Benefits versus Features

Do you know the difference between features and benefits? When you’re promoting your service or product, it’s important to know the difference.

Benefits persuade better than features. Why? Because they appeal to your client’s or customer’s desires and emotions.

Here’s a story that explains the difference between benefits and features.

A few years ago, I decided to buy an iPod. There was a $150 iPod with 2 gigabytes and a $199 iPod with 4 gigabytes.

At first I decided to get the 2 gig iPod. It sounded like an awful lot of bytes, so why spend another $50?

Then I learned that the 2 gig iPod could hold 500 songs (which was plenty) but the 4 gig iPod could hold 1,000. That’s twice as much for only $50 more.

As part of my work, I often save mp3 files of long talks or teleseminars. They often run 60 minutes or more. These would surely count as several songs.

Suddenly 4 gigabytes didn’t sound like too much and I bought the 4 gig iPod.

The feature was the number of gigabytes. The benefit was the amount of audio the iPod could hold.

How do you use this information? It’s okay to tell people about the features of your product or service. But you should always start with benefits.

So do you get the difference between features and benefits? Quiz yourself and find out – decide whether I’m describing a benefit or feature.

  • 1. Our sheets have a thread count of 400.

    2. These sheets are so comfy and luxurious you’ll never want to get out of bed.

    3. The chicken teriyaki sub at Subway has 6 grams of fat.

    4. You’ll stay slim and beautiful when you eat this sub, even though it is filling and delicious (actually, it’s my son’s favorite and mine too).

    5. We sell 4-3/8” by 5-3/4” envelopes.

    6. If you or your kids make your own greeting cards, you know how frustrating it is finding the right envelope. You can’t mail a card without one. These are the perfect size. An 8-1/2” x 11” sheet of paper, folded twice, will fit perfectly. (But my stamping friend Rebecca would urge you instead to buy beautiful card stock, slice it in half crosswise, and fold it once). 😉

    7. Microsoft Outlook includes a calendar with an alarm.

    8. You don’t need to worry about missing important appointments. Outlook’s built-in alarm will remind you.

  • I’ll bet you know the answers by now. If not, just ask me.

    And if you do know the answers, look at your marketing materials and see whether or not you’re including benefits at the beginning of the copy. Remember, features are okay, but benefits should come first. Get your clients excited about what you offer!



    One thought on “Benefits versus Features

    1. Kathleen

      Janet is a competent marketing coach.

      You’ll quickly define your target audience, create a strategic To Do list and have an enthusiastic accountability partner who will help you reach your goal if you hire Janet Beatrice as your coach!


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