• 13th of June 2017
  • Matt Southam
  • Read time: 4 minutes

People don't want toothpaste

Anyone who has studied marketing will know that you should be marketing the benefits, not the features but what does this really mean, what are some real life examples and how can you find out your real benefits (as they may be what you think)

Let's start this blog with a famous marketing quote by Theodor Levitt. "People don't want a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole"

What this quote is saying is that people are not buying the quarter inch drill as they want the drill. They are buying it because they need a quarter inch hole - a benefit not a feature.
By understanding this mindset you can market your benefits not the product or feature as that is what people are actually buying.

Understanding this subtle difference is likely to increase the effectiveness of your marketing.

You can even use this to push this further and find more benefits of the product

Let's stick with the drill and look at an example.

It could be that they just want a hole but at a guess, they want something more.
The hole may be used to help put up some shelves. But why do they want shelves? It could be to make more room in the garage so they can fit their prized motorbike in or just to have more space. Don’t we all want more space!
So as you can see they are not buying a drill because they want a drill but they are buying it to gain at least 1 benefit.

To help you understand the difference between features and benefits think of it like this:
A feature is what something does, the benefit is how it helps the purchaser.
Start thinking from your clients perspective and you start to understand why someone buys your product and can include that in your marketing.

Let's look at some products and features as examples and why people really buy them.

Product: Broadband internet
Feature: 20mb download speed
Benefit: download your files quicker and allow more people to use the internet at once

Product: Camera
Feature: 20 megapixels
Benefit: take better quality photos that can be printed at a large size

Product: Harddrive
Feature: 1tb of storage
Benefit: backup all your precious photos and video

Product: car
Feature: 4x4
Benefit: you won't get stuck in the snow!

Product: Washing machine
Feature: Quick 45 min wash
Benefit: get your clothes washed even when in a rush

Product: deodorant
Feature: white stain protection
Benefit: Keeps your clothes looking good

Another way of thinking about this is thinking of the "after"
What does someone gain from buying your product?
Have you ever bought your partner flowers on the way home? Did you buy them because you wanted flowers or was it for the after?

You could also use this mindset when selling what you do in person.

When someone asks me what I do I say "I help businesses gain more leads and look more professional" this often leads to more questions which mean I get the opportunity to explain our website design service, social media marketing, and graphic design services.

If I responded with "web designer" they may not be as interested.

Let's look at a few examples of jobs vs benefits

Job: Accountant
Benefit: Keeping you legal and saving you tax

Job: DJ
Benefit: making a good party great by keeping the dancefloor full

Job: Mechanic
Benefit: keeping your car on the road to allow you to go where you want to go

Job: Stylist
Benefit: helping people look their best every time they step outside

Benefit: making gardens more enjoyable to be in

As you can see marketing your products is really about having the right mindset. Think about what people gain from purchasing you product or put simply,

People don’t want toothpaste, they want clean teeth.

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