What is a "true" benefit?

by rennsport 20 replies
I'm having trouble fully explaining the benefits of some features from my product. For instance, one of the most important features will save the user money. But from reading stuff here, saving money is referred to as a "fake" benefit. Can someone help me distinguish between the two? Isn't saving money itself an emotional thing that everybody will like?


Another example that might help: say I made a device that would eliminate traffic entirely. The benefit would not necessarily be "eliminate traffic" but rather it would be "make businesses more accessible to people which helps increase their revenue, make driving a less frustrating experience.." etc, right?
#copywriting #benefit #true
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    Originally Posted by rennsport View Post

    But from reading stuff here, saving money is referred to as a "fake" benefit.
    Saving money is fine as a benefit.
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    Andrew Gould

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  • Profile picture of the author DKCopywriter
    Saving money is a great benefit.

    The feature is a low price, the benefit is saving money.
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  • Profile picture of the author outscrape
    In my mind it's more like -

    Feature - Lower cost

    Benefit - You have more money

    Better benefit - You have more money to buy the things in life that you need

    even better benefit - You have more money to pay for your kids to go to college, so they don't have to end up like you, scraping and saving for the rest of their lives just to afford to pay their rent.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    I'd say it's not 'fake' but overused. Or, maybe, used instead of other, more appropriate.

    I've seen copy that assumed that all I, the prospect, cared about was saving money. Yes, I wanted to save money, so did everyone else. But that was not the only thing. And, if everyone says their gadget/service will save me $37 dollars, saving $37 dollars is no longer a benefit.

    So, if I transfer my phone and internet to your company and you're going to save me $37 and give me faster internet, so I save time, while your competitors only save me $37, you win.

    You win even if they save me $37 and you only save me $12, if my videos download 10 seconds faster if I'm with your company.

    I speak to a lot of reps in a particular industry. I always ask them why I should use their company. 9 out of 10 tell me they've got better customer service, their company is fast. 5 out of 10 also tell me their company is easy to deal with.

    1 in 10 says the above plus something that gets attention. Not something spectacular, usually, just different. And that's all it takes, a benefit that others are not claiming to do, often a benefit/feature others offer but don't know they should mention.

    Originally Posted by rennsport View Post

    I'm having trouble fully explaining the benefits of some features from my product. For instance, one of the most important features will save the user money. But from reading stuff here, saving money is referred to as a "fake" benefit. Can someone help me distinguish between the two? Isn't saving money itself an emotional thing that everybody will like?


    Another example that might help: say I made a device that would eliminate traffic entirely. The benefit would not necessarily be "eliminate traffic" but rather it would be "make businesses more accessible to people which helps increase their revenue, make driving a less frustrating experience.." etc, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by rennsport View Post

    I'm having trouble fully explaining the benefits of some features from my product. For instance, one of the most important features will save the user money. But from reading stuff here, saving money is referred to as a "fake" benefit. Can someone help me distinguish between the two? Isn't saving money itself an emotional thing that everybody will like?


    Another example that might help: say I made a device that would eliminate traffic entirely. The benefit would not necessarily be "eliminate traffic" but rather it would be "make businesses more accessible to people which helps increase their revenue, make driving a less frustrating experience.." etc, right?
    Here's a good way to look at it...

    Feature - What the product HAS
    Weak benefit - What the product DOES for the customer
    Strong benefit - What the product MEANS to the customer

    As an example, take a fictional weight loss product.

    The product has all natural ingredients - that's a feature
    The product helps the customer lose weight - that's a weak benefit
    The customer feels good about himself when he looks in the mirror - that's a strong benefit.

    The strong benefits are, of course, the most emotionally powerful.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author rennsport
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Here's a good way to look at it...

      Feature - What the product HAS
      Weak benefit - What the product DOES for the customer
      Strong benefit - What the product MEANS to the customer

      As an example, take a fictional weight loss product.

      The product has all natural ingredients - that's a feature
      The product helps the customer lose weight - that's a weak benefit
      The customer feels good about himself when he looks in the mirror - that's a strong benefit.

      The strong benefits are, of course, the most emotionally powerful.

      Alex
      That's an interesting way of looking at it. Just to make sure I understand it correctly, can you review the example I am about to list? I'll use the hypothetical traffic issue again.

      Feature: Eliminate traffic.
      Weak Benefit: Improve mobility in the city/make businesses more accessible
      Strong benefit: Make driving to the city easier and less frustrating for residents so they can get to the city quicker, safer, and thus enjoy their activities sooner.

      Grammar probably isn't the best, but is it the right idea?


      Thanks to all for the replies. This has helped quite a bit.
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      • Profile picture of the author darkclaw3000
        Originally Posted by rennsport View Post

        That's an interesting way of looking at it. Just to make sure I understand it correctly, can you review the example I am about to list? I'll use the hypothetical traffic issue again.

        Feature: Eliminate traffic.
        Weak Benefit: Improve mobility in the city/make businesses more accessible
        Strong benefit: Make driving to the city easier and less frustrating for residents so they can get to the city quicker, safer, and thus enjoy their activities sooner.

        Grammar probably isn't the best, but is it the right idea?


        Thanks to all for the replies. This has helped quite a bit.
        Here's my take with what limited knowledge I have of your product.

        Feature: Eliminate Traffic
        Weak Benefit:Make driving to the city easier and less frustrating for residents so they can get to the city quicker, safer, and thus enjoy their activities sooner.

        Strong Benefit: You need to show up for meetings in time if you wanna earn the respect you deserve. >> pride emotion
        Your family's hungry and waiting for you at the dinner table, eliminate congestion so you can enjoy a relaxing meal before the food gets cold! > don't want to disappoint family
        Heavy traffic causes accidents, stop making your loved ones worry by taking the safest AND fastest route! > safety and care
        Gas is always on the rise, taking the fastest route will do all of those above and not burn a hole in your pocket as if you're stuck idling in bad traffic!

        Cheers
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by rennsport View Post

        That's an interesting way of looking at it. Just to make sure I understand it correctly, can you review the example I am about to list? I'll use the hypothetical traffic issue again.

        Feature: Eliminate traffic.
        Weak Benefit: Improve mobility in the city/make businesses more accessible
        Strong benefit: Make driving to the city easier and less frustrating for residents so they can get to the city quicker, safer, and thus enjoy their activities sooner.

        Grammar probably isn't the best, but is it the right idea?
        Benefit descriptions start with a verb, so I'd call "eliminate traffic" a weak benefit.

        Sometimes features and weak benefits are interchangeable. For example, if the device has an automatic switch called a "traffic elimination switch" that would be a feature.

        Yes, "make driving less frustrating" and "enjoy their activities sooner" are strong benefits.

        Good work!

        Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Here's a good way to look at it...

      Feature - What the product HAS
      Weak benefit - What the product DOES for the customer
      Strong benefit - What the product MEANS to the customer

      As an example, take a fictional weight loss product.

      The product has all natural ingredients - that's a feature
      The product helps the customer lose weight - that's a weak benefit
      The customer feels good about himself when he looks in the mirror - that's a strong benefit.

      The strong benefits are, of course, the most emotionally powerful.

      Alex
      Excellent.

      When I was taking a Sales training program 40 years ago, I heard this sequence, which I think applies well here.

      "You get..."
      "Which means that....."
      "And the real benefit to you is...."

      In other words,

      Here is what you get.
      Here is how that is to your advantage.
      Here is how that ultimately impacts your life.

      Strangely, this works much better when writing and reading copy, that it does with the spoken word. Much the same way as using Tom Hopkin's "tag ons" gets repetitive and loses its punch.

      Feature; New sports car.
      Advantage; You'll stand out from the crowd of other middle aged flabby guys with low self esteem.
      Benefit; Girls will start looking at you again, and you'll be fooled into thinking they are looking at you, and not just your car.
      True benefit; (that feeds the need) you increase your chances of getting sex.

      Sooooo the true benefit of a new sports car is...it's more likely that you'll get laid.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Sooooo the true benefit of a new sports car is...it's more likely that you'll get laid.
        You have to be subtle and tactful with that one. (If mentioning it at all.) Why? Because people don't want to admit to themselves (or have other people knowing) that they're buying a car to impress the opposite sex.

        (JMO)
        Jonathan
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        "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          I would never drive a Bugatti Veyron for any other reason!

          Neither would you.

          C'mon, you're not going to say, It's got great mileage. You're not going to say, They were out of Corolla's at the dealership and I needed a car fast.

          Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

          You have to be subtle and tactful with that one. (If mentioning it at all.) Why? Because people don't want to admit to themselves (or have other people knowing) that they're buying a car to impress the opposite sex.

          (JMO)
          Jonathan
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          • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
            Originally Posted by DABK View Post

            C'mon, you're not going to say, It's got great mileage.
            Sometimes Marketers/Salesmen would say something like that (at the appropriate time) so that the Buyer can "justify"/rationalize their (emotional purchase) with logic. That said I'm very much a "Apprentice Copywriter" and still have a great deal to learn.

            Jonathan
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            "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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          • Profile picture of the author AmanS
            Originally Posted by DABK View Post

            I would never drive a Bugatti Veyron for any other reason!

            Neither would you.

            C'mon, you're not going to say, It's got great mileage. You're not going to say, They were out of Corolla's at the dealership and I needed a car fast.
            I think using an appeal to exclusivity is strong for cars -- especially a Veyron.

            An elite machine for the elite driver -- not everyone can handle speed like this.

            Or for something like a Mustang -- draw on the history of the car.

            In the old days men were rough. All that mattered was getting the job done. Well some things live on. 6 generations strong. Are you a Mustang man?

            I think there are strong motivators for buying a sports car other than the sex appeal. Pride is at least as powerful as lust.
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              If your target audience's naughty parts are still in working order?

              Originally Posted by AmanS View Post

              I think using an appeal to exclusivity is strong for cars -- especially a Veyron.

              An elite machine for the elite driver -- not everyone can handle speed like this.

              Or for something like a Mustang -- draw on the history of the car.

              In the old days men were rough. All that mattered was getting the job done. Well some things live on. 6 generations strong. Are you a Mustang man?

              I think there are strong motivators for buying a sports car other than the sex appeal. Pride is at least as powerful as lust.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        P.S.
        Here's a similar example I noticed just today while going through a magazine in a waiting room:

        Basically, the product is trousers for women (with a picture) and Marketed as "Comfort Fit." The ad then goes on the explain why they're the most comfortable trousers (etc.). The real reason, however (that isn't mentioned just illustrated with the picture and subtly hinted at with the Copy) is that women are buying them to look more curvy/attractive to Men.
        Signature
        "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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      • Profile picture of the author rennsport
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Excellent.

        When I was taking a Sales training program 40 years ago, I heard this sequence, which I think applies well here.

        "You get..."
        "Which means that....."
        "And the real benefit to you is...."

        In other words,

        Here is what you get.
        Here is how that is to your advantage.
        Here is how that ultimately impacts your life.

        Strangely, this works much better when writing and reading copy, that it does with the spoken word. Much the same way as using Tom Hopkin's "tag ons" gets repetitive and loses its punch.

        Feature; New sports car.
        Advantage; You'll stand out from the crowd of other middle aged flabby guys with low self esteem.
        Benefit; Girls will start looking at you again, and you'll be fooled into thinking they are looking at you, and not just your car.
        True benefit; (that feeds the need) you increase your chances of getting sex.

        Sooooo the true benefit of a new sports car is...it's more likely that you'll get laid.
        Now that I think about it, where should you use the benefit and the true benefit? Would you put the true benefit in your headline? I feel like true benefits are often very vague and if you include them as the headline then people won't really know what your product is? Using the example you just created, if my headline was "Increase your chances of getting sex", thats the true benefit but if I read that as the first thing I would have no clue what your product is--it could be a car, clothes, or any of the other million things that could increase your chances of getting laid. But if your headline revolved around getting a new car that'll give you status I would have more knowledge on what you're selling. Like you guys say, the headline is the most important so if I read the headline and have no idea what your product is about I would just click away.

        So what I'm trying to get at is, should the true benefit be in the headlines or used as support? I think it's too vague to be in the headlines since many things could give somebody that true benefit. E.g. I see an add that promises me I'll look better. That's a true benefit but how do I know what it's talking about? Clothes? Losing weight? Skin care? Etc..

        Interested to hear what you guys think. My logic could just be off here.
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  • As Alex said, what you're talking about here are more accurately described as "strong" and "weak" benefits. Calling weak benefits "fake" is a bit overboard; they aren't of ZERO value, they just don't have a massive emotional impact.

    You can think of a good benefit as a three-layered structure, with the bottom two layers supporting the one above it. At the bottom you have a feature, which is essentially a fact about the product; you need features because without them, benefits lack credibility. In the middle you have a weak benefit, which is a concrete result of using a product or service; weak benefits serve as a 'bridge' between a feature and a strong benefit. At the top you have a strong benefit, which is the positive emotion or experience the person will get from using the product.

    All of these should ideally be there.

    No feature, no credibility.

    No strong benefit, and you can only sell to people who already understand how the weak benefit will help them.

    No weak benefit, and the connection between the feature and the strong benefit won't be apparent.
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    This has stuck in my memory for years, as a great example of a "deeper benefit" -- "Makes your skin more kissable."

    From some skin cream ad.

    Colm
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    • Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      This has stuck in my memory for years, as a great example of a "deeper benefit" -- "Makes your skin more kissable."

      From some skin cream ad.

      Colm
      Ha!

      Only problem is, you gotta rub it all over for 100% action.

      Gotta figure the "ooooh...he started on my toes, and moved up slowly to my [getchya thesaurus out while thinkin' dirty thoughts]" don't play so good if'n you fail to slap the MAKES YOUR SKIN MORE KISSABLE squirto creem on mebbe your kneecaps.

      An' I am thinkin' ants here, onya floor, kinda beelinea flightless communication suddenly snapped all busted by ragea sum bipolar tomcat breakin' the line.

      Gotta want this stuff available as an all-body spray.

      "Not a single square inch of your undeniable beauty
      will be denied the sweetest of Smoochie's lushest bounties."


      Thing is, I gotta visit Wal-Mart tamara.

      Not sure I wanna be universally kissable.

      Las' thing I crave when stockin' up on crap like frozen veg an' toilet de-viruser liquid is an onslaughta invasive tongues bustin' from outta the scenery tryin' to fill up my personal creviture with droola the frickin' lustoloonpants.
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      Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author uitechsol
    Save Money or time is the most over used and useless space covering sentence in any copy or Ad.I mean this sentence is enough to get on nerves because its too common and almost every business claims that.
    So its of No benefit at first place.
    The Selling line should be unique and Bold.Game of words is the perfect phrase i can use here.You should play with words and try to make the best possible selling line.
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