Product Specification vs. Product Description: Understanding the Difference

The world of marketing is full of all sorts of terminology and nomenclature, including “product specification” and “product description.” This article will seek to explain what each of those specific terms means and how they commonly see use.

Product Specification

Arguably, the first question to ask here is what is product specification?” Also known as “product specs,” a product specification is a document that gives your organization’s production team all of the information and requirements that are necessary to create new features or functions in a product. When done correctly, this sort of document helps to explain what sort of people will use the product, the needs that the product fulfills, and any other vital information that is necessary to engineer and fabricate a solution.

Product specs need not be exhaustively written or even bury their readers in technical jargon. Truth be told, some of the best product specs ever written are surprisingly clear and concise. When it comes to drafting up a product spec, four questions must be answered before it can be considered finished.

  1. What is being built?
  2. For what reason is the product being built?
  3. What is the end goal of the final build?
  4. How do you know that the product is a success?

You can commence work on drafting a product spec the moment that an idea comes to you or your team and can continue to work on it until it seems ready for product development.

Product Description

Much like when clarifying what a product specification is, it helps to know the definition of a product description. Put simply, a product description is all of the marketing jargon that exists to tantalize and inform a customer to the point that they decide to purchase it.

Because product descriptions are much more of a concern for marketing a product, there is a greater degree of nuance when it comes to their implementation. Provided below are just some of the points that you should consider when marketing your product.

  • Keep the focus on the ideal buyer or demographic for the product. By focusing on a select group of people instead of trying to appeal to everyone, you avoid coming across as bland. The greatest approach here is to directly address the reader with “You.” Once you have discerned the ideal market for your product, you can customize your language to their needs, using as much or little humor and familiarity as your research indicates is warranted.
  • Highlight all of the various benefits that the product can convey to its future owner. Customers want to know what the product can do and why it is worth their time.
  • Avoid meaningless phrasing. Marketing lingo is often saturated with words that mean nothing, so make sure that every point you make will keep your potential customer’s attention instead of having them roll their eyes at phrases like “excellent quality” or “award-winning” without citing the specific awards.
  • Back-up superlatives. Don’t just say something without clarifying why it is so. If something is premium, like some branded steaks, maybe namedrop the specific farm or region that the steaks come from.

How the Two Terms Overlap

While specifications and descriptions are relevant to different departments, there are some situations where you can incorporate your product specifications into your marketing. As one of the crucial questions in any product spec is “Why does this exist?,” you can use that reasoning as the first feature of your product description, enhanced with some marketing terms to spice it up. For example, you might offer a special carpenter’s hammer. While the hammer is intended to drive nails into wood, you might market it as “hits nails without slipping” due to the ridged striking surface all carpenter’s hammers have. Such a product point would also answer what customers hope to gain, which could answer the third question to be answered in product specs.

In Conclusion

Product specifications inform why a product exists. Product descriptions inform why people should buy the product. Sometimes you can use information from the former to guide or reinforce the latter.

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