Don’t you feel like often when you seek for specific product information, you are first submerged by superficial marketing slogans? They are revolving around the same generic consumer values – save, safe, easy, sexy, etc. Are companies producing content for noobs and dummies? Is it a trend in the communication everywhere?
As a reasonable person, I am used to process functional information. Then based on critical thinking and background knowledge I am able to translate this information into benefits, usage, threats and choice.
Globalisation imposed new standards in communicating values – customer benefits oriented. It is a massive trend in modern copywriting. The basic idea behind is to “stop talking about your products, that nobody cares about and tell what is their unique value for my need”.
As marketer, I am completely OK with this and truly believe that knowing the present and future customer needs is a must for efficient communication and offer marketing. It is just that communication becomes too much benefit centric to a point where benefits alone are self-sufficient.
For some industries like clothing, it is just OK; you don’t need to go to details to buy the coat you like. In most cases few perceived benefits are enough – trendy, warm, comfortable, quality fabrics.
Benefits only copywriting could be abusive
Other industries abuse by focusing on few product benefits and the rest is a black box. Even benefits may be mystified – the consumer doesn’t really catch the point, but feels like this is the right product.
Typical examples are pharma and cosmetics where your need is frequently addressed by the pseudo-scientific “nano-molecules” or a “new improved formula”. Are we dumb or dumber? May be both, because those texts are still selling.
Focussing exclusively on benefits limits the original copy
I had previous experience in the marketing of an international electrical equipment manufacturer where “the customer voice” was important ingredient of the corporate culture. At least important enough to align the main messages with the consumer values/benefits. Here’s the case:
Example of products: circuit breakers, switch gears, frequency drives;
Example of related customer benefits: savings – time/space; easy maintenance; energy efficiency; safety;
The issue is that customer values do not evolve much in this field. Therefore, on every new product launch, the main message would be similar. What was “More performance in smaller size” becomes “Even more performance in much smaller size”, etc.
BTW, we saw the same approach with Apple few keynotes back, when every new product was “the world’s most advanced …, ever”.
Benefits only communication has become so persistent, that it changed the way we adopt things. Finally, it hits the rock bottom with the social networks like-unlike syndrome that will get us to Idiocracy earlier than expected. “It rocks”, “The Cooolest” and other short hooks from social influencers can sell your stuff or burry your business.
Benefits sell better, faster and more than features. It is a fact. Consumers recognise their needs and buy products they would not buy if they only read the specs. It does open room for abuse or mediocre content, though. Writing about features should not be banned from sales copy – this is the tengible proof of the benefits that consumers expect. It is up to copywriters and creatives, to find smarter ways of communicating values without underestimating customers’ common sense.