We’ve seen a lot of companies in the cannabis space touting product features and focusing on their company profile. While that can be great for blogs and SEO, it’s not that effective for signing up new clients.
Your features are just that — your features. We bet there are a few other companies that have similar features and a similar profile. It can be shades of McDonald’s vs. Burger King vs. Wendy’s. But unlike the world of fast food, your potential customers want to know what you can do for them. There’s a world of difference between rattling off your product features and showing the customer how your product or service will benefit them. Features showcase the product or service; benefits demonstrate how you’re going to make their life better.
Features vs. Benefits
Features are the table stakes; it’s how you get to play in the game. Potential customers care about what’s in it for them. How will your specific product or service make their lives easier, cheaper, better, faster or more profitable? How will the benefits of using your product or service make your customer’s consumer happy? This is what you need to get to — and quickly.
For example, standard features of the average cannabis and hemp extraction equipment might include full automation and low maintenance. These are great features, but what is the benefit to the customer? Fully automated means that the system requires little training and supervision, which means employees can focus on other work or the overall staff can be reduced, resulting in incremental savings. Low maintenance means the equipment is going to be more reliable, resulting in fewer unplanned down times and a reduction of labor and cost associated with maintaining the machine.
Even though you’re aware of how and why your product or service is going to make your potential customer’s life better — it doesn’t mean that they do.
On your website, you have less than eight seconds to make a good impression, clearly communicate who you are and what you can do for a potential customer. This is the era of instant gratification, the age of Instagram, Netflix and DVRs. You need to make a positive and lasting impression before a customer blinks and is on to the next thing.
At a trade show, there are a million distractions and people vying for attention. Make sure your benefits are front and center in ALL your marketing materials. Your sales team should be using the same key messages and in the order that matters most to your potential customers. The collateral should drive home the key benefits.
When you stack up features, especially at a trade show, there are very few ways to stand out. It’s the benefits that separate your organization from the rest. Identify the benefits that give you a competitive advantage, make sure that they’re unique and ownable, and showcase them in all forms of your messaging.
Benefit language is especially important if you’re in a commodity business/industry or in a very price-competitive industry.
By focusing on the product benefits in as much of a personalized way as possible, you’re connecting with your prospect on an emotional level. Benefit-driven copy focuses on your customer’s needs and the solutions that you bring to your customer. The benefits should give your customers a reason to believe and buy based on how it improves their lives (and the lives of their consumers).
Key in on the differences
Features are facts about products or services. They add credibility and substance to your sales pitch, but they aren’t enough to persuade prospects to buy. Benefits give customers a reason to buy; they explain how your product or service improves their lives.
To answer this question as you work through your communications, answer the question: “So what?” Real benefits connect to your customer’s desires, such as saving time, reducing costs, increasing profits, becoming happier, healthier, more relaxed or more productive.
And in the end, that’s why someone will be interested in your services: the results.
Kari Brua is a partner at WYD, a marketing accelerator for trailblazers in the cannabis industry looking for rapid growth and branding. She has nearly 20 years of B2B and B2C marketing experience planning and implementing award-winning programs that build brand awareness, generate leads and drive loyalty. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.