Rule #1 of Marketing: Simplicity

Marketing success comes down to one thing: knowing the rules of the game. Think about that for a minute. Let it swirl around in your brain. Seems like common sense, right? You can’t win a game if you don’t know the rules. Over the last couple of decades of creating successful marketing initiatives, I’ve discovered some hard scrabble rules. Violate them at your own risk.

For some, this might be new information – for other experienced marketers, I hope the rules coming over the next few weeks are a refresher course in fundamentals. After you read them, if you disagree, feel fired up with renewed vigor, or are just lonely, feel free to comment.

1. The Rule of Simplicity
When it comes to effective marketing communication, simplicity is key. The more precise you can be in communicating your value, the easier it is to buy from you.

For example, using acronyms is a lost opportunity to communicate. The name and positioning of your company should be tell prospects in an instant what you do.

Many companies fall into the ego trap – they feel that their expertise is common and unimpressive. So they use big words and important sounding industry jargon to make it sound like they are more sophisticated than their competition. The result is that nobody can figure out what they do. These are the same companies who have relatively few employees but they use a phone answering system that is better suited to NASA.

For example, what do you suppose these guys do? From their website:

“Amalgamated Global Industries is a highly capable solutions provider that delivers cutting edge technology to change the paradigm of SAAS while expanding the company’s global footprint of excellence.”

I have no idea what that means. Amalgamated Global Industries (I made up that name) is really two guys, a couple spools of Cat. 5 cable who go around dragging wires through walls and setting up a couple routers. They should have called it Two Guys Networking and simply stated:

“Two Guys installs and designs computer networks for growing companies. Focused on home offices and small business, we offer a high touch experience bigger companies can’t match.” Or something like that…

Everything your company communicates should be simple to understand. Even complex products and services have to be boiled down to an instantly understood concept. And don’t say your product or service is too complex to boil down. The complexity is your problem – not your customer’s. Most complex sales processes involve educating the buyer over time, a very effective method. Initial contacts in the marketing cycle should be simple for a harried buyer to understand.

Initial contacts in the marketing cycle should be simple for a harried buyer to understand.

Keep it simple, keep it short and to the point. Initial contacts in the marketing cycle should be simple for a harried buyer to understand WHAT you do, WHICH problems you solve and WHAT’S in it for them.


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