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The Art Of Selling

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves

There is the famous story about Steve Jobs when he invented the iPod and everyone in the news and the rest of the tech industry scratched their head a little. MP3 players had been around for quite a while, what was so different about the iPod?

Of course, people argued many things were different, but one of the key aspects was how Jobs marketed and presented it:



“1,000 songs in your pocket”

When everyone else was saying “1GB storage on your MP3 player”, telling people about the product, Apple went ahead and made you a better person, that has 1000 songs in your pocket.

User Onboarding wrote an incredible post and graphic, showcasing how this framework looks on a higher level:



In particular, the image itself proved to be popular. It’s a great way to describe clever marketing that focuses on benefits rather than features.

People talk about using benefits instead of features in marketing, but I’ve always struggled to understand the difference. For this post, I explored this in a bit more detail and dug up some examples of companies who do this well.

Features vs. benefits — how to grasp the difference

Here’s how  User Onboarding explained features vs. benefits:

People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves.

When you’re trying to win customers, are you listing the attributes of the flower or describing how awesome it is to throw fireballs?


Some great examples of companies making you a better version of yourself

To get a better idea of how this works in practice, I thought it would be useful to take a look at some well-known companies who use benefits in their marketing strategies. Here are a few that I found:


Remember Everything

Evernote can’t remember everything for you. In fact, it can’t remember anything — it’s software. What it does is offer features to let you save and organize things.




Remembering everything is what you can do with Evernote — the benefit!


Connect with your friends, get in-the-moment updates, watch events unfold, in real time, from every angle


Twitter has used a few different benefits in their tagline on the homepage but they’re still focused on benefits. Each of these three things is something youcan do with Twitter. Not a feature of the product.

Of course, for saving time on Twitter with scheduling your Tweets and seeing analytics, I hope you’ll still find Buffer useful.

Nest Thermostat

Programs itself. Then pays for itself.


I love this one, because it’s so clever. In just six words, the Nest Thermostat tagline tells you what the biggest benefit is (you’ll save energy and money), and something about what makes the product unique (it’s automated).


Be great at what you do.


LinkedIn has gone even further by referencing the customer in their tagline. Saying “Be great at what you do” makes it clear that the idea is you’ll be great at what you do if you use LinkedIn.

It’s very customer-focused, rather than pushing features of the product or company mottos front-and-center.


A better way to work together


Another super simple, but clear tagline. GitHub has a really obvious benefit to sell to customers, and features don’t even play a part in the tagline.

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