For more on how product features impact marketing strategy, let’s consider how features and benefits affect buying decisions. The benefits a customer obtains from a product are contained within the actual and augmented product through product features. Features are the separate attributes of a product. For example, features of a high-definition (HD) television may include screen size, screen resolution, built-in Wi-Fi, remote control, and overall weight. The benefits a customer receives from the purchase and use of the product fall into two main categories:
These are benefits derived from features that are part of the consumable product. For instance, in our television example, features and benefits may include:
- screen size – offers greater detail and allows for more distant viewing
- screen resolution – provides clear, more realistic picture
- built-in Wi-Fi – allows access to online content including on-demand services
- remote control – allows for greater comfort while viewing
- lightweight – can be easily hung on a wall
The benefits offered by these features are called functional because these result in a benefit the user directly associates with the product. Functional benefits are often the result of materials, design, and production decisions. How the product is built can lead to benefits, such as increased speed, ease-of-use, durability, and cost savings.
These are benefits the customer perceives he/she receives when using the product. These benefits address psychological needs, such as status within a group, risk reduction, sense of independence, and happiness. Such benefits are developed through promotional efforts that are aimed at customers’ internal influences on purchase behavior (see Chapter 4).
In communicating with customers, marketers should always associate a benefit with a product feature. Benefits are what customers seek; the feature is simply how the benefit is delivered.