Importance of understanding the features and benefits of a product

As a product manager, it is important to understand the features and benefits of a product in order to effectively communicate its value to both internal and external stakeholders. However, it is not uncommon for product managers to confuse features with benefits. This confusion can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately hurt the product’s success.

What are features and benefits?

A feature is a characteristic or quality of a product. It is something that the product can do or has. For example, a smartphone may have a feature such as a high-resolution camera or a long battery life.

On the other hand, a benefit is the value that a product provides to the user. It is the reason why someone would want to use the product. For example, the high-resolution camera on a smartphone may be a benefit because it allows the user to take clear, detailed photos.

Here is an example of a product with both features and benefits:

  • Product: coffee machine
  • Feature: Can brew coffee using both ground coffee beans and K-Cups
  • Benefit: Provides flexibility for the user to use their preferred type of coffee and saves time and effort by not having to grind beans manually.

Why is it important to understand the difference between features and benefits?

Customers are usually more interested in the benefits that a product provides rather than the features it has. This is because customers are looking for solutions to their problems and are less interested in the technicalities of how a product works.

For example, consider a product that has a feature of being able to steam milk for coffee. While this may be a useful feature for some users, the benefit of this feature would be the convenience it provides for making lattes and cappuccinos at home. This benefit would be more appealing to potential customers than simply listing the feature of being able to steam milk.

In addition, features alone may not solve problems or fulfill needs. It is important for product managers to understand the value that each feature provides to the customer in order to effectively communicate the benefits of the product.

How to avoid confusing features with benefits

To avoid confusing features with benefits, product managers can use the “So what?” test. This involves asking themselves what the value of each feature is to the customer and whether it solves a problem or fulfills a need. This will help product managers focus on the benefits of the product rather than just listing its features.

For example, a product manager may ask themselves, “So what? The product has a high-resolution camera. What does that do for the customer?” By answering this question, the product manager can identify the benefit of the high-resolution camera as allowing the user to take clear, detailed photos.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important for product managers to understand the difference between features and benefits. And to focus on the benefits of a product when communicating with customers and stakeholders. By doing this, they can better understand the needs of their target market and create products that effectively solve problems and fulfill needs.

I would recommend this article for further reading.

To explore the Product Management universe, please have a look at the Product Management- table of contents.

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