Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fabulous FABs: Features, Advantages, Benefits

By John Blom and Margie Church

Every product or service has these three components. Sometimes we have trouble figuring out the differences among them. When you identify the FABs of your product or service, you'll know how to best position it in the market so it stands out, not blends in with the competition.

Occasionally, we see only the feature stated in an ad. Consumers are have to figure out the advantages and benefits themselves. Will they guess the answers you wanted them to? Want to bet those products sell poorly? Like leaving off a strong call to action, not stating the clear advantages or benefits of whatever you're selling is like giving someone a flashlight without batteries. It totally defeats the purpose of advertising. 

Show me how!

I'm a fan of the blank sheet of paper. Start with the product name and brainstorm the answers. Bring member services in for the activity. They have front-line information you can use. Your answers are likely to be different, from mine because of your individual situation. That's terrific. Don't censor yourself. You can erase later.

Product: Credit Union Credit Card
(Unique Value)
(How Product/Service Makes Life Better/Positive)
(Quantifiable Results)
9% APR
Cheaper than many bank and store credit cards.

Save money in interest payments and fees.

More financially responsible, smart.
Pay off debt faster.

Feel better when using the card.

Fixed rate

Cost of credit more predictable than variable rate.
Debt-free faster. Saves money.

Easier to manage budget. Payment is more predictable than variable-rate cards.
Less stress.

Easier to determine cost of credit if balance is carried.
Better budget management.

Not an introductory rate, no unhappy surprises
Save money, predictable payment, easier to budget, pay off debt faster.
No fee for purchases, cash, transfers
No financial penalties.
Save money.

Don't have to remember rates or carry multiple cards.
Convenience, less stress.

More financially responsible, smart.


Feel-good prizes and incentives given to use the card. Competitor's cards don't.
Enjoyment, fun.

Status/prestige elevated to carry this card compared to other cards.
Consumer loyalty acknowledged.
Automatic payments
One less check to write/payment to manage.

Protects credit rating when payment is never late.

Easy to manage account.
Local Credit Decision
Personal decision based on an individual, not a number or corporate sales goal.
A less-than-ideal credit score could still qualify for a great, money-saving card.

I see some buzz words on the chart – SAVE, CONVENIENCE, EASY, SMART. One or two of them could be used in an attention-grabbing headline. You might illustrate one or two of the strongest advantages in your copy – perhaps in a rate comparison or payment example. End with the most important benefits. You don't need to use all these FABs in your advertising. Doing so would be cumbersome and clutter your ad.

Hidden Benefits

Leverage your concept and content in as many ways possible to save money, reinforce  message, and increase frequency. I call this giving a concept "legs."  Hand a chart like this to tellers and member services as a cross-selling aid. When staff members understand exactly what to say, the process is easier and more comfortable.

Take the time to identify your FABs and you'll be seeing FABulous results soon, too.

Do you take the time to identify FABs? How do you use it to support member services?  What's worked? Share! We learn from each other.

Pinpoint Direct Marketing creates data-driven, electronic and print marketing campaigns for the financial industry. Its customized campaigns achieve excellent results without premium costs. Learn more about Pinpoint Direct Marketing at or call Kerry Blom, owner, 866-784-7555.

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