Simple Statements

dr-johnDr. John, the King of New Orleans, sings a song that advises other musicians to “Keep That Music Simple.”

The same concept applies to market messages.

Rushing to tell every audience everything about your product leads to muddled messages. Your headline and opening blurbs have a 15 second shelf life before a reader’s attention wanders. Instantly connecting their motivations to your value proposition requires keeping the message simple.

Oracle has a long history of being blunt in their marketing. Their magazine ads were once the most direct in the business, targeting techies and laying out Oracle’s performance superiority. Prospects instantly understood the value offered by Oracle and thus acquired a bias for the product. Instant believability based on instant cognition.

For contrast sake, let us look at IBM’s top-line message for their DB2 database. It reads “DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows is optimized to deliver industry-leading performance across multiple workloads, while lowering administration, storage, development, and server costs.” Aside from run-on sentences being unreadable, it says nothing aside from common claims made by all competitors. No differentiation, no proof, nothing which a buyer might instantly believe.

Tech web sites are filled with even worse messaging. One example of an opening subheadline I recently saw was “ZZZ is both our company and our technology. Our employees, processes, and tools help people solve a range of business intelligence problems to unlock the potential of their organizations.” Simplicity was lost thanks to saying nothing that a customer needs to know, convoluting many non-product elements and omitting anything that resembled a value proposition.

My dictionary defines message as “a communication containing some information, news, advice, or the like.” Pretty simple, no? Do your messages contain essential elements stated simply? Keep that music and those messages simple.


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