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Simplify Your Marketing Messages

  
  
  
  
  

A few weeks ago my wife and I made a trip to Walden Pond to see where Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Concord, Mass.  One of his famous quotes should be a mantra for every marketer – Simplify.   

At Walden Pond

(Me at Walden Pond)

Consumers are overloaded with marketing/brand messages on every platform, it is estimated we are hit with nearly 3000 messages a day.   As a result attention spans have become shorter and more distracted.  We have less tolerance for how much content we will consume at one glance.  Our brains are now used to processing short bursts of info – texts, tweets, FB posts, broadcast/print ads, email, etc.  Given this backdrop, marketers need to craft their messages with brevity in mind.  

One of the most important duties for a marketer is creating the description for your company – positioning statements and “About us” copy for your web site and collateral.  In addition, it is valuable to arm your employees with a quick verbal “elevator/cocktail party” pitch version so they can successfully articulate the company’s value.  This description should be from your customer’s point of view – what benefit do you provide for them.  Key point - It is about the customer, not you and your award winning technology or world class production facility or sigma six processes or your diverse and happy employees.  

So many companies (especially in the B2B world) have buzzword dense, convoluted descriptions on their web site.  How many times have you visited a site and not been able to figure out what the company actually does.  Too often a committee writes these statements and everyone feels they need to shove in extraneous words to make it sound important.  

For effective marketing, the opposite is true.  In today’s cluttered information world you need to be able state your position in a clean simple sentence or two.  To get to this description you must think about the essence of your brand promise in one simple concept – why do people ultimately buy your product or service.  This exercise will also help your SEO and inbound web traffic.  A clearer description can help lower your bounce rate and encourage people to go deeper into your site.

Craft your statement in a few words as possible and test it out on a few people.  It should convey a simple message to someone outside your industry.  Once you have this down you can then further build your case with supporting points, facts and research.  However, you should lead with a simple statement that instantly lets a prospect know what you can do for them.  Simplify.

simplify

Comments

Dear Gordon:  
 
I much appreciated your timely post.  
 
Do you think we could lure Thoreau away from Walden for an hour or two?  
 
I think we will be needing him at our next board meeting. Beyond, our unruffled front desk person, there is ongoing tumult. While we all pay at least lip service to the need to simplify, I’m not sure whether it is achievable. Head of sales has made it clear she only pays attention to one set of numbers: her own. Head of production treats his staff like family, but has little taste for leadership. Meanwhile, Head of Engineering is determined to change the world, and its his way or the highway. All the above are great people: knowledgeable, hard to come by and apparently in it for the long haul. 
 
But, Gordon, what a mess! 
 
What do you think Thoreau would say about simplifying given this situation?  
 
A number of outsiders have already suggested we bring someone like you in ASAP to launch a major web initiative, one that pulls everyone together (our clients included!). They say we could use a big idea to rally around, a simple, straightforward, high-impact narrative; other voices are cautioning us to wait…wait till we have figured things out, rather than masking internal issues with a Big Idea. Speaking of campaigns, did I mention that Head of Finance has now taken to calling Head of Marketing “a card carrying member of the 47%”? 
 
Hey, the election may be over, but life seems as complex as ever. How to get everyone on the same page when their motives are so different? And do you go for the Big Idea before or after all this is internal stuff is resolved? 
 
Thoreau for 2016 on the Simplify ticket?  
Posted @ Thursday, November 29, 2012 2:56 PM by Louis Postel
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