Four States Small Business Blog

People Don't Buy Products or Services—They Buy Promises

Posted by Chad Elliot on October 17, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Find me on:

benefits of a product or serviceInstead of just buying a product, most people actually buy what those products or services can do for them—what the product or services promise the customer. So, it’s important for businesses to always highlight the promises (or benefits) of their products.

Promises also help connect a brand to its products and services by establishing exactly what these products and services can do for customers. These promises detail the benefits of a product or service, instead of just their features. Promises fulfilled create emotional attachments. Emotional attachments lead to more sales.

In a recent global survey entitled, “Emotional Attachment and Profitable Customer Relationships,” Ipsos Loyalty validated the effectiveness of an emotional framework.

Writer Roger Sant noted, “We can quantify a level of emotional attachment…Emotional and functional work together—but emotional attachment can only be built from a functional base…The rewards for creating an emotional attachment are significant.”

These emotional attachments (and promises) will come to mind at decision and purchase time. For example, someone doesn’t just buy shampoo because they’re out of shampoo. They want to buy the product that will deliver a beautiful look and confidence. (Well, they might be out of shampoo—but you want them to pick your product instead of one offered by a competitor).

Also, a couple doesn’t just book a table in a fancy restaurant because they’re hungry. They’re both excited about a romantic, candlelight dinner date. (Again, they might be hungry, but you want to seduce them into visiting your restaurant for that special evening, fulfilling your promise for a great and memorable time and then having them begin to book weekly… and bring back their friends… and post photos on social media…etc.)

So what are some ways that a business can highlight its promises and benefits instead of its features? Be your own cheerleader for a moment and shout this out:

Hit the highlights!

Promote your promises!

Boast about the benefits!                      

Okay, that was fun. BUT, seriously, “How do I get started (you may be wondering)?”

Well, you’re off to a great start already because you’re researching right here. And… to pay back your loyalty, we’ve gathered a few tips.

Remember, the focus is not about products or services—it’s about promises.

  • Make a list for yourself of your product’s features. Remember, this is only for you to use for brainstorming. Now, describe the IMPORTANCE of each feature. In other words, (and in YOUR unique WORDS), explain why someone would care about that feature and what it does for them in their life—that’s a benefit. What does it PROMISE? For example, people don’t “buy” a boat, they “invest” in family fun.
  • The next step is to connect the benefits to your target persona. What have some of your customers said they love about your product? Emotions create connections. If “this” customer loved it, then “that” customer will probably love it, too. Make sure to share those “loves” as part of your targeted marketing campaign.
  • Finally, use a “so what?” approach. Constantly ask yourself “so what?” when you are advertising your product. Put yourself inside a customer’s mind. If someone is going to buy your product, they are buying for their life and needs. Make sure you are asking yourself why they would care. It’s all about them. How can you fulfill a need? What are their hopes, desires, and dreams? How can you promise to make them come true?

By making sure to focus your advertising on benefits instead of features, you’ll sell customers on what the product will do for them, instead of the actual product itself.


Topics: Marketing Strategy, Advertising Creative