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An Engineer's Understanding of 'Feature-Advantage-Benefit'

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patb2009
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Gold
Good Story
patb2009   9/21/2014 12:15:53 PM
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You explained the human side of the sales equation to people who don't

see that often.  An engineer will often get enthralled with the feature and

never realize that the lack of understanding of the benefits will kill

it's adoption by management.

mrdon
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Gold
Re: Good Story
mrdon   9/21/2014 2:38:38 PM
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patb2009

Agreed. This was a good story for engineers. I believe the key to the Feature - Advantages-Benefits is to have empathy and understanding when dealing with customers. Also, the main message I obtained from this blog is to just be human and enjoy the time you have in educating your customers about the great products you've created for them.

Daniyal_Ali
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Platinum
Re: Good Story
Daniyal_Ali   9/22/2014 3:04:15 AM
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Nicely written Dave, I once worked for a company as design engineer and used to participate in such seminars, as it helped me gather important information and feedback as to what needs to be changed in the design. A design engineer should be deeply involved in the marketing area, so that the product can be made more customer-oriented.

ChuckMahoney
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Gold
useful mnemonic!
ChuckMahoney   9/22/2014 9:48:08 AM
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F-A-B is an important mnemonic to remember as we develop new products. Too often marketers, designers and engineers get caught up in adding features to new products with the goal of "one-upping" the competition and adding innovation. We sometimes forget that innovation must add value, or in this case a benefit that can be easily communicated to the customer and end user.

Every Feature (or feature set) that is included in a new product definition must have an associated Advantage and Benefit, or it should not be included. I believe that if product designers, marketers and engineers kept FAB in mind, we would develop better products.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Refer to Covey's "7 Habits" as excellent reference
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/22/2014 1:10:06 PM
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Good article Dave.  It resonates with my past career experience in the meeting rooms filled with marketing and engineering professionals while conceiving the Specifications for a new product. 

Your observations ought to be taught as a subject matter to both engineers and marketeers  while still at the college level, because you touch on a relationship dance that exists everywhere, in every company.  The blank stares from the non-technicals  are a frustrating reality that need to be addressed and overcome. The relationship of design features as they translate to a marketing strategy for the business guys, ought to then, be familiar to everyone in product development.

 I realized this during my engineering career, and actually became quite convincing to my marketing friends.  I was very accomplished at getting them on-board and engaged in the engineering process, as they watched their future products developing.

This was all very well summed-up by Stephen Covey in his "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" – Habit #2:  Begin with the End in Mind.   Studying Covey's teachings as a young engineer was like a religious experience that changed my entire way of thinking.  Your article today touches on some of that content.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
BRP - ?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/22/2014 1:15:19 PM
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After clicking the link to your Evinrude site and reviewing your new outboard, of course I want one (or two, as required,,,) but  I don't understand one comment on the page (in the RED section) stating, "first to be completely designed and built start to finish by BRP.  ...BRP-?

 

 

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: BRP - ?
Dave Palmer   9/22/2014 1:40:50 PM
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@JimT: Great question! Evinrude and Johnson outboards were originally made by a company called OMC (Outboard Marine Corporation), until its bankruptcy in December 2000.

After the bankruptcy, the brands were bought up by a Canadian company called BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products), which is the maufacturer of Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo personal watercraft, Can-Am ATVs, and the Spyder motorcycle.

One of the first things that BRP did a few years after purchasing the Evinrude brand was to introduce E-TEC direct injection technology.  However, all of the engines were still based on an evolution of legacy designs, updated for direct injection.

The E-TEC G2 is the first engine to be fully designed by BRP.  Rather than a step-wise evolution of the older designs, it's a brand new engine; we designed it from a clean sheet of paper.  This allowed us to use all-new technology, which means that we can offer customers benefits that simply weren't possible until now.  For example, we're offering a 5-year corrosion warranty; no other outboard manufacturer has this.  We were able to do this by designing for industry-best long-term saltwater corrosion protection from Day 1.

Another place where the engine's BRP "DNA" can be seen is in the styling, which is radically different from other outboard engines, and has a lot in common with BRP snowmobiles and other vehicles.

William K.
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Platinum
Start with the desired benefit.
William K.   9/22/2014 8:49:08 PM
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This is a very good post that promotes a rather valuable insight, which is that features that provide no benefit are fairly worthless. That is so profound that it could almost be made a law.

I see many products that have all kinds of new features that usually make the product less reliable and harder to use. So who decided what feat5ures would be added, and what benefit were those features intended to deliver. That is a question that needs to be asked a lot more.

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