An essential element of a marketing communications campaign is the need to craft a message that can capture customers’ attention. This applies to all forms of communication, including messages contained in advertisements, what salespeople say when meeting with potential buyers, and even how public relations may post messages on social media. One method for crafting a message that has been used for many years is the Features-Advantages-Benefits approach (i.e., FAB). Features are the key components of a product. For example, for a razor blade manufacturer, it may include a special type of metal blades. Advantages represent what a specific feature does. For instance, staying with the razor blade example, the advantage may be that the metal blades cut hair very easily. Finally, the features are what the marketer believes the customer ultimately obtains when using the product.  In our razor blade example, the message may state that users of the product will look better when in the presence of others. Thus, combining all three components of the FAB, the razor blade manufacturer may say: “Our finely manufactured blades (feature) will give you a remarkably close shave (advantage) that will make you look great (benefit) when you meet that special someone.”

Marketing Trends for 2015As we did in the final days of 2014, we again take a look back over this year’s posts we tagged as Marketing Trends and suggest what topics may continue to be important in 2016. Here are a few of our favorite trends and some of the comments we made about these.

The FTC Takes on Native AdvertisingTwo years ago, we first discussed the idea of native advertising, a form of promotion that blends an advertiser’s message with a website’s content. At that time, we noted how U.S. regulators, specifically the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), were raising a cautionary flag regarding this evolving method of Internet advertising. Their concern rest with whether certain forms of so-called sponsored-content were easily identified as being messages provided by an advertiser as opposed to viewed as being part of material created by a website. For example, what appears to be an article on exercise appearing on a newspaper website may actually be written by an active sportswear company, though the layout of the articles may give it the appearance of being written by the newspaper.