Many of us realize that, to get a buyer's attention, we have to tell them about benefits. As Jack Trout and Al Reis wrote in their best-seller "Positioning," everyone listens to the same radio station, WII-FM (What's In It For Me?). No one really cares about us as businesspeople; they care about how our businesses can help them achieve their objectives.

So what? That is the question that you have to answer. You see, businesses -- large and small -- often market themselves with what they think are benefits. In actuality, they are trumpeting features, never really answering the question. Take a recent television commercial by General Motors, for instance. It promotes one of its SUVs that is equipped with an eight-cylinder engine that switches to four cylinders when possible. This, the commercial professes, increases fuel economy. Okay, there's the benefit, right? Wrong. The fact that the engine switches from eight to four cylinders is a feature. It has not answered the question, "So what?" But the fact that the engine increases fuel economy is certainly the benefit, correct? Wrong again. It is the advantage over other engines that do not have the same capability. The benefit is the fact that you can afford to own this SUV because it helps keep costs down, a fact the commercial never mentions.

You might think the difference between this advantage and the benefit is very slim or that the benefit is implied. But unless the actual benefit is clearly stated, the reason for the commercial -- in fact, the reason for the SUV -- is left for the prospect to determine. My question is why would anyone want to leave the last step -- the most important step -- unresolved? Why wouldn't the advertiser provide the answer to the prospect's "so what?"

The answer to this is quite simple and very costly. Companies all-too-often advertise products with the intention of letting prospects fill in the benefit. The thought here is that you may want to buy the product for one reason and I may want to buy it for another. Letting us determine the products' benefits, they believe, will sell more units. Unfortunately, this way of thinking leads to the selling of fewer units.

FAB
To be most profitable and give you the best return on investment, your advertising should present FAB (Feature, Advantage, Benefit). To do this consistently is not easy, but the results are well worth the effort. Let's say you are a printer who has purchased a new digital print machine that can produce high-quality postcards, each with an individual recipient's name, photo, and address on it. With elections coming up, you want to promote its capabilities to political campaign managers. Which one of the following three scenarios would be most likely to get business?

A) Our new XK-3600 provides you with one-to-one marketing materials that include the recipient's name and address and a photo of his/her house.

B) Our new XK-3600 provides you with one-to-one marketing materials that include the recipient's name and address and a photo of his/her house. This makes the postcard more personal, so the recipient feels as if you are speaking directly to him/her.

C) Get more votes by speaking directly to your constituents. Our new XK-3600 provides you with one-to-one marketing materials that include the recipient's name and address and a photo of his/her house. This makes the postcards more personal, so the recipient feels as if you are speaking directly to him/her.

Of course the answer is C. In example A, there is a feature -- providing the politician with "one-to-one marketing materials that include the recipient's name and address and a photo of his/her house." The printing company's target audience, the politicians, will either consciously or sub-consciously ask, "So what?" and move on.

Example B adds the advantage over other printing processes, but again, the target audience may ask, "So what?" It's still not powerful enough to move people to buy.

Remember this. When your marketing includes the benefits to your profitable target audience, you also reap the benefits.

Author's Bio: 

As a speaker, author and coach, Peter George helps self-employed professionals achieve the success they've been striving for. His highly-acclaimed More Clients More Profits Workbook includes contributions from van Misner, Bob Burg, Susan Roane, Scott Ginsberg & others. Want to start attracting more clients right away? Claim your free copy of "101 Ways to Attract More Clients" at =>
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