These 5 Words Will Change Your Marketing Forever

These 5 Words Will Change Your Marketing Forever

Spoiler alert:  they’re “What’s in it for me?”

And by “me,” I mean your leads and current customers.  I do not mean you, Scrooge McDuck.

At the very soul of every successful marketing campaign are these five darling words.  What’s in it for me? Maybe that’s an easier way to remove the ring in the bathtub or a faster trip to the dentist or even an adorable puppy with every purchase of a fluffy kitten.  But that’s the soul of the thing. That’s its beating heart. You don’t even need to read the rest of this blog if you understand that solitary concept.

Showcasing the Benefits of Your Product or Service

Customers are inherently selfish, especially when they’re still trying to decide what sort of item they’re going to buy or service they’re going to hire.  All they care about is how your product or service benefits them. They don’t care about much else. It makes it easier to make a short list, for sure, but it also forces you to put your best foot forward from the get-go.  This is where benefits-focused marketing comes in.

Showing the customer how well your thing helps them make homework time easier is something they can digest quickly — there’s no thinking involved or having to worry that they might draw the wrong conclusion.  Right in the moment, you tell that customer, “Hey, our rulers make it easy for kids to draw triangles because of the little hole in the middle.”

That’s a far easier way to sell a ruler than focusing on its “patent-pending triangu-circle technology.”  What the heck is that, even?


I just bounced from your site.  I’m not paying an extra buck for something I don’t even understand.

Despite how easy this seems, so many businesses get it wrong.  In fact, some people who claim to be copywriters get it wrong. It can be easy to get wrapped up in your features.  After all, you know what your products do, you know why that nifty device works so well because you’ve been down in its guts.  This is the same reason that you need to invoke the mindset of a customer when you’re trying to sell your stuff.

Turning Features into Benefits

You know you need to showcase benefits, we’ve talked about that and you clearly agree it’s an issue.  But it’s one thing to say you need to do it and yet another to actually do the thing. And it goes for everything from writing a resume to selling Girl Scout cookies.  Everything can be presented with a benefits focus, making the thing in question seem much more appealing than if you just listed off its features.

We don’t really do exercises here on the regular, but this one is tricky, so hold on to your hat.

Let’s say you’re a grocery store trying to get on the grocery delivery bandwagon.  You offer delivery through your app within two hours of the customer placing their order, or at the time they specify outside of that window.  The catch is that your products are marked up a bit to cover the extra cost of labor and stock management and so forth. So, a dollar item might be a buck and ten cents, that sort of thing.

How would you present this?  Would you run with “Get grocery delivery within two hours of placing your order!  It’s fast, it’s free, it’s awesome!” or would you instead choose “Grocery shopping with kids can be stressful.  Will your toddler have another meltdown in the cereal aisle? Leave the shopping to us! We’ll have your groceries to you before naptime is over.”

Choose your weapon.  Choosy moms choose option two.

“Wait,” you say.  “That assumes that only mothers of young children want grocery delivery.”  And that’s when I tell you to define your audiences and then write ads to solve their problems.

Defining and Understanding Your Audiences

For our grocery store, we might define many different audiences with different reasons for needing the service.  Mothers of young children, people who are homebound, older people, single people who don’t want to bother with shopping, busy small-business owners: any and all of these would be excellent audiences.  But you can’t just throw the same brick of feature-based information at each one and hope it sticks somewhere. You gotta tell them what they get — what this grocery delivery service, which can tack up to about $30 extra to their bill, means to them.

To the single guy, it’s free time to do anything else.  For older people, it’s a way to stretch their dollars by helping them avoid spontaneous purchases.  For small-business owners, it’s a chance to eat anything that’s not inside a giant bag of fun-size Twix.  Use your imagination and really get into their heads. What’s it like to be a single guy who’s putting in too many hours at work because he’s the only one on his team without a family (and therefore, he’s expected to have all the extra time)?

Invent a persona if you want.  Let’s call him Bob.

Heya, Bob!  How’s work, buddy?  

Bob: Oh, it’s killing me.  I’ve been working on these blogs for weeks, and they’re just not good enough.  I haven’t had the time to go to the store in a month! I’m living off scraps of dried food from the break room floor and days-old coffee.  When I do get home, I’m just bushed. And hungry. But not hungry enough to move.

Gosh, Bob, that sounds terrible.

Bob: It is, my friend, it is.  And it’s unfair because I’m the only single guy on the team.  They think I have all this extra time, which I don’t. Right now I basically get up, go to work, go home, pass out.  it’s no way to live. I’ve got to find time to buy real food soon or I’m afraid I may die.

Hey, Bob, would it help out if I went grocery shopping for you?  You can pick out the items you need from my app or website (or go between the two), and I’ll bring them to you when you know you’ll be home.  I’d love a little gas money, but otherwise, you know, I’m already going that way.

Bob: OMG, GroceryMan!  That would be swell.  I’m more than happy to give you an extra $20 to do that.  I’ll be home around 7 tonight.

Cool, Bob!  I’ll see you then!

[End Scene]

And that’s how you close a sale.  You don’t ram features down someone’s throat, you ask questions, figure out what it is that they really need and want and how you can give it to them.

Bob needs food or he will die soon.  GroceryMan can deliver.


It’s a match for the ages.  But they all are, so there’s that.