Frequently Asked Marketing Question

The benefits for my product are: Value, Performance, Reliability, Quality, and Reputation. Is this correct?

Answer: Customers buy product benefits, which are abstract concepts. You can find benefits by asking the simple question: What do you mean by that? This is from an old technique called "funneling."

For example, if you say that "value" is a benefit that customers are looking for in a product or service, then ask yourself (or better yet, the customer) "What do you mean by that?" What you will typically find is that people will respond by using less abstract and more meaningful words, like "a low price." Quality works the same way. If you ask, "what do you mean by that?" you will find that quality actually refers to specific benefits that customers are seeking. For example, depending on the product category, quality may refer to "good tasting coffee" or "reliability" or even "safety."

If you keep asking the question, "what do you mean by that?" you will eventually find that you can only answer this question by using tactics or concrete product attributes. When you hit this point, you have typically found the right level to describe a customer benefit. For example, if you ask "what do you mean by that?" to "good tasting coffee", you probably can only answer that question by referring to the concrete beans and roasting equipment that are used.

With this technique in mind, you might now consider the other major ideas that typically follow under the heading of customer benefits, but are simply too high. These include terms like reputation, image, or the ultimately useless idea (that I often hear) "it works the way I expect it to work."

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