Forgotten Marketing Strategy From a Business Giant in 1941

Want to know a powerful marketing strategy from over 75 years ago?

Don’t sell your features. Instead, sell your benefits.

Since when is focusing on benefits rather than features a forgotten marketing strategy, you ask?

Since you see businesses forgetting this marketing wisdom left, right and center every day.

Ever see a vacuum cleaner in a department store with ’16-foot cord’ or ‘automatic cord-rewind’ plastered on the side of the box? Well, that’s a feature…not a benefit.

Or a car commercial where ‘all-wheel drive’ is mentioned? Feature…not benefit.

Or even ‘100% recyclable’. Feature…not benefit.

So, since this marketing strategy is clearly forgotten on a regular basis, and since benefits are what clients and customers are ultimately looking for…

…how can we remember the difference between features and benefits?

Simple. Read on.

Little Poem…Big Marketing Strategy

In 1941, a marketing giant nailed the distinction between selling by features versus selling by benefits.

How did they do it? By using a little poem in one of their sales publications.

The giant? None other than Sears.

The poem? It’s called “Don’t Sell Me Things”…and here it is in all its wisdom.

Don’t Sell Me Things

Don’t sell me clothes.  Sell me a neat appearance, style, and attractiveness.

Don’t sell me shoes.  Sell me foot comfort and the pleasure of walking in the open air.

Don’t sell me candy.  Sell me happiness and pleasure of taste.

Don’t sell me furniture.  Sell me a home that has comfort, cleanliness and convenience.

Don’t sell me books.  Sell me pleasant hours and the profit of knowledge.

Don’t sell me toys.  Sell me playthings to make my children happy.

Don’t sell me tools.  Sell me the pleasure and profit of making fine things.

Don’t sell me refrigerators.  Sell me the health and better flavor of fresh foods.

Don’t sell me tires.  Sell me freedom from worry and low cost per mile.

Don’t sell me plows.  Sell me green fields of waving wheat.

Don’t sell me things.  Sell me ideas, feelings, self respect, home life, happiness.  Please, don’t sell me things.

Features Still Needed

Pretty simple, hey?

But remember this: while truly effective marketing focuses on benefits, you still need to mention your features.

It’s not that features are bad.

It’s just that you need to make it very clear to your audience what each feature will do for them.

In other words, you want to tell and show them the outcome that your thing will do for them.

And that means connecting your benefits to your features…which I wrote about here a while back…check it out.

Speaking of Benefits…

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