So, you’re trying to decide how to spend your marketing budget this year. You’ve gone through the checklist and done your homework to determine where and when you should buy media or post to social. You’ve hashed out your talking points and developed messaging to showcase your features. Should you pitch to trade publications? Buy boosted Facebook posts? Launch a weekly video series? These are all important questions to ask, but you might be asking them too early.
Have you asked yourself why you’re marketing?
Besides the obvious: selling. At the end of the day, we’re all selling something. Tickets to a charity event/fundraiser. Products in boutiques. Consulting services. A family-friendly experience. The list goes on, but what about the bigger “why” of marketing?
Why does your business exist?
Knowing what you’re selling is one thing, but understanding your true benefit, not the features, is the key to unlocking markets and building loyal fanbases. Creating content that truly encapsulates your purpose requires thinking beyond surface-level value.
For example, if you’re a local bank, your customers depend on you for financial security. They know you and come to you because they trust you with their hard-earned money. You’re a confidant, an adviser and a valuable fiscal resource. But look deeper. You’re giving them something more than a checking account. You’re giving them peace of mind. You’re helping them put their kids through college. You’re teaching them about saving. The more trust they put in you, the more they are rewarded.
Yet, many banks are still screaming “low interest rates” on the radio. Not exactly a heartwarming message, right?
A marketing campaign can’t focus on the “what.” Listing features isn’t advertising. It’s, well, a list. At Toucan, we go through a process called the features-to-benefit analysis. We start with what you know you do best: your core services, unique selling points, differentiating factors, proven best-sellers. These are “what” you sell: features.
Then, we dig deeper to understand how these benefits provide value. Remember, Volvo doesn’t sell luxury or horsepower - they sell safety. A customer uses your product because it makes them feel a certain way or allows them to do something they couldn’t. Every feature is translated into the root value it brings: benefits.
A company that knows its true benefits can harness those truths and create advertising that resonates with real, live people. Branding is an artform, and benefits are your paints. Use them to create something people want.
What are your business’s benefits?
Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising agency.