This is marketing 101: people don't buy products, they buy expected benefits. You see, no matter what you are selling, it will have features: things that set it apart from the completion. I mean, even undershirts try to have distinctive features (softer, sexier, etc.) and sometimes we think that what we are marketing are those features. We’re not, we’re not even marketing the product we’re trying to sell. that’s how they did marking in the 1950’s.
It worked back then… That is until some marketers figured out that there was an easier way, a better way. You see, selling people products by sharing features with them is like trying to get an 8 year old boy to eat spinach because it has a low calorie count and a huge amount of nutrients. Sure, if they take the time to really think about it they might find that doing that would be a good idea. However, that would take a good bit of thinking and work, and they still might not see it as worth the cost.
The truth is that nobody really cares what the features of a product are, we don’t even care what the product itself is! What we care about is what benefit the product will give us. That’s why you tell the boy , “Spanish will make you big and strong like dad (or Popeye)”. Some companies really get this:
Legos has some really cool airplanes and battleships, but it’s not about that. It’s about imagination, creativity, and discovery. It makes me want to get some Legos for my nephew and I think that was the aim.
The perfume and cologne industry really get this. I’ve never seen an ad telling me I could smell like flowers, but I’ve seen a ton that tell me how desirable I’ll become once I put their product on. Axe body spray takes this to the extreme in a parody of the industry and that works too.
Customer Avatars help you identify this essential information. Once you know who your customers are, you can start answering the question of what they actually want from you. Not what features they’re interested in or products they might by, but what benefit will they get that they aren’t getting now. What felt need do you actually fill. That’s your message and your key to making meaningful connections with your customers.