Marketing 101 - Features, Benefits, Outcomes, & Transformations

Nov 30, 2023

When I started my online business course over 10 years ago, I didn't know the first thing about marketing. Over the years, marketing has become the area where I've personally experienced the most growth. It's also one of the most crucial elements for success. Without great marketing, there is no business.

Today, I want to discuss some terms with you that, once fully understood, will significantly improve your marketing efforts.

These terms are features, benefits, outcomes, and transformations.

They are often misunderstood or overlooked. You may have considered features versus benefits but not the other two.

Let’s dive into what each of these terms really means and how you can best use them in your business.


Features vs. Benefits

In marketing, it’s essential to understand the distinction between features and benefits. A feature is a characteristic of your product or service, while a benefit explains how that feature adds value to your customer. It’s the difference between what your course has and why that matters to your students.

Let’s look at three examples so you can understand features vs. benefits:

Feature: A coffee mug has a handle Benefit: You don’t burn your hand while enjoying coffee

Feature: 12 hours of video content Benefit: Learn & implement our comprehensive system anytime, anywhere

Feature: Weekly Q&A Benefit: Get your questions answered so you can break through plateaus and make progress faster. For effective marketing, never mention the feature without also mentioning the benefit. As the creator, you love the features. You made them! But the benefits of those features will resonate more with your customers.


Linking Features to Benefits: The ‘So You Can…’ Framework:

Ever struggle with explaining why your course matters? Enter the 'So You Can' technique. This powerful approach ties features directly to benefits.

Let’s use our examples from above:

A coffee mug has a handle so you can enjoy your coffee without burning your hand.

Our course has 12 hours of video content, so you can learn & implement our comprehensive system anytime, anywhere.

We offer a weekly Q&A so you can get your questions answered and break through plateaus that make progress faster.

It’s not just about having a weekly Q&A session; it’s about enabling students to "get their questions answered and break through plateaus." It's this connection that makes your features compelling.


Outcomes: The Bigger Picture

Outcomes take us a step further. They are the end results of utilizing your course’s features and benefits. For example, the outcome of an online piano course isn’t just learning the notes; it’s the ability to play beloved songs. Outcomes are the milestones students reach, the tangible results of their learning journey.

Often, when I’m working with someone to create an online course, we focus on the “dream outcome” their ideal customer wants to achieve. And their course’s number 1 goal should be for their ideal customer to achieve that dream outcome. People pay for outcomes.


Transformations: Where True Change Occurs

Now, let's talk about transformations – the most profound level of impact your course can have. A transformation encompasses not only the outcome but also the journey from where the learner started.

For example, Piano In 21 Days is about taking someone from doubt and frustration to confidently playing songs in as little as 21 days. This is the narrative that truly resonates with potential students. It’s about painting a picture of possibility and change.

For your marketing and sales messages to convert and maximize sales, really focus on the transformation someone can expect, and feature the transformations your previous students have made.

For example, a testimonial that talks about the transformation is much more powerful than a testimonial that only touches on your features.



Understanding features, benefits, outcomes, and transformations is more than a marketing strategy; it’s about effectively communicating the value and impact of your online courses. It's about showing potential students what they'll learn and how they'll grow and change.

And ultimately, it’s about making more sales and impact.

As you craft your next promotion or refine your existing one, keep these concepts in mind. They're not just buzzwords; they're the tools that will help your students see the value in your offer.

Here’s to creating courses that don’t just educate but transform.

I’m rooting for you.