Training Banner

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The brilliance of demonstrating benefits over features

I was recently checking out cameras on and came upon the Canon G16. As I was skimming through the voluminous information on its features, I saw a demonstration of value that genuinely impressed me. The feature being described, autofocus, has been standard on digital cameras for as long as I can remember. I take a lot of pictures and almost never focus the camera manually. Nothing remarkable so far. It turns out what differentiates cameras isn't whether or not they have auto focus, but how quickly the camera can focus on an image. Think about that for a second: how can you promote the speed of autofocus in print? Do you create impressive tables full of scientific statistics? Do you say that it's really, really, really fast?

The marketing folks at Canon came up with a simple solution to communicate the benefit (not just the feature) of autofocus speed in a way that will immediately resonate with their target market: non-professionals who take pictures. I would assume almost all of us (especially those with young children) can relate completely to the two simple pictures below. The message? Use our camera and you'll stop missing pictures. It's interesting to note that the message is communicated in a fraction of a second at a basically subconscious level.
What did I (re)learn?
  • Listing tons of stats with decimal-precision and colorful graphs probably isn't the most effective way to communicate technical features to non-technicians (technical buyers love pages of stats, detailed scientific bench marking etc.)
  • Exploring particularly frustrating aspects of a general problem can sometimes reveal a message that will resonate almost viscerally (not just logically) with your audience (and tip the scales toward "buy")
  • Creative but simple approaches to demonstrating benefit and not features may run counter to our sometimes geeky intuition and instincts, but will almost always result in a more compelling message, especially to non-technicians.
Although I believe a marketing professional should be responsible for public-facing messages etc., we as product managers need to understand ideas like "benefits over features" as we a.) should collaborate with marketing on the crafting of messages b.) are often called upon to promote our product.

Next Post: Demystifying the Go-to-market for Product Managers

No comments:

Post a Comment