reflect that.

Have you ever seen an advert for a Bentley or an Aston Martin with it parked in an Asda car park? No, but you might see an ad' for a small family car with happy parents putting their smiling children into the back seat and ample shopping in the boot outside a smart supermarket.

The Bentley is more likely to be sitting outside the Savoy Hotel or some other very swanky part of London's West End.

Right. If we understand the difference between the Features that people buy as against the Benefits that people are really looking for then we need to work that out for our business and products or services.

I came across a very useful device to help with this process in a book called The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds.

He suggests going through a routine he describes as 'So What?'

Start by writing down a feature and then asking yourself 'So What'. Answer that and continue asking 'So What' until you really can't answer any more.

Now you are potentially at the root benefit that your customers are looking for and in a position to find ways of communicating that in your advertising and marketing.

If you want more help to find your core benefits read The Jelly Effect or call me for some personal advice.

Alloy CRM - Sales and Marketing Strategy

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