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The link between product and consumer needs involves connection between features (what product does) and outcomes for users. In case of shampoo example, let's say product's features include a new moisturizer that makes our hair more attractive. In turn, more attractive hair means we're more likely to enjoy a busier social life. So, marketer who emphasizes outcome or benefit (a more active social life) will sell more shampoo than a marketer who focuses on product or its features (new moisturizer).
In non-sales fields that idea of addressing needs of readers and listeners isn't nearly as well appreciated. Consider internal memos, composed and circulated by millions of well-meaning managers and supervisors. Many of them focus on needs of manager or organization, and not on reader, person who needs to be persuaded by writer of memo.
Would internal memos work more effectively if their writers focused on reader instead of themselves? Would people making in-house presentations get better responses by building their pitches on needs or aspirations of audience? I think so. The experience in sales has shown, overwhelmingly, that benefits outsell features (features being characteristics of product or service being sold).
When you next set out to send an important message, pause long enough to ask yourself whether persuasion is your goal -- either directly or indirectly. If you do want to persuade, then ask yourself if you've focused sufficiently on recipients. That's starting point for persuasive communication.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Each week subscribers receive, at no charge, a new communication tip that helps them lead or manage more effectively. Click here for more information: http://www.CommunicationNewsletter.com