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Marketing copy

Features Vs. Benefits: Oh, The Ever-Present Dilemma

features-vs-benefits-dilemmaYou have a product to sell. You need to write compelling copy to convince people to buy it. It’s got a lot of impressive features, but what exactly do these features do? How does the consumer benefit from them? That’s the question you have to ask yourself. And the answer to it will actually sell your product.

I’ve been hearing a lot about features and benefits lately. Many times from non-marketing people who have no experience in writing copy, and a few times from people who actually work in marketing but again, don’t write marketing copy. Sadly, almost all of them were mistaking the benefits for the features, or the features for the benefits, or weren’t quite getting the difference between the two. And I’m sure that there are lots of other marketing people out there having this “feature vs. benefits” dilemma.

Now, if you’re a marketing copywriter, surely you’ve had to write out the benefits of a product on at least one occasion. You (must) know that “features tell, benefits sell” – it’s the first thing you learned, the cornerstone of your entire marketing copywriting work! (Is it?) And now you’re probably thinking “Not another feature-vs.-benefits-discussion!” Well, since people keep getting it wrong, we might as well keep discussing this topic.

Let’s clear things out, shall we? 🙂

Features – what does the product (or service) do or have?

Examples of features: data transfer between phones (mobile app); 2000 ATMs in your area (your bank).

So the features are those ‘tangible’ components that define your product or service. They tell you what the product or service is all about. But can they convince people to buy the product? No. Take the data transfer feature, for example. Do you really think regular, non-techie customers now exactly how it can help them or are interested to buy the app for it? I doubt it. Let’s move on to…

Benefits – how would the feature help the customer?

Alternative questions: why would the customer buy? What’s in it for them? What does the feature mean?


– Data transfer between phones – benefit: it saves you time and hassle when moving your contact list and other files to a new phone.

– 2000 ATMs in your area – benefit: it saves you time and money.

So the benefits are the emotional reactions to the product or service features – what makes the features appealing to the customer. Again, I have to stress the fact that marketing or any other type of copy you write must leverage human emotions.

Read these 3 tips to write out the product benefits that sell, to see how I got from those features to these benefits.

Now that I’ve (hopefully) cleared this out, I ask you:

Have you ever had the “feature vs. benefits” dilemma or met people who had trouble understanding the difference between the two? 


About Emma

Shameless Idealist


One thought on “Features Vs. Benefits: Oh, The Ever-Present Dilemma

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    Posted by lista de email | April 15, 2013, 4:09 pm

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