According to Tim Cook, Apple CEO, “A great product isn’t just a collection of features. It’s how it all works together.”
Features make a product, and product managers know they need to implement the right features that will boost adoption rates while also having a favorable ROI. It’s a balance between customer satisfaction and product vision that can be difficult to obtain if the proper research and prioritization aren’t done.
What is a product feature?
What are features of a product? While some product managers may list the product attributes, it’s also important to consider the overall experience and benefits of using a product.
Dan Shewan answers the question “What are product features?” as “A feature is something your product has or is.” Some examples can include fans with changeable speeds or a jacket with water-resistant material. But it’s important to also consider the impact of those features. The fan with a changeable speed fan lets people cool off at just the right temperature, and a water-resistant jacket keeps a person dry.
Features are different from other terms like epic, user story, or requirements. Let’s review the definitions of those terms to understand where product features fit.
Epic: A strategic focus that groups features or user stories that share common business objectives.
User story: How the user perceives the benefits of a feature.
Requirements: A defined capability that is necessary to deliver a feature.
Product features definition
The product feature definition is simply capabilities, appearance, or attributes that are combined to make a functioning product that delivers value to end-users.
What are product features in marketing?
Marketing plays a huge role in product development and features. By building product features that consumers want and your competitors don’t have, a marketing team will have an easier time creating sales messages that portray the value of new features. If your marketing team can’t convey why a feature will solve a customer’s problem or is desirable, it may be an indication that your feature isn’t aligned with your customer needs.
What are features and benefits of a product?
Features and benefits are interconnected but are different from each other. A product feature is a specific component of the product. Meanwhile, a benefit is what users will gain when they use the feature. Take Slack for example. The product feature is to instantly message your co-workers. By using this feature, the benefit is that team members can complete work projects faster since they can easily communicate. People don’t want to buy communication tools, they want to buy efficiency.
Product features list: 5 types of products features
A new product will have multiple feature types. By looking at what competitors lack in certain feature types, you can use this to differentiate yourself from competitors. Here are 5 types of product features to consider.
Functionality usually refers to how a person can use a product or what they can do with it. The goal is to consider how a product can help a person accomplish a task and remove pain points. While some products can create new functional features, some functionalities are standard.
Experience is about the intangible features related to a product. While they may not be a requirement like functionality, they can help create memorable moments for customers and possibly create loyal customers. Some examples could include a smooth onboarding process or getting 5-star service from customer support.
Quality can relate to both tangible and intangible attributes. Quality is also a reference point for the perceived value of a product. For example, you may expect high-quality material from fashion labels like Gucci and be willing to pay higher pricing for that level of quality.
Design is another type of product feature based purely on aesthetics. Design or style is one way to differentiate yourself from competitors making similar products. The way a phone case looks may win over a potential customer, and it’s important to consider how a product looks in these situations.
Added value product feature types center on what a product comes with. It can give your product a higher perceived value when customers think they are gaining more features for the same price. Some eCommerce stores may accomplish this by adding gifts when people order. SaaS products could offer free set-up of their product.
5 product features example
Now that product feature types are covered, let’s review some real-life examples of features. These examples will demonstrate the product features, benefits, and marketing message that appeal to customer needs.
Wave offers software to make accounting and invoicing easier. One of the features includes the ability to connect a bank account to its accounting software. The benefit for end-users is that their cash flow is automatically updated in real-time without any work on their end. This saves business owners time keeping track of their credit card use. So it’s no surprise that the marketing message is to “Make tax time a breeze”.
Duolingo is a language-learning software program. One of its key features is custom lessons built with AI and language science. The product benefit for users is that they can learn a new language at their own pace and level. This easily translates to the marketing message of “Language courses that efficiently teach reading, listening, and speaking skills.”
Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that comes with many features. One of these features is the online scheduling system. It’s beneficial for website owners to easily add an online calendar to their website using templates and subsequently make more income. The marketing message for this feature is “Let clients easily book appointments online”.
People often use meditation apps like Headspace to help sleep, but you may or may not have expected a collaboration with singer John Legend. The latest Headspace feature is audio stories read by John Legend designed to facilitate sleeping. The benefit of using this feature is that listeners can improve sleep quality. The dreamy slogan to discuss this benefit is “Fall in love with sleep and practice self-love”.
Starbucks focuses on more than just beverages. Take a look at EarthSleeves. The sleeves fit perfectly around the cup so drinkers can hold their hot drinks without feeling the heat. It’s also designed to be environmentally friendly, so it pulls double duty as an experience and added value feature.
6 tips to prioritize the features of a product
It doesn’t matter if you are a brand new start-up or a well-established company, there are always numerous opinions and ideas on what product features to build next. A prioritization process must be implemented to maximize the value of proposed ideas.
It’s a challenging process though since numerous stakeholders will need assurance that the right product feature is being built to ensure profits. Here are 6 tips for choosing a product feature that aligns with your business.
Remember your business goals
A great product manager will take care that new features are relevant to the product roadmap and overall business strategy. This may mean reminding stakeholders of a product’s direction and ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page. In doing so, it will be easier to obtain good product ideas and gain approval from relevant stakeholders.
Ensure ideas are complete
There are many ways to get ideas. You can source them from every team within your company, concept testing, or asking your customers their opinion. Regardless of the source, it’s important to ensure that ideas are presented clearly. For example, someone may suggest a feature without mentioning why it’s needed. Following up with that person about how a feature will enhance a product could help determine its overall value.
Merge duplicate ideas
Oftentimes people will suggest similar ideas, so you may want to combine them to reduce your list of unique ideas. But you should do this carefully. You don’t want to lose individual details by merging duplicate ideas. Start with the primary idea and then group related ideas together underneath. This way you can keep good points that could help determine a product feature’s necessity.
Use a scoring system
Now is the time to start ranking each idea. Product managers should consider at least 2 metrics: Effort and impact. For example, the impact of Idea A could be huge, but it may also be costly and not return an ROI as effectively as Idea B. By fully understanding and ranking the impact and effort of a product idea, it will be easier to eliminate or embrace ideas.
Here are a few potential questions to answer when doing a scoring system:
- What is the estimated impact on profit or revenue?
- Will the feature promote brand loyalty? Or attract new customers?
- Does it meet a customer need?
- What resources are needed to implement this feature?
- Does the team have the time, resources, and capacity to build this feature?
- What are the costs of maintaining this feature?
Select an idea
Once you have completed the scoring system, you should have a more clear picture of which product features will have the most efficient impact on the company. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made, especially if stakeholders defer on which idea is the best. Regardless, a call needs to be made on promoting an idea to a product feature so the team can conduct concept testing and know exactly what to build.
Provide feedback to stakeholders
People that submit ideas will want to know why it was rejected. It’s important to explain why because this helps build transparency within a company while also encouraging a dialogue. By using the scoring system, you can explain how an idea was rejected and then reinforce product positioning and direction.
Key Takeaways about product features
Your product will have multiple features and may consistently need to add new features or products to maintain relevance to your audience. While it can be a daunting task, it’s a great opportunity to build a stronger product.
Understanding your buyer personas and competitors will help you develop features that make your product stand out and build customer loyalty. Product managers will need to develop a system for processing ideas and how to choose which product features are implemented next. Otherwise, they may risk losing game-changing input from their stakeholders and a poor adoption rate from customers.
What is a product features matrix?
A product features matrix is a way to determine the unique value proposition (UVP) of your product. The matrix involves comparing product features to competitors. This could help product managers determine how to make their products different.
It can also be used as a marketing tool for potential customers to see a side-by-side comparison of your product versus the competition.
How do you list product features?
A marketing team should do more than list product features. They should also focus on conveying how a customer will benefit from using a product. There are several strategies to promote product features including testimonials, speaking to the target audience, content marketing, and more.
How do you write product features?
The first step is to understand your buyer persona. By knowing your audience, you can write about product features in a way that appeals to them. Then you need to capture their attention with short, clear copy and scannable information. You should also engage your audience by mentioning the benefits of using the product.
What are product backlog features?
A backlog refers to a list of all tasks and projects that product teams need to deliver. This can include everything from new features, bug fixes, updating current features, and more. It’s essentially an organized to-do list for improving the product.