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Where Do the Benefits Come From?


What is a "benefit"? Dictionaries say that it is profit, income, gain, as well as interest derived from something. How do you find out what is the benefit of the consumers who buy your product? What benefit will they receive? What interest can they get from this purchase?


Let's start with why they buy our product. To understand this, use the following hint:


Probably one of the most famous quotes in marketing comes from Harvard Business School Professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”


Indeed, when buying a product or service, people really want to not only own the product, but to use it and to accomplish some job. A drill is needed to get a hole, a light bulb can illuminate the room, a nice jewelry makes others envy. 


Let's go further along this chain of thought. When buying the opportunity to perform some job-to-be-done people really want not only to get the result of this job but also to use it and achieve some goal. They want a hole to hang a picture on the wall, while lighting the room they expect to have an interesting evening, and by envying the others people wish to improve their status. These goals motivate people to perform the jobs, and for this purpose people need the means: the goods they are buying.


What motivates people? Where does this motivation come from? It stems from human needs. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, created a theory of job motivation, in other words, a theory of human needs. He proposed a classification of needs which is the most popular so far:


  • physiological need;

  • security need;

  • need for involvement (in a team or society);

  • need for recognition; and

  • need for self-realization (self-expression).


Further research in this area showed that "if today the consumers are satisfied with satisfaction of their needs, then tomorrow they will want more, better, for less and with less headache." So, the consumers are looking for new products in order to better satisfy their needs, this is what they see as benefits.


Where do the benefits come from? There are two sources. Let's call them “direct” and “indirect” sources. The direct source of benefit is the better than ever performance of any job directly involved in satisfaction of the need. For example, if you find where you can inexpensively buy jewelry that could make others envy, then it would be easier and less expensive to gain the higher status in society.


An indirect source of benefit is the better than ever satisfaction of another need. For example, if a husband can fulfill his wife’s wish to decorate the apartment with a new painting faster and with less effort, then it will be easier to him to gain her admiration (and maybe not only admiration!).


But what facilitates doing better than usual? To do the job better (easier, faster, cheaper, with better results, etc.), one needs some new “trick”, some new capability. In order to illuminate the room better and, at the same time, with smaller electricity bill, one must be able to get more light from electric power consumed by bulb. Such capability is provided by unique features of the product that distinguish it from others. By purchasing a "LED" bulb, the buyer gains the capability to brightly illuminate the room with minimal energy consumption, i.e. do the job better.


This logic connects the product and its features with the benefits that the buyer will gain from ownership of product:


Product -> its features -> new consumer capabilities -> better job performance ("advantage") -> better satisfaction of need (gaining  the"direct" benefits) -> better satisfaction of other needs (gaining  the"indirect" benefits)


So the buyer’s benefit stem from the features of our product, as we “subconsciously” guessed. Now, we managed to discover the logic linking the product features with the buyer's benefits. Following this logic, one could easier (and without "creativity") "calculate" the benefits of the buyer who agrees to buy our product. How to do it, read on.


What Do We Sell and What Do They Buy? | Marketing Message | The Main Marketing Formula

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