Friday, May 4, 2012

Marketing has its benefits

30 years ago when I started in advertising at D'Arcy MacManus & Masius, one of the first notes I ever took in a meeting was this:

"Translate features into benefits"

I didn't know it at the time, but this is the foundation to all good marketing communications.

Don't just tell me what the product has or how it works. Tell me what it will do for me.

Those benefits can be functional – Faster WiFi connection will make me more productive.

Those benefits can be emotional – Serving whole grain cereal to my kids makes me feel like a better parent.

Those benefits can be social – Using a Mac signals to people that I'm "creative".

Functional benefits are the easiest to copy. Social benefits are the hardest to own. But brands like Nike, Apple, BMW and Harvard are much more valuable than their competitors because of what they say about the people who use them than what they actually do for the people who use them.


  1. Brands whose functional benefits align with the social and emotional are strongest. Apple saves me time and frustration while making me cool and ultra productive in life - unbeatable.

    1. You're absolutely right Kay. I should have used a single example that ladders the benefits.