Tuesday June 10 2014

Customers look out for product benefits

By Dorothy M. Tuma

Think back to your first encounter with anyone you were meeting for the first time. Did you walk away from that initial meeting thinking that person was a bore that you could not wait to escape from? Or did you leave thinking you could not wait for the next opportunity to get to know that person a little better?

Odds are that the bore you almost ran away from was a person who dominated your conversation. That individual spent your time together telling you all about their achievements and their dreams. The person was so intent on showing off their accomplishments and assets that they did not even bother to ask any questions about you. Their focus was on them.

How to promote features
Does your company do the same thing? Promote company features instead of finding out what customers are interested in and giving it to them? Ugandan export trainers love to tell the story of the large, juicy and sweet Ugandan pineapples that will never make it to the European Union (EU). The benefits EU customers are looking for include the convenience offered by smaller, single-serve fruits that will not take up too much space in their refrigerators.

Ugandan pineapple exporters will never learn this unless they stop promoting product features (large, juicy and sweet) and make an effort to find out what benefits EU customers are looking for. The farmers who have taken that step now grow a smaller pineapple variety that provides the benefits EU customers are looking for.
Let us return to that first conversation mentioned above. If you walked away thinking how wonderful the conversation was, it is highly likely that the stranger let you dominate the conversation. They simply asked a few questions and listened intently to your responses. You felt respected, important and heard. By listening to you, that person learned what they needed to know in order to create an irresistible story about the benefits you will gain by spending more time with them. Additionally, you had such a wonderful time that you eagerly anticipated your next meeting.

Similarly, your customers will find your promotional communications more appealing if the messages focus on them. Put the spotlight on what happens to your customers as a result of buying your products/services. Telling customers “what is in it for them” simply appeals to human nature. You will never go wrong.
This is why mobile money advertisements focus on the peace of mind and joy experienced by the sender and recipient respectively. Those are benefits. Product features like fast and safe are only mentioned to support the customer benefits that the promotional communications focus on.
What will your customers experience as a result of using your products/services? Those benefits appeal directly to customers and should be the focus of your promotional communications.

Features should only be used as proof that your product/service can indeed deliver your claimed benefits.

E-mail: dorothy_tuma@dmtconsultants.net