University of Maryland Extension

Differentiating what you sell

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers, Extension Specialist, Marketing, University of Maryland Extension and Kim Rush Lynch, Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension

Urban Ag home | Table of contents

 Consider what features motivate your customers to purchase your product. If you have a pollinator garden next to your vegetable patch, take photos and share them on social media as part of your marketing campaign. Photo by Edwin Remsberg, ©University of Maryland—AGNR Image Library.
Figure 3: Consider what features motivate your customers to purchase your product. If you have a pollinator garden next to your vegetable patch, take photos and share them on social media as part of your marketing campaign. Photo by Edwin Remsberg, ©University of Maryland—AGNR Image Library.

 

The first step is to analyze your product from your customers’ point of view. Remember, Gillette doesn’t sell blades, it sells smooth shaves. 3M doesn’t sell tape, it sells convenience and time. Begin by analyzing your product along four lines: What are its...

Concrete Features—These are the tangible things about a product that a buyer can see, hear, and feel. A car’s leather interior, front-wheel drive, and racy style are good examples of concrete attributes, as is a good price or loan terms.

Does your product have a good fresh color, attractive packaging, and an informative label? Can you provide shipping and cooling of products if necessary that are in compliance with wholesale or cooperative markets?

Abstract Features—These are the intangible things about a product that you can’t see, hear or feel, but which exist nevertheless. You can’t see “good quality.” It is a conclusion derived from an overall evaluation of the product’s features by you and others. But that image is a powerful selling tool. Abstract features of ice cream include “rich taste” and “fattening.”

Is your product locally grown under certified organic practices? Does your farm and family contribute to sustaining your local community? What are your products’ other abstract features?

Functional Features—These are benefits created directly by the product. A car “handles well.” A toothpaste “whitens teeth.” A lending company gives “two-hour approvals.” In each case, the benefit comes directly from the product to the buyer.

Is your product GMO free, untreated, or an heirloom variety? How does the nutrition levels in your product compare to similar products? How does it taste?

Psychosocial Features—These are psychological benefits that come to the buyer indirectly. A car which produces admiring looks from others, a cookie mix which makes a boy tell his mother, “These are sooo good.” These features are important because we want others to approve of us and what we have. It was psychosocial pressures more than anything else that drove many women away from natural fur products.

Do your farming practices help save the Chesapeake Bay and preserve soil and natural resources for future generations? What are your products’ other psychosocial features?

Note: Do NOT make medical claims about your product.

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Crops with the most potential

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