Well, well, well. It turns out that all those fancy marketing techniques, buzzwords, and jargon that you learned in your MBA program aren’t so effective. According to some painfully obvious statistics, simple marketing messages are actually the most effective way to reach customers. Who knew? Let’s take a look at some of these stats.
Attention spans can range from 2 seconds to over 20 minutes, but the average human attention span is mere 8.25 seconds. Oh, and it’s getting shorter. The average human attention span decreased by almost 25% between 2000 to 2015. Humans currently have shorter attention spans than goldfish (9 seconds). So, it makes perfect sense to cram as much information as possible into those precious few seconds, right?
Wrong. In fact, a study by Google found that ads with simple messaging performed better than ads with complex messaging, even when the latter had longer viewing times. So, it seems like customers actually prefer a clear, concise message over a convoluted one. Who would have thought?
Clarity is Key
Another study, this time by Nielsen Norman Group, found that users on the Internet tend to scan content rather than read it in full. In fact, they typically only read about 20% of the words on a page. So, if you want to get your message across, you better make it simple and easy to scan.
But why stop at clarity? According to the same study, users also prefer websites with simple, clean designs. So, if you want your marketing message to be compelling, just make sure it’s easy to read, easy to scan, and easy on the eyes. Simple as that.
People Like Brands They Understand
Communications firm, Edelman, found that customers are more likely to trust a brand if they understand what it stands for. In fact, 89% of consumers said they would stay loyal to a brand that shares their values. So, if you want to build a loyal customer base, make it easy for your audience to connect with who you are as an organization.
Let Me Tell You a Story
A guy enters a store to buy a sweater. The shopkeeper starts telling the customer all about the ranch where the wool comes from, how well cared for the sheep are, and the fact that the wool is transported by electric vehicles charged by energy from wind farms. The shopkeeper is thrilled to tell him all about what differentiates his sweater from all the others.
After five minutes, the customer walks out. The shopkeeper follows him and asks why he left. The customer responded, “I don’t care about your sheep. I just want a f*cking sweater.”
The next shopkeeper simply says, “our sweaters are great quality. What size and color would you like?”
Whether by stories or stats, it’s pretty clear that simple marketing messages are more effective. The goal of marketing is to increase awareness of your brand or generate leads; it’s to get the conversation started. The actual conversation is where the marketing handoff to sales takes place. So many companies have so much to say that the tendency is to try to tell a person everything in marketing. So, just stick to the basics, keep your messaging concise, and understand where sales and marketing meet.
Or, you know, don’t. It’s your business, after all.