Tell them about the drill, not the hole

September 5, 2016

I recall being taught about features & benefits in the marketing part of my MBA. We were told nobody wants a drill – they want a hole. The drill is just a means to an end, so you have to talk about the benefits of the hole not the features of the drill.

However, often this does not work on websites. We have just tested a B2B site which has masses of content talking about the benefits of our client’s solutions but the testers (i.e. their customers) said this was not helpful. They wanted the details of the solutions (i.e. the features) not the benefits.

We have seen this before on various sites including the Home Office reporting crime statistics. Give a tester a table of murder statistics in their area that show murders are decreasing over time and they conclude the murder rate is declining; state that the murder rate is declining without the evidence and testers did not believe it – “Oh that’s just spin”

So we believe you need to provide evidence of the benefit and let the users draw their own conclusions. If you offer bespoke solutions illustrate these with case studies.  If you have a high quality process talk about the standards you comply with. If the product is cheap give the price. On websites, it may be better to talk about the drill than the hole!