top of page
  • Kendra Lisum

Avast, Matey! The Benefits Be Everything!

What a Ship Can Teach Us About Copywriting

This wouldn't be a copywriting blog if I didn't talk about benefits versus features. If you've done any kind of marketing, you've been hit over the head with that tiny boxing match.

But have you ever see the original Pirates of the Caribbean?

The movie has a lot going for it: Johnny Depp, an exotic setting, a fantastic premise, and creepy villains.

(For those who don't know, it's the story of a rogue pirate (Jack Sparrow), an ancient curse, and a ship).

There's a scene in the movie when Jack Sparrow is explaining to Kiera Knightly's character why he cares so much about a ship. Wobbly and drunk, Jack explains, "[A ship is] not just a keel and hull and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom."

And there, my friends, is the difference between features and benefits.

*mic drop* *exits stage left*

Kidding. Let me explain:

Like Jack's ship, your product has all these components - the things that make it what it is. These are its features. The same goes for your business: you've got great customer service, extended hours, years in business, superior quality products. In short, these make up the components of your ship.

To find the benefits -- what the ship is -- dig deep. Ask yourself "What does my product represent?"

Most landscapers are out there trying to sell landscaping selling landscaping services.

Most coffee shops are out there trying to sell selling coffee.

But people don't want those things.

They want the end result of those things!

They want a lush green lawn for their grandkids to romp around.

They want to feel happy and energized to face their day.

A ship needs all its features to sail the seven seas, but Jack doesn't care about those.

What makes a ship useful to him is what it represents and in turn what problem it solves for him (namely, escape. he is a pirate after all).

So show your customers the benefits of your product and they'll be willing to take on a hoard of cursed pirates to buy it from you.

And if you need help with coming up with the benefits of your product, give me an "Ahoy, me hearties!" I'd be glad to help.

P.S. I often speak about products on this blog, but if you sell a service, simply substitute "service" - the same principles apply.

Want to see the clip on YouTube? Here you go!

Some links in the above post may be affiliate links. This means if you purchase, I get a small commission - at no extra charge to you!

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page