Features, Advantages, Benefits
You may have heard of the sales strategy called FAB – features, advantages, benefits. It’s also used very successfully by advertisers to create sales promotions that include both the logical connections and the emotional triggers needed to influence buying decisons.
Here’s how it works in a simplified version for automobiles. Remember, the impact of a sales promotion on buying behavior is the key. The advertiser needs to have a positive impact on the buying behavior of the target audience. Depending on the prospective buyer and his or her needs, the perceived value of the varying features, advantages and benefits will be different.
The features of a car – things like four doors, storage space, or engine size – all initially deal with the logical or factual side of the decision curve. Whenever you see numbers you know the information is targeting the need to provide logical information.
The advantages of each of the outlined features further reinforces the logical side of the decision process and begins to move into the emotional side of the decision equation. For example, four doors makes it easy for a family of four to enter and exit the vehicle. The extra storage space is great for kids on long trips. The engine size is great on mileage yet provides enough power for safety reasons.
The benefits are where you actively deal with the emotional side. With four doors, or maybe a sliding door in a minivan, advertisers will show pictures of happy kids all piling into a vehicle with a smiling parent in the background. The emotional side is dealt with by having “happy" and “smiling" reactions in the sales promotion, which is designed to provoke the same feelings in the prospective buyer or targeted audience – adults with families. Happy and smiling behaviors in prospects are much more likely to turn into the same when making a buying decision.
Volvo has historically used “safety" as the cornerstone of its sales promotions. They’ll provide factual data about their vehicles from third party sources about their safety records. This information alone will attract many buyers who see that factual data as the determining factor. In addition to the factual information, they’ll use the emotional connection of “peace of mind," maybe with a picture of a child or two sleeping in their car seats while the parent glances at them in the rear-view mirror. This simple image is to help sway those buyers who also need an emotional connection to the product in addition to the factual one.
Prices for any products are designed to hit on the logical side. The higher the perceived price, the greater the emotional value that typically needs to be created in the purchaser’s eyes. This is where you see the value relationship created between emotional and logical buying. Logically, a high price for a product sometimes doesn’t make sense to a buyer. And for those buyers who are adamant about it logically, no amount of emotional reward can overcome the logics of high price. In their mind, there is no emotional return on investment.
For others on the fence, the emotional reward that the product gives them more than compensates for the high price. That’s the power of emotions. It can easily influence a buyer into making a purchase he otherwise might not. Advertisers know that emotions play a significant part of the decision process, and if their advertising is well designed, it can override any logical part of a decision.