What is the difference between a Features Test and a Benefits Test?

Neya Abdi
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After popular demand, Heatseeker has launched two new tests: the Features Test and the Benefits Test.  

What’s the difference between these two live market tests?

A Features test tells you what to build next. A Benefits test tells you what outcome to promote about a specific feature.

Let’s dive into an example.  

How a Features Test can help you save money and build with confidence

Suppose you’re building a wealth management app. You’ve got some early funding, and you’re planning to target new graduates.  

There are several features that you could build, including:  

  • Financial planning function
  • Portfolio management function
  • Real-time market insights function
  • Investment recommendations function
  • Bite-sized investment videos learning section
  • Practice accounts for investment

Because you’re passionate about your product and investing earlier in life, you may think that building the portfolio management function is the most important. But this is an expensive and complicated undertaking that could eat into your time and resources. Plus, you’re targeting an audience that isn’t as familiar with investing and may find themselves unwilling to jump right in.  

In this case, you could run a Features test on platforms that your audience uses. You could run ads marketing the different features (e.g., financial planning tools, portfolio management tools, practice accounts for investment) and then see who engages with those ads. The ad with the highest engagement tells you what to build first based on where there’s real demand.

After running your market test, you may find that the feature that people are most interested in (aka the ad that people click on the most) is the practice account.  

How a Benefits Test can help you cut through the noise

A Benefits test, on the other hand, tells you how to talk about the outcomes your features deliver. The Benefit is the outcome your audience wants. When most of us buy things, we aren’t buying the Features – we’re buying the thing that we get. For example, when you buy a camera, you’re probably not buying shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. You’re buying:  

  • A record of your travels around the world
  • Memories of your children during key milestones
  • Crystal clear shots of beautiful landscapes

A perfume or cologne ad tells a story about romance, seduction, and mystery – not the chemical process of creating scents.  

Even the same product with the same features can tell you a different story about a brand. One car company will sell adventure and rebellion while another will sell safety and family travel.  

So how do you accomplish this for your company where the market may be less mature or consumer behavior less defined?  

Let’s return to that wealth management company. The founder may know everything about the importance of investing and financial freedom, but since they’re marketing to people who don’t yet know it’s important, that founder may not know how to talk about it.  

This is where a Benefits test can change the game.  

Take all of your assumptions about your business and throw in the wildest ideas that others have suggested and see what resonates with the most people.  

If you want to market practice accounts, you might put out ads that demonstrate different benefits such as:  

  • Quit your 9 to 5, 20 years earlier
  • Gain financial independence
  • Build wealth faster with personalized investing
  • Buy a home for your parents with smart investments
  • Travel around the world for 1 year with your investments

Some of these benefits may not resonate with you, but your Benefits tests will tell you whether they resonate with your market.  

What do I do next?

The world’s biggest companies grew through a culture of testing and learning. Netflix tests everything from what thumbnails to use on its home screens. (Fun fact: Putting a villain on the thumbnail gets more people to click than putting the bad guy.) Once you’ve identified your features and benefits, you can find out the best language to use based on what’s top of mind for your audience.  

Here are some examples from our wealth management app example:  

  • Create generational wealth by learning how to invest
  • The “I can take care of myself” fund
  • Swap paycheck for dividend cheques by learning how to investment

You’re already gonna spend on growth strategies and paid ads – make sure they’re worth the investment

The average startup spends a fortune on growth strategies and paid ads that target the wrong audiences with the wrong messaging. With Heatseeker, running market tests and getting the real-world proof you need from real customer behavior is as simple as creating an account on Heatseeker, entering some details about your business, and generating your first experiment.  

Create your Heatseeker account today
Book your 1:1 Heatseeking session
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Neya Abdi

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