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Feeding my cat is – believe me – part of a complex purchase decision making the process. I’m not just making sure he is fed, I am purchasing wellbeing and happiness for him and myself because he is an important member of the family. When I purchase cat food it comes in a box of 12 “mixed selection” gold sachets, and each neat sachet has an 85g meal in it.

How To Market Your Product

I tear off the tab and squeeze the delicious-looking “steamed and tender” bite-size chunks of meat in “tempting gravy” quickly and easily into the cat’s bowl. These are ‘features’, and they are considered to be tangible.

Although I like these features, each one needs to connect with me at a more individual level so that I can make comparisons with other cat foods and decide which to buy. If you only tell your customers about key features, you risk not making that connection. It is a mistake to assume your customers will get there on their own, so make the connection for them by providing additional ‘benefits’.

The ‘benefits’ are the gains I get as a customer from this brand of cat food. These tend to be intangible; they answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ How your customer perceives the benefits is what makes them decide whether to buy or not.

So here are the benefits that I perceive with this brand of cat food:

The box of 12 sachets is easy to carry.

There’s a choice of 4 flavours, so my cat will not get bored with the same meal day after day like I would if it was me.

The sachet is convenient to open, the food slides out and I don’t have to get cat food on my hands.

Cat BrandingAs my cat is on the tubby side, I like the smaller amount of food in this sachet – and I don’t need to put the smelly remains in the fridge!

The gold sachet and the food falling out of it looks expensive, so I believe it is better quality.

Being delicious-looking is important to me. I think it looks like a good steak and kidney pie, and therefore very edible.

More importantly, I have decided it is healthy for him as it says it has been steamed. I also assume the brand must really care about my cat as I do.

Having bite-sized chunks are good because then he won’t choke – and of course, he will love the gravy, because I like gravy on my roast chicken.

I could have kept drilling down into the benefits, but I’m sure you get the gist.

The brand message reflects my cat’s status and the values I connect with in relation to him - a ‘rather distinguished brand for only those who have a strong inner connection with their cats’. This is what pulls me into the purchase and makes me choose this brand over the competition.

The intangible and emotive nature of benefits makes this a very useful tool for competitive advantage because they are difficult to copy and you can, of course, change your bundle of benefits about at will to match the needs of your customers. Before you start scribbling down a list of your product’s own features and benefits, you need to ask yourself how well you know your customers.

Here’s the thing: If you write your own features and benefits they will be yours, and not your customers’. You will in effect be making assumptions, so talk to your customers first and find out what they really want. Knowing your features and benefits will make your brand stronger and your marketing more effective, so that you – like my cat – will be happy and healthy.


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