I recently ran a workshop with the glib title of 'Marketing made Simple'. 

Oh really?

How could marketing be simple?  If it was, everyone could do it, and where would the marketing industry be then!

There’s no doubt that a lot of marketing communication is made complex when it should be simple, confused when it should be clear, boring when it should excite.

Marketing is supposed to be fun but in many cases it ends up turgid and boring.

I have found there are three principles to follow that can help organisations – large and small – to make the communications part of their marketing mix more effective.

       1. Take the customer point of view.  So often marketing plays by the category rules rather than taking into account the customers’ point of view – what’s happening in their lives or what they perceive as value. Too often marketers fail to connect as people!

A great example of this is in the tyre business.  The category rules there have always seemed to be based on motor sport, stores with lots of tyres with technical names and a very male tone and style. 

Beaurepaires broke away from that mould to great impact on their bottom line.  They recognised that 50% of their customers were female and were alienated by the environment (as were many men!).  They redesigned the product naming (e.g. NCT5 became Fuel Max – bet you know the customer benefit now!)  and made the stores into pleasant inviting shopping experiences.  Their communications also started to use cues and visuals from outside motor sport, linking to a customer rather than category point of view.

So, ask your self are you taking the customer point of view or inadvertently playing by the so called category rules?

2. Simplify the message – KISS.  But I have some many great things to tell my customers!  They are so interested!  They aren’t…and they don’t have time with over 3000 commercial messages bombarding them on a daily basis. 

Here’s a quick exercise to help you follow the KISS principle:

  1. What are your 4-5 most important messages?
  2. Which one is the most important to your target market?
  3. Does it encapsulate your competitive advantage?
  4. If not, why not?…start again!

If you haven’t got a competitive advantage that makes people want to buy from you and not the place down the road then you need to develop one quick smart.  Without it, not only will your business be lost in a morass of confusion, but your marketing will be a waste of time!

3Execute with feeling & emotion.  I am not talking out there creative – which does have its place – but making true connections.  People need to be treated as people.  An emotional response is what will get people to connect.  Using visual, tactile or auditory cues are a great way to do that.