TL,DR? - In Marketing, simplicity is effective. Strive for simplicity by selectively creating understandable, purposeful messages.

Picture Times Square. Media is thrown at the consumer in every possible direction. Even when the consumer escapes to their phone, online is cluttered with constant advertisements.

In a world where everyone is trying to outdo one another with brighter colors or bigger statements, sometimes a whisper is all that is needed. Sometimes the simple approach is the one that stands out the most.

While it is exciting to brainstorm complex masterpieces, sometimes simplicity is the best choice. When trying to be simple, think S.U.P.

Remember these effective yet simple advertising campaigns? All of these campaigns have messages that are Selective, Understanding, and Purposeful (S.U.P.).

Apple's Mac vs PC campaign is simplistic but effective.
SanDisk captures the capabilities of their product in this brilliant marketing campaign that is so elegantly simple. 
Lego has a simple and easily understood design showing the capabilities and inspirational qualities of the product.

Selective

Consumers have little time to care about everything on their social media or every blog post that comes their way. They are selective and marketers should be too.

Choose approaches to content wisely. Not every detail can fit in a blog. Choose information that is relatable, helpful, and digestible to the consumer. When writing, pick specific, descriptive, purposeful words that get the point across. Avoid passive voice at all costs to spark action in the reader.

Keep the reader interested by varying the sentence lengths. Numerous short sentences in a row can be disjointed and hard to follow, whereas long sentences lead to elaborate descriptions and invested readers. Find a balance between the two but make sure to refrain from repetitiveness.  

In order to be proud of the work created, constantly edit and restructure. Rome was not built in a day, and neither is quality content. Although the process itself is not simple, the task of tearing and picking apart and reworking content allows the consumer to fully understand the message.

Understandable

When a message is simple, it is more believable and easier to understand.

The best writers can simplify a complex thought. Writers do not have to validate their intelligence by using large words or fancy phrases. When writing, it is recommended to write at a 7-8th grade level so that the information relates to a wider audience. Why spend the time, money, and resources on a marketing campaign if the consumer does not instantly understand the message?

Relieving the stress from a consumer’s busy day is part of a marketers job. Consumers prefer to expend as little brain power as possible when digesting information. (Maybe more people would read Charles Dickens if he did not try to cram every word from the dictionary into a single sentence.)

Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews wrote, “I appreciate simplicity in my own life. The more I’m online, the more complicated it feels. There’s just too much – too many graphics, too many apps, too many choices, too many ads, too many social media options. There’s too much vying for our attention. Simplicity makes life breathable.”

Purposeful

Everything marketers produce needs to create value for the customer or inspire action. Overloading the customer with stimulation and information is tempting, but also time wasting.

Constantly observe, listen, and respond to consumers so that the product is reflective of their wants. Only the best content and advice should be shared. Nothing has to be flashy, it just needs to tell a story with an objective.

Consumers are always on the go and their attention span continues to decrease. Quick updates are preferred. The consumer will skim or ignore content that makes them spend energy decoding a marketing message. A Forbes article stated that only about 16% of website visitors read every word on a page compared to the 79% of web users who scan the page for relevant content.  In fact, memes are popular sources of media because they get the point across instantly without any extra thought. Research from the CEB shows that simplifying the decision making process hooks a consumer rather than overloading them with elaborate and complex websites, ads, or sales copy.

Save the consumer’s time.

Do this by rewriting and rephrasing work at least three times ensuring every point is deliberate. Stay on track by asking these questions:

  • What value is being offered to consumers?
  • Is the information described in the most simplistic manner?
  • What can be done to further unclutter and simplify the information?
Simplistic marketing is sophisticated, to the point, and direct. 

In order to get in the “simple” mindset, look around the room and see if there are three things that would be easy to live without. Now do that with the brand and the campaign. What are things the content can do without?

Still not thinking “Simple?” Check to make sure the marketing campaign has a clean design and tells a compelling story.

 

 

Congratulations for spending the time to fully absorb this content! Though the spare three minutes could have been spent walking the dog, saying “hi” to local office celebrity, Mark, or browsing the web, this content will hopefully spark a surge to create simply and more effectively.

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