Better RFP Responses & Management
Production Land versus Proposal Land

Production Land versus Proposal Land

In Production Land clever people design and make a product or service and then task someone with selling it. In marketing jargon, this someone first identifies the features of the product/service — the characteristics that describe it objectively — and then tries to identify the benefit each confers on a client/user — the things that turn clients/users into buyers by making them willing to spend their money.

A product with the feature of being rugged has the benefit of low replacement cost due to less breakage. A service with the feature of being consistent has the benefit of reliable or predictable outputs/outcomes. A process with the feature of being efficient has the benefit of allowing a project to be finished on schedule  — usually good in itself and often a cost reducer as well. A piece of equipment that conserves fuel has the benefit of lower operating cost.

Proposal Land flips the relationship between features and benefits. First we identify what benefit the client wants — reliability, low-cost, availability, ease of use, 24/7 coverage, to name a few — and then we design a service or product or piece of equipment with the features necessary to deliver those benefits.

It takes marketers and marketing writers in Production Land a while to learn that benefits are not obvious: that they do not necessarily follow from the feature without saying. In a similar way, it takes workers in Proposal Land a while to learn that they should start with the benefits: with what the client really wants. When done correctly, it makes the marketing communication task much easier. No longer is a hapless writer trying to intuit, guess, and otherwise make up a benefit to correlate with every product/service feature: As the basis for the proposal, they just sorta jump out at you.



  1. Jim Taylor

    In my early years of copywriting for radio, we were taught a formula:
    Howzat? Get their attention.
    Who me? Why this specific audience.
    Prove it! Document what you call “the benefits”.
    So what? Let the audience know what you expect from them. The cleverest commercial in the world fails if you don’t tell them to go to Wosks or call Harrington’s.
    I wonder how those questions would make a difference to shaping the world of both Production Land and Proposal Land.
    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – A great formula. I think asking those questions would make better ads and better proposals, but I suspect they’d make better products/services even more so.

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