Fixing Your Marketing; Features vs. Outcomes

Why doesn’t your marketing work? Reason #2 – Maybe you are marketing Processes, Features, and Benefits/Results when you should be marketing Outcomes. My friend and fellow Team Nimbus facilitator, John Nordlander reminded me of this during a MasterMind session with some great business owners this week.

Processes – Most of us are making money at something we are either passionate about or at least deeply involved with. That attachment makes us want to tell everyone how we do what we do. But they really don’t care. HOW we do what we do is only interesting to us. Stop trying to tell your customers HOW you do things (actually they’ll ask later if you market your Outcomes first).

Features – The same love for how we do things (Processes) makes us want to tell people all about the features of what we sell; how it stretches farther, has stronger glue, spins faster, takes up less space. Again, your customers really don’t care. Stop trying to tell them WHAT your cool product can do (actually they’ll ask later if you market your Outcomes first). FYI – “our system is 99% reliable” is a feature. Boring.

Benefits/Results – Now we’re getting to some things that are on some customers’ radar screens. What’s the benefit to your customer? What result will it bring them? If I can get them to realize the benefit of using my product, I’ve got a shot at getting their attention. The problem is that benefits and results are “clinical” – 4 out of 5 dentists recommend. Or “you will have cleaner teeth”, or “your car will run cleaner”. While some customers will connect with the clinical results, it’s not enough for most.

Outcomes – The difference between this and a Benefit/Result? We connect intellectually and “clinically” with Benefits and Results, but we connect subjectively and “emotionally” with Outcomes. “You will feel the power”, “You will have more free time”, “Skiing will be more fun”, “People will like you better”, “You won’t have to sweat the details anymore.” “Life will be easier.” Outcomes stir the emotions.

Buyers at all levels, whether a child buying bubble gum or a hardened government buyer – all of them without exception buy emotionally. If you connect on the emotional level, you win. Bank on it. Help people connect with Outcomes.

By the way, if you do, they will then want to know the clinical Benefits/Results, all the Features, and how in the world you make it happen (Processes). So you’ll still get a chance to share all that “craftperson” stuff pent up inside. You’ll just have to be patient and wait until they want to hear it – after they connect emotionally with the Outcome.

Share Outcomes and you’ll have more fun selling, have happier customers, and live on a tropical island. And the birds in the trees around you will sing continuously. (OK, a little heavy on the Outcomes, but you get the idea.)