Friday, September 22, 2006
“There are two ways of constructing a software design; one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.”
- C. A. R. Hoare
This quote underscores what most marketers aspire to achieve: a message without any obvious weaknesses. But which method should be pursued; the simple, or the complex?
There’s a certain courage it takes to make things simple. How often do we find ourselves loading up a message with features and benefits to make sure we didn’t miss anything? It’s tempting to pile on the information. (And it may be safer for your career.) But while this method may have no “obvious deficiencies,” it is rare that it works as well over time as a simple, true message.
Why? Because people want their decisions to be made easier for them, not more complex. Imagine yourself in your target audience’s shoes: They are implicitly asking you to make their lives easier by offering an easier choice. And the more complex you make this process, the more difficult your target audience’s choice becomes (and the least likely you will be chosen). Your marketing message becomes an irritant instead of a help.
People want a simple, straight-forward reason to choose you. And it comes down to satisfying or answering one simple thing. But, what is the one simple thing? That is why this method is far more difficult, but worth the time. Just ask Apple, Nike or Target — the brands held up as the epitomes of what consumers prefer — and the answer speaks for itself, with “obviously no deficiencies.”
Posted by 3 at 11:25 AM | Post a comment
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Recently we worked with a client who presented us with their historical advertising and marketing efforts, including a 30-page SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). SWOT is a strong tool that has worked
for many companies over the years, but we were instantly skeptical of this particular document. Conspicuously absent was the most important element
of marketing: the target. The very people who need to act in order for you
And therein lies the real danger of reliance on a SWOT analysis. It can be a little too easy to forget the customers who make any marketing and advertising effort work. Here is how people generally complete one of these documents:
Strengths: A list of how our product or service is superior.
Weaknesses: A list of our product or service downfalls.
Opportunities: A list of how we’ll turn our weaknesses into strengths.
Threats: Generally a list of competitors.
It’s not that we dislike this model. But with a little tweaking, the people who will choose your product or service can be added back in. Just add these questions to your list:
Strengths: How is our product relevant to people? Is this something they would talk about? Why?
Weaknesses: Do people care about us? Are we fitting into their lives? Could we make ourselves more relevant to them?
Opportunities: Is there something about our product that would be more meaningful to people? How can we make it more meaningful?
Threats: Are there reasons more people aren’t using us/buying us? Can we change our product or service fast enough to meet people’s needs and
It all comes back to the very simple idea that as a customer-based business,
you can’t lose sight of the customer. (And this happens every day in every business.) You will live or die by them and their use and perceived value of your product.
Posted by 3 at 11:13 AM | Post a comment
Friday, August 25, 2006
Just in case the division still exists, we'd like to put an end to the false separation of design and advertising. In our minds, the two are inseparable. Advertising is design. And all design is, in a way, advertising.
These days, designers are just as involved in concept as any other department of an agency, including media. The best designers are no longer perceived as cake decorators who come in at the end of a campaign execution to make something look pretty. And on the advertising side of the equation, art directors and writers should be expected to have a certain aesthetic knowledge of what a brand should look and feel like, beyond the conventional advertising deliverables of print, TV, collateral and interactive.
Advertising vs. design is dead. Long live designvertising. Or, if you prefer, adversigning.
Posted by 3 at 04:42 PM | Post a comment