Thursday August 16, 2012

Kill the Clutter

Another way to think about the theme of this blog - using the fundamentals of marketing to solve seemingly complicated problems - is the idea of getting rid of marketing clutter.

Clutter, in this context, could be a number of things that are sidetracking or diluting the execution of a sound marketing strategy. For example, in an earlier post we looked at how trying to be cutting edge and impressive (clutter) got in the way of listening to the customer and prioritizing results (a sound marketing strategy). By simplifying and getting back to the basics, we are, in effect, aiming to kill the clutter.

After considering this idea for a moment, it occurred to me that killing clutter is really a regular part of what we help clients with all the time - not just at the higher strategy level, but also on a more micro level. When assessing the pieces within a broader marketing strategy, it is often useful to look for ways that clutter could be eliminated at each step.

  • Positioning and Branding: In determining what position in the market should guide your brand, recognizing which segments of the market you should not be targeting (the clutter) is just as important as identifying your opportunities. When businesses cast too wide of a net and try to appeal to segments outside of their target market, they typically get lost in the crowd and end up appealing to nobody.
  • Design: One surefire way to screw up a website, logo, or advertisement is to overload it with too many design elements. An effective design should work to make the brand recognizable and - ideally - memorable; the clutter of busy design tends to have the opposite effect.
  • Messaging: I can't count the number of times I've come across a business' homepage or landing page only to find paragraphs and paragraphs of text covering the minutia of what they do, how they do it, the generic principals they follow, the dry history of the company, and so on. In looking for messaging clutter that can be eliminated, we're also determining the most important themes we want to get across - and the most concise way to do it.

These are just a few examples of areas in which a little clutter killing can help tighten up and focus areas of a marketing strategy. What clutter can you find in your own marketing operation? What might be gained by getting rid of it?  

Charlie Nadler
Simple Machines Marketing

Written by Charlie Nadler | Tags: marketing

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