The Advertising Campaign
Identifying Product Benefits
Identifying product benefits involves finding out what the customer really wants and needs, not just listing a variety of product features.
Demonstrate the application and use of product benefits in advertising campaigns
- Product features include such factors as form, color, size, weight, odor, material, and tactile qualities.
- A benefit answers the question, “So What? “.
- The Voice of the Customer is a market research technique that produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs, organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives.
- Voice of the customer: Voice of the customer (VOC) is a term used in business and Information Technology (through ITIL, for example) to describe the in-depth process of capturing a customer’s expectations, preferences, and aversions.
- sample: A subset of a population selected for measurement, observation, or questioning, to provide statistical information about the population.
It’s one o’clock in the afternoon and you’re starving. You pass by a deli and see various types of ready-made sandwiches in the window. What will make you buy one of them? The whole grain bread? The organic ingredients? While your hunger drives the initial buying behavior (the benefit), there are other, more subtle, components to selecting one sandwich from many (product features). This concept of user needs is layered and complex, and marketers must first identify consumer needs, and then ensure benefits will fulfill those needs and features will drive advantage.
Features and Benefits
You’ve just seen the difference between features and benefits. Features tell you what the product is — a chicken sandwich made with organic ingredients and whole grain bread. The benefit — I’m starving and I need something to satisfy my hunger — is what sells it.
Product features include such factors as form, color, size, weight, odor, material, and tactile qualities. A new car can offer thousands of alternatives when one considers the exterior and interior options. Features are important as they may help back up the benefit. But consumers will not buy the car unless it provides them with a benefit.
A benefit answers the question, “So What? ” While the development of ultra-high-speed photographic film was a research breakthrough, whether consumers perceive this as a benefit can only be answered by them. Profitable products must align the need of the consumer with the benefit of the product.
In a functional sense, the key question is: “Does the product do what the consumer wants it to do? ” Does it get clothes clean? Does it quench your thirst? Does it save you money? Some of these questions can be answered only through product research, but consumer research provides more answers.
Voice of the Customer
Voice of the customer (VOC) is a term used in business and Information Technology (through ITIL, for example) to describe the in-depth process of capturing a customer’s expectations, preferences, and aversions.This is the type of research that marketers need to perform to find out what their customers really perceive as benefits.
Specifically, the VOC is a market research technique that produces a detailed set of customer wants and needs, organized into a hierarchical structure, and then prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current alternatives.
VOC studies typically consist of both qualitative and quantitative research steps. They are generally conducted at the start of any new product, process, or service design initiative to better understand the customer’s wants and needs, and as the key input for new product definition, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), and the setting of detailed design specifications.
Much has been written about this process, and there are many possible ways to gather the information – focus groups, individual interviews, contextual inquiry, ethnographic techniques, and so on. But all involve a series of structured in-depth interviews, which focus on the customers’ experiences with current products or alternatives within the category under consideration. Needs statements are then extracted, organized into a more usable hierarchy, and then prioritized by the customers.
It is critical that the product development core team are highly involved in this process. They must be the ones who take the lead in defining the topic, designing the sample (i.e. the types of customers to include), generating the questions for the discussion guide, either conducting or observing and analyzing the interviews, and extracting and processing the needs statements.
Qualities of Desirable Voice of Customer Metrics
Talking to customers to determine what they see as benefits is just the first step. The next step is making sure that the data you obtain is useful. The metrics you can use to make this determination are:
- Credibility: How widely accepted is the measure? Does it have a good track record of results? Is it based on a scientifically and academically rigorous methodology? Will management trust it? Is there proof that it is tied to financial results?
- Reliability: Is it a consistent standard that can be applied across the customer lifecycle and multiple channels?
- Precision: Is it specific enough to provide insight? Does it use multiple related questions to deliver greater accuracy and insight?
- Accuracy: Is the measurement right? Is it representative of the entire customer base or just an outspoken minority? Do the questions capture self-reported importance or can they derive importance based on what customers say? Does it have an acceptable margin of error and realistic sample sizes?
- Actionability: Does it provide any insight into what can be done to encourage customers to be loyal and to purchase? Does it prioritize improvements according to biggest impacts?
- Ability to predict: Can it project the future behaviors of the customer based on their satisfaction?