For marketing communications, keep complexity and sophistication in storage.
There are those in business who relish sophistication in processes and systems. The more thinking and creative engineering that go into technology, products and services, the better they will perform (or be perceived to perform). But when it comes to marketing, sophisticated ideas just muddy up your messages.
If you have a brand identity or important message to convey, keep it simple, even if there are nuances. Why? Because the rest of us are mostly babes in the woods. Remember that only you think exactly the way you do and can perfectly connect your own dots. Those dots you so easily connect may appear disparate to the rest of us so it’s your responsibility to make certain that we know what dot #1 is all about before you start confusing us with dots 2 through 17 all at once.
What about those subtle nuances that really differentiate us, you might ask? If a nuance is what differentiates your product or service then your messages should be all about the nuance. If that nuance must be fully understood by your audience, make it the primary message.
If the value proposition is complex, build your case in understandable stages.
Once you add more than two or three ancillary features or components to your main value proposition, you dilute, spread around and complicate your main idea. By all means, be well prepared to articulate every granular detail of your value delivery but save those details until your audience wants or needs to know them.
A Simple 4-Step Approach
If you need to make your message understandable and actionable, there’s a methodology you can use called AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action). To apply AIDA in your marketing messages and throughout your selling process, take your prospect through these communication stages:
Attention – First you need them to notice you and listen. Make a bold, singular promise.
Interest – Once listening, build interest in how you will enrich your customer. Begin to reveal some key features that will help them. You can further differentiate your offering with nuance and sophistication as long as your prospect wants to remain engaged. This is really the make or break stage because interest can be lost as quickly as gained. You must move them into wanting your product, or there’s no sale.
Desire – One way to know if your prospect has reached the desire stage is by the questions they ask. If the questions focus on recommended service levels, budget ranges, or what actual implementation involves, you and your prospect have reached the closing stage of the sale and are ready for…
ACTION – Unless your message is acted upon, why bother with branding, great web design and advertising? Why have salespeople? Marketing and sales cost a lot of money so they have to work! Your calls to action can be anything from e-commerce or direct contact links on your website to full-blown presentations and contract negotiations, depending on what you’re selling.
It’s best to hold your most sophisticated or complex product/service benefits for when you may need them, such as convincing a senior engineering team that your technology is superior. Give them the building blocks to decide for themselves.
In marketing, the complex features do belong somewhere on your website with a clear navigation path. If your home and landing pages have a strong primary message, your visitors will go deeper to learn what they need to know, and hopefully place an order or call you with questions.
Content is gold. You have limited mind space and attention spans to work with. Avoid muddying the water by keeping your initial marketing message simple. A powerful first impression can set the ball rolling from attention to ACTION faster than you expect.