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« Biopharma Commercialization: From Discovery To Delivery | Main | What Can Mobile Health Learn From Mobile Commerce? »

Why You Like Your Idea Is Not Why Customers Like Your Idea

You love the product features. Customers buy it for the benefits.

Doctors, scientists and engineers are generally in love with their solutions. They keep adding features upon features, one cool thing after another. Consider the household TV clicker. Do we really need all those buttons? After all,, most people had no idea how to program a VCR. I suspect the same holds true for TIVO and the rest.

Your goal as an inventor is not to provide features, but rather solve the customer's problem by providing them with a product or service that solves their problem i.e benefits.

Features are different than benefits. As we mentioned in our book, The Medical Practice's Ultimate Feasibilty and Pre-planning Guide ,

features are characteristics that physically describe your product or service and how it works. Benefits are what the feature means to the customer and describe how your product or service helps customers solve their problem.

A new surgical tool made of stainless steel that weighs 3 oz and is 5 inches long doesn't trip my trigger.

A new surgical tool that is easier to use, make surgical exposure better and reduces blood loss makes mine flow.

If you are developing a new idea, try this exercise. Divide a piece of paper into three columns. In the first column, list the features of your product or service. In the next column, list a potential benefit to the customer associated with each feature. Finally, for extra credit, write down how each benefit differs from competing products.

Features are cool. Features that don't add benefits are costs.

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