Features versus Benefits Worksheet

Part 1 – List five main features of your product/service in the space provided, list the co-ordinating advantages that relate to the feature, and then convert those features and advantages into the benefits that customers/clients realize from using the product. Have a number of people in your business or people who know your product if you are a small business fill out the Features versus Benefits Worksheet.

People buy benefits, nothing else!


Name of Product: ___________________________ [Make a sheet for each product/service]

Part 1


Feature Advantage Benefit
“The components of a company, item or servicethat yield an advantage &a benefit.” “The way a company, itemor service can assist in thesolving of problems orfulfilling of needs.” “The results/return acustomer can expect orreceive in: dollars, time,etc.”  What’s in it for me!


Part 2 – Summarize Major Items from Part 1


Feature 1:  



Feature 2:
Feature 3:
Feature 4:
Feature 5:



Rolling Ten Letter

Rolling Ten Letter

“Breakthroughs come from an instinctive judgment of what customers might want if they knew to think about it.” –Andrew Grove, Intel

Many people consider marketing to be promotion, advertising and all the selling techniques used to get someone to buy a product. However marketing is much more. The Rolling Ten Letter is a systematic way of marketing to specific marketing targets.

It’s important to understand that marketing is not the same thing as advertising, selling or promoting. Those are separate tasks. Advertising, selling and promoting are essentially the implementation of your marketing plan. That is, once you have identified your customer prospects and determined how best to reach and serve them, you then have to go out and make it happen.

A marketing approach to business begins with the customer’s needs and involves designing the entire business around fulfilling those needs through benefits.

One great need of small business managers is to understand and develop marketing programs for their products and services. Long term small business success depends on the ability to maintain a strong body of satisfied customers while continually increasing this body with new customers. Modern marketing programs build around the marketing concept, which directs managers to focus their efforts on identifying, satisfying, and following up the customer’s needs – all at a profit.

The Rolling 10 as a Marketing PROGRAM

What is the Rolling 10?

It is a systematic approach to contacting a specific number of prospects, during predetermined timeframes and to follow-up effectively.

The Rolling 10 is based on the fact that every prospect needs to be contacted at least 4-8 times to establish your name recognition and to possibly make a sale.

There are two ways to construct a rolling 10 program.

Option 1 –Letters/Marketing Pieces with Phone Follow-up

Step 1 – Identify best prospects for your product or service.

Step 2 – Compile or buy a list that includes complete company data including the decision makers name.

Step 3 – Write 3-4 letters or marketing pieces that stress the key BENEFITS that a prospect can expect to receive from doing business with you.

Step 4 – Determine time frames:

That you can comfortably support for sending out 10 letters to prospects.  A week is a timeframe that is most used.

That you can comfortably make phone follow-up.  A week between letters and follow-up is a time frame that is most used.

That you will use to send each consecutive letter.  4-6 weeks is a time frame commonly used.

Step 5 – Begin sending letters at the rate of 10 per week.

Step 6 – One week after sending first letters begin making phone calls to follow-up on these letters.

The process then becomes automatic.  Send ten letters and follow-up by phone on the letters that were sent the prior week.  You will have ten NEW phone calls to make every week to NEW prospects and follow-up phone calls to prospects who might roll-over for some reason from week to another.

Step 7 – Send additional 2nd, 3rd, and 4th letters or marketing pieces and repeat the follow-up process.

If you have contacted a prospect 4-8 times (a combination of letters and phone) and they have not responded or become a customer drop them from you list.

What is it you’re selling?

What is it you’re selling?

One of the struggles that entrepreneurs and many others seem to have is the answer to the simple question, “What is it you’re selling?”

In a major marketing text, McGraw-Hill Publications starts a chapter out with these telling words:

I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now–what was it you wanted to sell me?

The reality is that you are selling yourself first, followed by your service or product, followed by your company or organization.

As far as selling yourself, the cornerstone is that people must like you to purchase from you. It is very unlikely that, given the choice between buying from someone they like and someone they don’t, a buyer will select the person they don’t like. The key
is to get the buyer to like you, and that is done by finding out about them, as quickly as you can. Your buyers are just like you–complex, interesting, hardworking, personable and friendly. They are worth getting to know!

Harvey MacKay’s book “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” provides some great examples of how an individual can overcome many perceived obstacles and learn a great deal about a potential or current customer. This book is an excellent
investment that you should make at any stage of your life.

The second area to tackle is to define the product that you are selling. It might be you, as a job seeker, a person wanting a promotion within an organization, a consultant selling services, or someone marketing a service or a product. Ask yourself this
question when defining your offering: What problem do I solve by providing this good or service? You may have to fine-tune your offering as you discover the various kinds of problems buyers are seeking to solve.

Focus on benefits when you sell. What benefit will you bring to the buyer when he or she has purchased your service, hired you, promoted you, or is using your product? In the competitive marketplace that we all operate in, you can no longer afford to
say, “Here I am, here is my offering, take it or leave it.”

A third method in this process of defining your offering is to take a somewhat more radical approach. Tony Robbins, the great motivator, understands that “we will do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.” Give some thought to how your
offering will help the decision-maker to avoid pain. Do some simple research to determine what kind of pain your potential buyers have, and then work to clarify what you offer to remove the pain both now and in the future.

A third area to focus is on your personal reputation. This comes from having good work habits, dressing the part, returning telephone calls, being on time (if not early) and prepared for all meetings, being professional with all that you encounter, and by
going the extra mile for your customers, internal or external.

Each of us recognizes the reputation that large, well-known firms have. Take an organization that you respect and write down the specific things that you enjoy about that reputation. Ask yourself if there isn’t something that you can do to make your own firm a little more like the firm you admire. Is there a policy that they have that might be adopted by your company? Is the quality they have superior, and if so, what can you do to upgrade or change the quality that your organization provides?

It has been argued that one individual cannot change the reputation of a company. That argument is countered by the fact that when you are communicating with a customer, you are the company, and by acting as if that customer could solely decide your professional fate, you can change or maintain a reputation that an organization has based on how you deal with that customer.

Increasing sales has been determined in a national poll to be the number one concern of business managers and business owners all across America. Knocking on doors or making telephone calls may get you an appointment, but as you can see, there is a lot
more to answering “What is it you’re selling?” How ready are you to answer the eight statements made at the beginning of this article?

What you can do for Market Research

What you can do for Market Research?

Marketing research is limited only by your imagination. Much of it you can do with very little cost except your time and mental effort. Don’t forget that many governments – local, state, and federal – have on line data bases like the census that can be targeted for your specific industry and location. Here are a few examples of techniques small business owner-managers have used to gather information about their customers. What you can do for Market Research – with the interenet and help from local Colleges just about anything you want/need when it comes to marketing research.


License plate analysis

In many states license plates give you information about where a car’s owner lives. You can generally get information from state agencies on how to extract this information from license numbers. By taking down the numbers of cars parked in your location you can estimate your trading area. Knowing where your customers live can help you aim your advertising for good effect. Or, how about tracing your competitors’ customers using the same approach to win them for your business.


Telephone number analysis

Like license numbers, telephone numbers can tell you the areas in which people live. You can get customers’ telephone numbers on sales slips, from checks and credit slips, and the like. As noted before, knowing where your customers live can give you an excellent idea of the way they live and what they are like.


Coded coupons and “tell them Joe sent you” broadcast ads

You can check the relative effectiveness of your advertising media by coding coupons and by including phrases customers must use to get a discount on some sale item in your broadcast ads. This technique may also reveal what areas your customers are drawn from. Where they read or heard about the discount offered in your ads will also give you information about their tastes.


People watching

You can learn a great deal about your customers just by looking at them. How they dressed? How old do they appear to be? Are they married? Do they have children with them? This technique is obvious and most owner-managers get their feel for their clientele just this way. But how about running a tally sheet for a week keeping track of what you’re able to tell about your customers from simple outward clues? It might just confirm what you’ve thought obvious all the time, but it might also be instructive.


Customer Survey

If you are a business owner, these questions are for you. Have you conducted your own private interview of customers? Have you personally talked to at least 50 to 60 customers to find out what they like or dislike about your business, products and service?


A personalized business survey is a simple thing to prepare and implement. If you do it regularly, you can find when and where things are breaking down in your service.


Use a piece of 8.5 x 11 inch paper with the following types of yes and no questions:


1. Is the service we provide meeting your highest expectations? If not, what areas can we  improve?                               

yes _____  no _____


1. ________________________

2. ________________________

3. ________________________


2. Are we providing the brands and lines you want and expect? If not, please list what is needed.        


yes _____  no _____


1. ________________________

2. ________________________

3. ________________________


3. Is our business clean and pleasant to be in at all times? How can we improve it?


yes _____  no _____


1. ________________________

2. ________________________

3. ________________________


4. Do you feel the business is truly a part of the community? yes _____  no _____


5. Is it a friendly place? yes _____  no _____


6. Are the prices competitive? yes _____  no _____


7. Do you feel you are getting good values? yes _____  no _____


You may want to include more specific questions, but the key is to keep the survey short and to the point. Keep it personal by preparing and signing it yourself. Leave room for written comments.


Questionnaires should not be stacked at the cash register for casual distribution. Personally present them to customers along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.


What can you learn from this? Plenty. What can customers learn? Well, it shows you care and that is always a sales plus.


Do, Don’t Overdo

The key to effective marketing research is neither technique nor data – it’s useful information. That information must be timely; your customers’ likes and dislikes are shifting constantly. You’ll never know everything about a particular problem anyway. It’s much better to get there on time with a little, than too late with a lot. If you spend too much time gathering too much data going for a sure thing, you may find your marketing research is nothing but garbage.


How To Do Market Research?

How To Do Market Research?

You probably do some market research every day in the course of your routine management activities without being aware of it. You check returned items to see if there’s some pattern. You ask one of your old customers, who has stopped coming to your shop, why he hasn’t been in lately when you run into him on the street. You look at a competitor’s ad to see what that store is charging for the same products you’re selling. The internet brings a significant amount of secondary research as well as allowing primary research on your website. How to do market research starts with knowing your benefits to customers and then using the internet and marketing techniques to understand how the customer sees your benefits in regard to the competition.

 Marketing research simply makes this process more orderly. It provides a framework that lets you objectively judge the meaning of the information you gather about your market. The following flow chart shows the steps in the marketing research process:

  Define problem (limit and state clearly)

 Assess available information

 Assess additional information, if required:

 1.review internal records and files

 2.Interview employees

 3.Consult secondary sources of information (Internet and the library)

 4.Interview customers and suppliers

 5.Collect (or have collected) primary data


  • Organize and interpret data
  • Make decision
  • Watch the results of the decision


Defining the Problem

This, the first step of the research process, is so obvious that it is often overlooked. Yet, it is the most important step of the process.

 You must be able to see beyond the symptoms of a problem to get at the cause. Seeing the problem as a “sales decline” is not defining a cause; it’s listing a symptom.

 In defining your problem list every possible influence that may have caused it. Has there been a change in the areas your customers have traditionally come from? Have their tastes changed? Put all the possible caused down. Then set aside any that you don’t think can be measured, since you won’t be able to take any action on them.

 You must establish an idea of the problem with causes that can be objectively measured and tested. Put your idea of the causes in writing. Look at it frequently while you’re gathering your facts to keep on track, but don’t let it get in the way of facts, either. (Incidentally, while this Guide speaks of “problems,” the same techniques can be used to investigate potential opportunities too.)

 Assessing Available Information

Once you’ve formally defined your problem, you should assess your ability to solve it immediately. You may already have all the information you need to determine if your hypothesis is correct, and solutions to the problem may have become obvious in the process of defining it. Stop there. You’ll only be wasting your time and money if you do further marketing research.

 What if you aren’t sure whether or not you need additional information at this point? What if you’d feel more comfortable with additional data? Here, you’ve got to make a subjective judgment to weigh the cost of more information against its usefulness.

 You’re up against a dilemma similar to guessing in advance your return on your advertising dollar. You don’t know what return you’ll get, or even if you’ll get a return. The best you can do is ask yourself how much making a wrong decision will cost and to balance that against the cost of gathering more data to make a better informed decision.

 Gathering Additional Information

Think cheap and stay as close to home as possible. Before considering anything fancy like surveys or field experiments, look at your own records, files, and search the internet. Look at sales records, complaints, receipts, or any other records that can show you where your customers live or work or how and what they buy.

 One business owner found that addresses on cash receipts allowed the pinpointing of customers in his market area. with this kind of information he could cross reference his customers’ address and the products they purchased. From this information he was able to check the effectiveness of his advertising placement.

 Your customer’s addresses alone can tell you a lot about them. Obviously you can pretty closely guess your customers’ life-styles by knowing what the neighborhoods they live in are like. Knowing how they live can give you solid hints on what they can be expected to buy.

 Credit records are an excellent source of information about your markets, too. In addition to the always-valuable addresses of real live customers, they give you information about customers’ jobs, income levels, marital status. Granting credit, so it can be seen, is a multi-faceted marketing tool – though one with well-known costs and risks.

 When you’ve finished checking through your records, go to that other valuable internal source of customer information – your employees. Employees may be the best source of information about customer likes and dislikes. They hear customers’ minor gripes about your store or service – the ones the customers don’t think important enough to take to you owner-manager. They are also aware of the items customers request that you may not stock. Employees can probably also give you pretty good seat-of-pants customers profile from their day-to-day contacts.

 Going Outside for Marketing Research Data

Once you’ve exhausted the best sources for information about your market, your internal data, where do you go? Well, the next steps in the process are to do primary and secondary research on the outside.


Secondary research first.

Naturally, since it’s called secondary research, you do it before you undertake any primary research. Secondary research simply involves going to already published surveys, books, magazines and the like and applying or rearranging the information in them to bear on your particular problem or potential opportunity. Treat all internet data except that you collect from your website as secondary data.

 For example, say you sell tires. You might reasonably guess that sales of new cars three years ago would have a strong effect on present retail sales of tires. To test this idea you might compare new car sales of six years ago with the replacement tires sales from three years ago.

 Suppose you found that new tire sales three years ago were 10 percent of the new car sales three years previous to that. Repeating this exercise with car sales five years ago and so on, you might find that in each case tire sales were about 10 percent of the new car sales made three years before. You could logically conclude that the total market for replacement tire sales in your area this year ought to be about 10 percent of the new car sales in your locality three years ago.

 Naturally, the more localized the figures you can find the better. While, for instance, there may be a decline nationally in new housing starts, if you sell new appliances in an area where new housing is booming, you obviously would want to base your estimate of market potential on local condition. Newspapers and local radio and TV stations may be able to help you find this information.

 There are many sources of such secondary research material (while the internet is great, so information is NOT on the internet, so check other souces). You can find it in libraries, universities and colleges, trade and general business publications, and newspapers. Trade associations and government agencies are rich sources of information.


Primary research, the last step.

Primary research on the outside can be as simple as your asking customers or suppliers how they feel about your store or service firm or as complex as the surveys done by the sophisticated professional marketing research giants. It includes among its tools direct mail questionnaires, telephone or “on the street” surveys, experiments, panel studies, test marketing, behavior observation, and the like.

 Primary research is often divided into “reactive” and “nonreactive” research. The “peanut shell study” at the beginning of this Guide is an example of nonreactive primary research: it was a way of seeing how real people behaved in a real “market situation” (in this case how they moved through the store and which displays attracted their attention) without influencing that behavior even accidentally.

 Reactive research (surveys, interviews, questionnaires) is probably what most people think of when they hear the word “marketing research.” It’s the kind best left to the experts, since you may not know the right questions to ask. There’s also the danger that either people won’t want to hurt your feelings when you ask them their opinions about your business or they’ll answer questions the way they think they are “expected” to answer, rather than the way they really feel. If you feel you can’t afford high-priced marketing research services, ask nearby college or university business schools for help.


What is Marketing Research?

What is Marketing Research?

Basically, marketing research is understanding your potential and actual customers. Find out what catches customers’ attention by observing their actions and drawing conclusions from what you see. To put it more formally, in the words of the American Marketing Association, marketing research is “the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.”


Marketing research is an organized way of finding objective answers to questions every business must answer to succeed. Every business owner-manager must ask:


  • Who are my customers and potential customers?
  •  What kind of people are they?
  •  Can and will they buy?
  •   Am I offering the kinds of goods or services they want – at the best place, at the best time, and in the right amounts?
  •  Are my prices consistent with what buyers view as the products’ values?
  •   Are my promotional programs working?
  •  What do customers think of my business?
  •  How does my business compare with my competitors?


Marketing research is not a perfect science; it deals with people and their constantly changing likes and dislikes which can be affected by hundreds of influences, many of which simply can’t be identified. Marketing research does, however, try to learn about markets scientifically. That simply, is to gather facts in an orderly, objective way; to find out how things are, not how you think they are or would like them to be; what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell them.


Why Do It?

It’s tough – impossible – to sell people what they don’t want. (Remember the Nehru jacket?) That’s pretty obvious. Just as obvious is the fact that nothing could be simpler than selling people what they do want. Big business has to do market research to find that out. The same reason holds for small business.


Business owners often have a “feel” for their customers – their markets – that comes from years of experience. Experience can be a two-edged sword, though, since it comprises a tremendous mass of facts acquired at random over a number of years. Information about markets gained from long experience may no longer be timely enough to base selling decisions on. In addition, some “facts” may be vague, misleading impressions or folk tales of the “everybody knows that…” variety.


Marketing research focuses and organized marketing information. It ensures that such information is timely. It provides what you need to:


  • Reduce business risks,
  •  Spot problems and potential problems in your current market,
  •   Identify and profit from sales opportunities,
  •  Get basic facts about your market to help you make better decisions and set up plans of action.

Advertising and Selling mix depends on Channels

Advertising and Selling mix depends on Channels

It is axiomatic that as channels lengthen, the need for advertising to the end user increases and personal selling effort declines. Thus, long channels and heavier advertising effort are  inseparable. Or, it may be said that since product sales effort (or quality of communication) decreases as the channel lengthens, the firm’s need for direct communication with the end user increases accordingly, for the personal sales effort is diluted by local and personal economic interests and distractions.


Decisions regarding channels, sales talents required, and advertising effort are dependent on the requirements and demands of the purchaser for technical information, display and merchandising aid, and the amount of money involved in the typical transaction. The results are these, simply stated: highly complex and big ticket items are sold (and serviced) directly by a sales engineer while standard low priced goods purchased in small quantities go through longer channels and are “sold” by a good-will builder, an order-taker. The selling is actually “preselling” which is done by advertising.


Planning the Persuasion System-The Sales Promotion Mix

The sales promotion mix should be based on the following considerations:


Be realistic in terms of purposes to be achieved.

Respect the effectiveness of advertising, selling, and display separately and in coordination.

Respect all parties of interest, including middlemen and salesmen.

Involve all marketing management personnel, permitting early participation.

Permit a general plan which can be tentatively approved before final details and cost are determined.

Permit individual and group judgment to be employed in conjunction with quantitative techniques.


The following steps are needed to create a sales promotional distribution effort. This pattern can be based as much on judgment as experience will permit and can utilize modern models and systems methods as desired.


1. Analyze and determine customer attitudes, company and product “image.” Consider company age, stage of product life cycle, channels of distribution.


2. Review customer buying motives, desires of middlemen, salesmen, all parties involved, as customer-users or participants.


3. Establish resulting objectives, purposes of “persuasion system,” and parties to be influenced, including middlemen.


4. Summarize attitudes to be developed or created by the program or system (with no indication at this point as to which promotional medium is expected to achieve each purpose).


5. Rate the product as to its technical complexity and amount of typical sale; determine approximate balance of advertising, selling, and display required.


6. Outline the purposes of advertising (and possibly display) in terms of objectives to be achieved by each medium for each participant or group.


7. Outline the purposes of personal selling in terms of objectives to be achieved by each salesman (or type of salesman).


8. Draw up general recommendations, including probable effectiveness of advertising, selling, display.


9. Develop reasonably reliable estimates of costs of advertising, by types, media, time period, purpose.


10. Same, personal selling. Define the salesman’s job.


11. Same, display.


12. Review marketing department organization, in terms of its appropriateness for general plan.


13. Review general program with participants and with parties influencing budget.


14. Draw up program in detail, present it for final general approval.


During the training period, it would be an excellent idea to see that all salesmen are grounded in the details and objectives of the marketing plan. Additionally, the role of the salesman in making the plan work should be emphasized.