Features vs. Benefits: Don’t Forget

See here, slightly annotated with a humor joke:

Note the difference between features and benefits—and think about them. For example, a house that gives shelter and lasts a long time is made with certain materials and to a certain design; those are its features. Its benefits include pride of ownership, financial security (ha!), providing for the family, and inclusion in a neighborhood. You build features into your product or service so that you can sell the benefits.

Benefits are hard to write about concretely, almost to the point where thinking about their value becomes merely speculative. What’s pride of ownership really worth? What would people really pay for the marginal units of neighborhood inclusion that a house can impart over an apartment? Close to bullshit.

Only comparisons to similar cases really count. The comparisons can be direct, or they can be indirect and more creative. To the extent that they’re creative, however, they’re presumably less reliable, all else equal.

If your comparison is spot-on, but really creative, what makes it compelling to others, I suspect, says more about who’s listening than its internal logic.

So keep looking for listeners. Hard to know when to stop.

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