The Advantages of Features and Benefits: Why Does It Matter?

Regardless of your industry, no matter what products or services you sell, your marketing campaigns will always branch from three focal points. Fortunately, your competition is doing a terrible job with the third focal point, because most people don’t get far enough down the rabbit hole. Here are the three focal points: 

  1. What are your product features? This digs into the attributes, functionalities, and all the bells and whistles your product offers.
  2. What are the product benefits? This tackles how your products or services features provide some discernible ROI to the customer. 
  3. What are the product advantages? This addresses how the features and benefits remove a pain point or resolve a felt need. 

At first glance, one might say each premise seems effective unto itself, while others may argue that these three are saying the same thing. In reality, this is the nuance of persuasion, but there is common ground: features and benefits are both a means to an end. Advantages are the true end, not the benefit. Regardless of  your prospect, the best salespeople will use all three to make the sale.

Nevertheless, a fundamental understanding of features, benefits, and advantages is essential to the success. In this article, we’ll dig deep into what they are and their differences.

So, keep reading and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. 

The Relationship Between Features, Benefits and Advantages

As mentioned above, both features and benefits are a means to an end. The end is having M.E.T. (money, energy, time) the actual felt needs of the customer. 

Every feature that your product has comes with a corresponding benefit or series of benefits. But every customer has a preconceived reality of what they already want or need. The features and benefits used to entice them are merely tools to validate the product. It’s the advantages that fit into their perceptual reality, turning it into actuality.

Knowing the difference between features, benefits, and advantages will strengthen your sales pitch and advertising. When selling a product or service, most businesses fall into the trap of focusing more on the bells and whistles, and less on what those bells and whistles actually provide the end user. 

It’s easy to understand why, but consumers don’t buy what the product does, they buy why the product, service, or solution serves them.  

We have to understand that there are hidden needs going into a customer’s decision process other than the specs. People want products or services that alleviate pain points (money, stress, time). That’s why putting the customer’s felt needs into consideration is imperative.

What is a Product Feature?

When you are selling a product it is important to know what the features of that product are. By understanding the value of product features, you can better sell your products to customers and increase your sales.

Product features are a collection of a product’s traits or attributes that deliver value to end-users and differentiate a product in the market. 

Take HVAC systems, for example — they have thermostats, evaporator coils, heat exchangers, ventilation, condensers, plenums, and so on. These are the components that make up the HVAC product features. Whereas the cooling, warming, and comfort that they provide are the product’s benefits.

What is a Product Benefit?

Product benefits are anything the product is offering that meets a want or desire. For example, water commercials focus on, “quenching your thirst” rather than explaining how alkaline their water is.

Product benefits are the tangible and perceptual bits that influence a customer’s decision and choice behavior. There are 8 general themes that product benefits fit into:

    1. Functional – A product’s functional, utilitarian, or physical performance is referred to as a functional benefit. The tangible and concrete features that a consumer perceives when using a product.
    2. Social – The perceived benefits gained from a product’s link with social class, social rank, or a specific social group are known as social benefits. Clothing, jewelry, and automobiles, for example, are frequently associated with social benefits.
    3. Emotional – The perceptual benefit resulting from a product’s ability to elicit feelings or affective states is referred to as emotional benefit. Benefits can have cultural-ethnic meanings (e.g., Christmas trees, Thanksgiving turkeys). These benefits can also be personal, holding a distinctive meaning, like tastes and memories that are related to a positive emotional resonance. For example, what does the smell of freshly baked cookies conjure up in your mind?  
    4. Epistemic – The advantage earned from a product’s ability to satisfy curiosity and meet the demand for knowledge is an epistemic benefit. Epistemic benefits are product benefits that satisfy an itch. Epistemic value includes exploration, curiosity, and variety-seeking consumption behaviors. A consumer’s willingness to try new products is often consistent with the epistemic benefit, like early adopters.
    5. Aesthetic – This product benefit is its ability to provide a sense of beauty or boost personal expression. The aesthetic advantage is subjective and individualized. Consumers pursue aesthetic benefits in a variety of ways. These ways include a style that is representative of one’s self perception, and the product’s appearance expectations.
    6. Hedonic – The benefits derived from a product’s ability to meet a need for enjoyment, pleasure, or a distraction is hedonic benefits. Hedonic benefits, according to Olshavsky and Granbois (1979), are an important characteristic of many items. People want to relax and be amused rather than seek out sensible or “serious” benefits. Vacationing, going to bars, watching sports, comedic movies or TV shows, or even purchasing amusing trinkets are examples of hedonic benefits. Buying an air conditioner provides cool air in the heat of the summer and a water heater allows for hot showers. 
    7. Situational – A product’s ability to meet a person’s needs in certain conditions is known as a situational benefit. A product benefit is situational if underlying physical or social circumstances improve a customer’s situation. Customers opt for air conditiong when their living conditions becomes uncomfortable. This is an example of a situational product benefit. 
    8. Holistic –  A perceived overall harmony, consistency, compatibility, and consistency in a product is referred to as holistic benefit. When you offer a comprehensive solution in lieu of a product, you are selling a holistic benefit. For example, a new, energy efficient HVAC system with an air scrubber, 4” filter, surge protector, smart thermostat, and AeroSeal® is an example of a holistic product with all the benefits of the whole. 

Understanding that all of these wants and desires have underlying needs, we can take these various product benefits and attach them to the underlying felt needs and pain points of the buyer. 

What is a Product Advantage_

What is a Product Advantage?

Selling the benefits seems like the most obvious place to stop to many people. What’s missing is “the why”. Why are your customers buying this product? Why does any specific benefit matter to them? Why would they choose your product over the competitor’s comparable (or identical) product? 

It all comes down to a exceptionally simple buying equation: 

Money + Energy + Time = +/- Value

This is your value propostition. This equation can have a positive or negative result. 

For example, if the felt needs of money, energy, and time cost more than the value proposed, no sale is made. 

Money + Energy + Time > Value = No Sale

When value is greater than the buyer’s felt needs of money, energy, and time, a sale is made.

Money + Energy + Time < Value = Sale

This means that all the product’s features and benefits are either adding to the underlying value of the product or solution, or taking away from it. 

When you try to sell a customer something they don’t care about (or bundle it into a larger solution), you are negatively impacting their money. By negatively impacting their money, you are forcing them to take more time to earn more money, reducing the amount of discretionary tim ethey have to enjoy life. This causes undue stress and anxiety, which reduces their energy, further lowering your chances of closing the deal. 

When you expertly create the ideal solution you cancel out the money to value proposition, allowing the buyer to imagine themselves having the time to enjoy the solution you are providing, and not causing them stress. 

Essentially, it’s about striking the perfect balance of MET to Value to tip the value scale to the benefit of the buyer. That is when a sale is made. 

Product Features vs. Product Benefits vs Product Advantages

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that product features and product benefits are one in the same. As mentioned earlier, there is a big difference between the two. 

To reiterate, features are simply a collection of what your product or service is, while benefits are what your product or service does for your customer. In other words, features tell your customers what they’re getting, while benefits show them how your product or service will improve their life. And more importantly, the product advantages are WHY your customers will buy it. People buy your why. 

The old saying “less is more” really applies when it comes to describing the benefits of your product’s features. Stick to the things that matter most for the product you’re selling. Externally triggered grudge purchases don’t have the same sales pitch as an internally trigger impulse buy.  

In residential home services you should focus on the CSS features, advantages, and benefits that make the customer want an upgrade from their current state. Instead of trying to exhaustively cover all the possible features, just dial it into what your customers value most. 

To put it even more simply, product features mean nothing if they don’t perceive of the benefits attributed to them and the advantage that is associated with those benefits. 

Your seasoned Techs and Salespeople have product knowledge and know the difference between features and benefits, but few of them are relating it to the pain points that the buyer is attempting to avoid. This is known as the curse of knowledge. Practicing the FBA (feature, benefits, advantage) walkthrough’s are an important training process to follow for employees at all experience levels. 

If you need more help with features, benefits, and advantages, book a call with Wizard of Sales™ today!

Feature, Benefit, Advantage In SalesFeature, Benefit, Advantage In Sales

A feature, benefit, advantage matrix is a tool that Sales Managers can use to help teach employees the relationship between features, benefits, and advantages. This tools improves upon the feature-benefit matrix that misses the most important aspect of the sales process that actually matters to the buyer. 

By understanding this relationship, they can better assess which features are most important to customers and what benefits those features provide. This can then lead to the felt needs you are meeting in the advantages you express to the customer. 

The matrix is organized into three columns: features, benefits, and advantages. 

In the feature column, list the product’s feature.In the benefit column, list out one benefit at a time. Then write out the advantages that one benefit provides. This is a valuable tool to develop your sales strategy.

Feature Benefit Advantage
4” filter upgrade Only change once a year Save time not changing filters and less stress since you don’t have to worry about dirty filters smothering your system leading to untimely, and costly catastrophic failures that cost you far more than the cost of an upgraded filter. 

Benefits can be divided into two tiers: Tier One Benefits and Tier Two Benefits – maybe even a third tier, if you’re fancy. Tier One Benefits are those that are essential to the customer’s experience with the product. Tier Two Benefits are those that are nice to have but not essential. When teaching someone brand new to your industry, be sure to focus on the Tier One Benefits to keep things easier to remember. 

Features, Benefits, and Advantages In Advertising

Feature-Driven Marketing

Feature-driven marketing is education. Highlighting the features of your product shows people what a specific product or service does. Feature-driven marketing is the lowest form of marketing becasue more often than not, it answers a question nobody is asking. If you are going to invest in feature-driven marketing efforts, be sure to remove all aspects of selling, and make it entertaining.  

HVAC Example

Say, your company specializes in ductwork services and you’re eager to announce a new duct material you’re using. A feature-driven marketing strategy will show viewers the fundamentals of airflow, while demonstrating the subtle nuance of why you are the expert in the field. There is no need to be salesy. The simple fact that you are demonstrating your expertise is enough to have buyers step into your gravity well. 

You may say something like this: 

By replacing your flex pipes with sheetmetal ducts, your airflow will increase upward of 45%. Not only will you find your rooms consistently more comfortable, eliminating hot spots, you will save between $40 and $50 a month at today’s energy rates since you system doesn’t have to work as long or hard to get your house up to temperature. 

Going one step further, you can add AeroSeal® to seal all the gaps and cracks in your duct work, reducing air loss from 40% down to 2%, or about $30 a month on your power bill.  

What did you notice in the copy?

Instead of focusing on how the product can help people, it focused more on why the benefits of the features are worth investing in. The actual felt needs. The advantages.  

However, there’s a catch in utilizing feature-driven marketing. Companies too often fall into what Harvard Business Review describes as feature bloat, featuritis, or feature creeps. Err on the side of caution when it comes to features and education because with too many bells and whistles come feature fatigue and a concern that the product is no longer worth the price.

Did I mention less is more?  

Benefit-Driven MarketingBenefit-Driven Marketing

Benefit-driven marketing is an approach that focuses on highlighting the positive outcomes consumers gets from using your product or service. Benefit-driven marketing is a popular strategy as marketers strive to create more value for their audiences. While more effective than feature-driven marketing in eliciting an emotion, benefit-driven marketing too often falls short of business-owners expectations to solicit the desired action or build the brand. 

If you own a plumbing company and you want to start selling $5,000 bidets to your prospects, here’s how benefit-driven marketing could go:

Plumbing Example

You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the Toto G400. The marriage-saving, life-changing, butt warming, washlet that has been written into more than one Last Will and Testament. 

It’s not the patent ceramic glaze that does it or the environmentally-friendly Tornado Flush™ system. Nope. It’s not even the touchless functionality or the fact you’ll never need to buy toilet paper again. 

You might be thinking it’s the air deodorizer. Possibly. But it’s actually the 108.75 PSI oscillating and pulsating comfort wash that is going to change your life. This means a special kind of clean. A clean clean. And right in the spot that matters most. No more cling-ons. No more butt itch. No more skid marks. 

Just a sexy, sparkling clean keester. 

Don’t delay. A perfect butt is only a call away. Stop spending your money on marriage counseling, and invest in a Toto G400 Bidet today. Go on, you deserve it. 

By understanding and marketing the benefits of your product, you can increase sales and customer satisfaction. By tying the feature’s benefits to the advantage, you get deeper buy in.  

It now falls on you to create a compelling copy that gets these not-so-obvious advantages out in the open. Once people see the value of what you’re trying to offer, you’ll connect with audiences at a deeper level which ultimately tips prospects into leads and hot leads into full-fledged buying customers.

Advantage-Driven Marketing

Advantage-driven marketing speaks to the buyer’s actual felt needs and pain points. Bad advertising is about you, your products, and your company. Good advertising is about your customers and their life. 

Advantage-driven marketing is the epitome of show, don’t tell. Both feature-driven marketing and benefit-driven marketing can be advantage-driven marketing when written properly. 

It’s not WHAT you say. It’s HOW you say it. 

Both example above shift away from making the feature or benefit the star of the show, and make the customer the protagonist. 

When you’ve MET the actual felt needs of your customer and stop talking about your company, your products, and yourself, you become massively more interesting. 


When it comes to sales and advertising, features and benefits are two terms that we are familiar with. What we need to get comfortable with are advantages

When it comes to powerful advertising, it’s the advantages that resonate most with customers. While a feature can attract attention, benefits generate interest. But it’s the advantages that facilitate the decision to take action to buy your stuff. 

A deep understanding of your products features, benefits, and advantages allow your employees to demonstrate a deeper level of competence. And competence breeds confidence. And sales is a transfer of confidence. 

When it comes to marketing your product or service, you have two main approaches to choose from: show or tell. Telling isn’t selling, so show your prospects why your features and benefits are an advantage to them with interesting customer stories.

Feature-driven marketing is an effective approach when launching a new product or technology, as it helps consumers conceptualize what the product does and how it’s benefits can be an advantage to them.

Benefit-driven marketing, on the other hand, is useful in showing how a product feature can improve their life.

So which approach will work best for you? Both, depending on what your selling and what your goals are.  

If you’d like some help making these decisions, book a call with Wizard of Sales™  to get started.