Marketing Communication: “Simple” is Almost Always Better

Curly from City Slickers holding up one finger.
No, it’s STILL not about his finger, but simplicity is, more often than not, pretty powerful stuff.

Just as less is often more, a simple, but undeniable message directed to the right audience is almost always more effective than applying a big push to convert the non-inclined.  We often see many brands taking the approach of piling on a mountain of supporting evidence in their marketing, but it’s almost always in the form of heaping on more information to persuade. Information that may seem important to them as de facto ambassadors to their own brand, but very often less so to the consumer. Product Specs, Results of Side by Side Comparisons, Why It/We Is/Are Better than the competition, etc.

 

Look around social media. It seems like some brands get their message out so efficiently and effectively.  Like they don’t even really have to ask for the sale. With others, you can see the virtual “sweat” involved. . . nothing but friction as they attempt to move their target audience from prospect to customer. 

 

There’s a good reason for this. In a Corporate Board Survey of 7000 consumers taken a few years back, it turns out that one of the most accurate predictors of being able to create customer “stickiness” (how attracted they are to a particular brand) stems not from efforts to overwhelm prospects with product information and features, but rather in just how simple and self-evident those brands were able to make the buying decision. A good summary of that study, from the Harvard Business Review,  can be seen here

 

In fact, there was an inverse relationship between presenting additional information and prompting the decision to buy. And this was after introducing no less than 40 variables into the mix – price, brand perception, how often the consumer already interacted with the brand, and much more.

 

 It’s worth noting too that the brands that were best at effectively creating that customer “stickiness” tended to put much less emphasis on conveying technical information and much MORE emphasis on very simply making the buying decision obvious. To make it seem as if a decision NOT to buy would be entirely illogical.

 

A big part of these efforts tended to be  centered on supplying SOCIAL PROOF with a high degree of relevance to their target audience. While this study does date back a few years, we see this approach employed perhaps now more than ever in the form of Instagram “product shout outs”.

 

For smaller businesses and sole practitioners, a good example would be the use of on-camera endorsements from satisfied clients, as opposed to relying on more academic insights about the merits of a given procedure they routinely perform. 

 

Those brands also spent more time and effort on making sure that they were putting themselves in front of an audience likely to be interested in what they had to offer in the first place.

 

It seems obvious, but it doesn’t take a lot of looking to find brands venturing into programming (both online and off) where the “fish” aren’t going to be biting any time soon. 

Questions? Feel Free to email me at Jon@JonFLee.com

 

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