What's your "ultimate benefit"?

How to find the sizzle that sells the steak

Marketers often talk about “features vs.benefits”.

The general consensus is that a sales piece should focus on the benefit(s) the reader will receive for taking action, rather than the features of the product or service.

So, if an iPod has a 4GB memory, you don’t say “4GB memory” (feature), you say “can store up to 66 hours of music” (benefit).

Or, to use a popular marketing metaphor, you “sell the sizzle, not the steak”.

However, too many websites miss this point and either:

Ř      List features and hope that the reader can translate them into benefits 


Ř      Fail to identify and focus in on the key benefits that would make the reader want to buy.

I’m going to teach you a simple formula that can help you “find the sizzle” that will sell your product or service.

“ … and that means”

The formula looks like this:

Having P (product/service) means you’ll X (benefit). And that means, you’ll Y (deeper benefit). And, ultimately, that means Z (deepest benefit).

Now, what on earth does that mean?

I’ll give you an example based on one of the services I offer:

“Having a written, effective marketing plan means you’ll always know exactly what to do next in your marketing. And that means that, not only will your marketing get done, but you’ll be spending your time doing the most effective things. And, ultimately, that means, your profits will increase faster.”

You can see how I went from the product and, in a few logical steps explained to the reader how having a marketing plan from me will create the “ultimate benefit” of increased profits.

And the same formula can be used for just about anything:

“XYZ mortgage brokers are 100% independent and that means we search the whole market to find you the best rate for your mortgage, which means you’ll be saving money on your interest payments. And, that means you’ll have more money left over to spend on the things you really want.”

Go and look at your homepage. Do you sell the sizzle? Do you even say what the sizzle is?

Use the “and that means” formula and spell it out to your readers so they understand the benefit of doing business with you.

Steve Gibson

Marketing Consultant, Edinburgh