When Steve Jobs launched the first Apple retail store, he made a statement that has inspired Apple's messaging ever since. Jobs said, "People don't just want to buy personal computers; they want to know what they can do with them."
Great communicators don't sell products. They sell benefits.
There were a lot of examples of selling benefits in Tuesday's launch of Apple's new iPhone 12 models. In the virtual product launch, customers heard terms like "5G ultra-wideband network," "low latency," and "6-core CPU." What followed the terms is a lesson in pitching products.
Executives, managers, and event external partners who deliver Apple presentations intended for the general public are trained to explain high-tech terms with clear, concise, and tangible benefits.
For example, the new iPhones are made to connect to 5G networks. But what does 5G really mean for individuals?
According to Apple partner Hans Vestburg, the CEO of Verizon, 5G will eliminate "bottlenecks in crowded places where thousands of people are using their phones at the same time...stadiums, airports, and train stations."
Vestburg then added a specific example.
"This enables amazing experiences like reinventing the in-stadium fan experience with the NFL. Fans can see and feel the action from seven camera angles including views from players' eyes."
Follow these simple steps to sell the benefit behind any new product.
First, use the name of the product or feature. Second, describe the technology behind it in a few sentences. Third, provide a real world example of how the product or feature will improve a customer's experience.
1. Use the product name.
In one segment of Tuesday's presentation, Apple's vice president of iPhone product marketing, Kaiann Drance, touted a sturdier display on the new iPhone 12.
"We call it Ceramic Shield," Drance said.
2. Describe the technology.
Here's where you can get a little wonky, but keep it concise.
Drance said, "It goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step which grows nano ceramic crystals within the glass matrix to dramatically improve toughness."
If you know what that means, you know a lot more about display manufacturing than I do. In the next step, Kaiann explains it for the rest of us.
3. Provide an example.
"It measures four times better drop performance. That means if your iPhone accidently slips out of your pocket, ceramic shield will have four times the chance of surviving without cracking. It's tougher than any smartphone glass."
'It's tougher than any smartphone glass' is the line most people will remember and, for most consumers, it's all they really have to know to help justify their spending decision.
For about a decade, I consulted with executives and managers at chip giant, Intel. My job was to help translate internal engineering jargon into everyday language. It required more than simply replacing jargon with common words.
In my experience working with communicators, people who work on products get too consumed with how the product works and how it was built while paying less attention to how the product will make someone's life better.
When it comes down to it, all the customer wants to know is, how will it help me?
I taught engineers to follow the three-step formula for the first 'dual-core' computer chip (Intel now makes chips that have 18-cores for high end gaming). For dual-core, we said:
Today Intel introduces Core 2 Duo, a new processor family for desktop and laptop computers. Microprocessors act as the brain of your computer. With these new chips, it's like getting two brains in one computer. That means your applications will load faster, your games will play better, your video will look better, and your battery will last longer.
By following the 3-step formula for new products, you can both explain the features and sell the benefit in one short paragraph. It's easier for your listener to follow, and more likely to lead to a sale.