The two most popular strategies in 2020 are feature marketing and brand marketing. And while you can infer a lot about these from the names alone, you’ll want to get down in the weeds before you invest time or money into either strategy.
Because let’s be honest: When it’s time to choose between feature marketing and brand marketing, you don’t just need to know the pros and cons. You’ll want to know what they do, and see statistics about why they work.
Feature Marketing 101
When people come to a purchasing decision, features are often the leading decision-maker. People want a product that they can get the most value from. And in a competitive market, features are often the small things that will set one option apart from the rest of the field.
That’s feature marketing in a nutshell, really.
Here’s another way to think about it: 56% of customers want to buy from companies that consistently innovate their products and features…and 63% also say that they are expecting new features more often than before.
Customers are spoilt for choice, and that means you need a competitive advantage. If your audience wants to learn about how your products are better than competitors, what they really want to know is which features matter most and why those features matter to the end-user. In fact, 60% of people look for a product after reading about what makes it different.
This has some obvious benefits for your business. I mean, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to innovate an existing product or service than to create something new. Feature marketing is just the step of finding out what your customers want, incorporating that into your current offerings, and presenting that information in a way to generate interest.
Feature marketing only works if you know your target audience. Researching customer personas — or, better yet, gathering feedback from actual customers — can give you a huge advantage.
Knowing your audience means you’ll understand how people engage with your products, what things they wish you offered, and maybe even an idea of what your competitors do better or worse than you. 77% of customers have a positive reaction to brands that collect and incorporate their feedback, which makes them even more likely to become recurring customers over time.
That really puts a lot of pressure on, however. Feature marketing only works if you collect the right data and make the right moves. And without creating new products, you aren’t exactly pushing yourself into new markets or industry niches.
But you are creating products that are better suited to your target market. It’s hard not to see the benefits of that, even if it does mean investing more into existing things rather than building new ones.
And now that you’ve taken a good, hard look at feature marketing, it’s time to flip this coin over and see the other side. What happens if your business focuses less on what differentiates your project from the competition?
What if, instead of that, you really leaned into what makes your company unique?
Brand Marketing In A Nutshell
You can think of brand marketing as the new kid on the block, at least in terms of high-level marketing strategies. But it can also be “old reliable” because it has stayed mostly the same while feature/product marketing continues to evolve in big ways.
Brand marketing is the art of turning customer loyalty into sales. We can all think of companies that push their products and features, but we tend to prefer (and usually love or hate) the companies that are more focused on their brand. And there’s one leading example of this.
It all comes back to Apple, really.
Even in the early days, Apple didn’t just try to develop cutting-edge products or sublime user interfaces. The company wanted to create experiences, and that’s still a core part of Apple’s DNA. Just tune into a press conference, visit a store, or watch a few ads and you’ll remember just how cool Apple products are and why customers love being part of that ecosystem.
Sure, Apple’s enormous budget helps. But that money is the result of success, a direct byproduct of the company developing relationships and trust with customers.
Apple doesn’t load up your inbox with email promotions; their ads focus on customers using products. Their social media and web content show how Apple products make our lives better. 52% of people expect brands to know when to communicate and when to stay silent, and Apple’s focus on brand marketing means they never overstep those boundaries.
Apple’s confidence in their products is infectious. And when customers are happy and confident in a product, that turns into engagement. Just look at Apple’s profit numbers, and you’ll see how valuable that is for them.
But that’s just an example, and your company won’t have quite the brand power as Apple. So let’s take a step back and look at a few broad statistics about how focusing on your brand can become a valuable marketing strategy.
Creating a unified brand marketing strategy creates cohesion across all channels. That sort of consistency leads to a clear boost in revenue — a 23% boost, in fact. And since 59% of customers prefer to try new products or services from companies they trust, developing your brand (and your relationship with customers) can increase your customer base as well as your profit margins.
Choosing The Right Strategy
The truth is you can find hundreds of statistics and case studies on different marketing strategies. Finding the right match is something that is worth spending some time on.
A new approach won’t solve marketing problems overnight, after all — choosing a new strategy is like committing to a contract. You’ve got to do your research (both on your competitors and your customer personas) and be prepared for some trial and error.
But the good news is that both feature marketing and brand marketing can become valid paths to success for just about any type of business. It all comes down to what your audience responds well to, and what sort of approach you are comfortable with.
In other words, the power is in your hands. And now you have the knowledge to use it.
This article is a guest contribution by Drew Gula. He is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that produces resources, like storyboard templates, to help businesses improve their YouTube monetization.