Why is most communication so complicated, unclear and confusing?
I think it is a fear of simplicity.
Marketers often forget a very basic fact that the consumer
crave simple not complex. They don’t want choices that make decision making
difficult. They aren’t looking for brand relationships. They want an easy path
to follow with a well-understood benefit for them. They crave easy and want you
to help them buy from you. More is never better.
A recent study by The Corporate Executive Board helps to
make this clear.
"Decision simplicity was the single most important reason that
consumers made purchases, repeated those purchases and even recommended that
product to others".
What is decision
|This makes my teeth hurt|
If I give you 23 toothpastes under my brand, that ain’t
If I give you 125 potential combinations for buying a
laptop, that ain’t simple.
If I give you 8 different styles of jeans, that ain’t simple
The consumer has a tsunami of choices. A clever marketer
realizes that “having it your way”, isn’t the way. How often have you gone to a web site to buy
something and left because the process was complicated to navigate and the wide
array of choices left you confused and overwhelmed?
Did you get a technical
mouthful of megabytes when what you really wanted to know was how many pictures
can I take at one time with this digital camera or phone? Did they wow you with
information that you don’t get, don’t care about and frankly made saying yes
Why Simple is the new
In an increasingly complex world, brands that figure this
out will find new leverage. Whether product or service, you need to help the
consumer buy from you- not wow them with stuff that may be important inside
your company but doesn’t motivate buying. Three suggestions from the study:
Minimize the number of information sources to help them as they wander
toward a purchase
Make sure the sources (testimonials) are credible, clear and relevant
Make the top features that matter to them easy to follow and don’t
complicate the decision
|Don't jam too many choices in your offering|
A real life example of this is the supermarket test. A
person puts 24 jars of jam on a table and only 3% purchase. When the selection
is reduced to 6 choices, 30% purchased. This is remarkable but not surprising.
When I think about this relative to wine marketing, the idea
makes perfect sense to me. The incredibly overly complicated process of buying
wine, for most consumers is so overwhelming that it shouldn’t be a surprise
that the run in fear away from the wall of wine aisle or a sommelier who scares
the Merlot out of them.
Four suggestions to simplify your marketing
Product offering: If 20% of
your products create 80% of your sales, you can actually boast sales by
eliminating SKU’s and complexity from your product offering. And you will probably increase profits too as you bring simplicity into your production or back office.
Message: Are you able to communicate your product benefit in a few
words? If not, keep working at it until you can explain your value proposition
in an elevator ride between 3 floors. More than that is too complicated. And once you figure it out, say it over and over and over again. Frequency and repetition helps your message breakthrough the clutter.
What do you do? Does your 85 year old mother (father, aunt, uncle)
understand what you sell? Could they tell their friends? This also applies to your 15 year old children. As Denzel Washington says in the movie Philadelphia, "tell it to me like I'm a six year old." Break it down!
Tell me less: Does your website tell consumers things that help
them buy from you? (Hint: If you have a picture of your factory, it is a sign
you are giving them information that doesn’t matter to them).
I am in no way saying consumers are dumb. In fact, they are
so smart that they run away from the overly complicated sales pitch. And, I
speak from real world experience having made a living for 14 years selling just
one product: a lovely homemade brownie.
If you disagree about my thesis, here is a chart that won't help explain anything. But it is a pretty complicated analysis.
Simple is the new simple.
Labels: Executive Corporate Board, Harvard Business Review, Marketing Moments, Simple, Simple Marketing, Wine Marketing