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Why simple ideas often work best

Why simple ideas often work best

A recent tweet from actor and writer Paul Scheer (The League and Human Giant) picked up on a clever piece of marketing by a retail store in America. This simple but ingenious idea swapped around the title and a famous catchphrase from the film on the cover of its DVD. So for example, Jaws was moved to the lower half of the front cover, while “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” replaced it at the top.


It’s a small yet significant change that reminds us that it is usually the simple ideas that work best. Communication is everything in marketing and speaking the same language as your customers will ensure they clearly understand and connect with what it is you are trying to say. If you can translate your message without overcomplicating it, your product or service will become memorable and remain with consumers for a longer period of time.

The importance of simple marketing ideas

One of the riskiest aspects of bringing anything to market is the trial or test stage. Trying something out in the real world is the acid test of any product, regardless of how much has gone into the research. Simple concepts work better because you can test something in the short term. And if it is an improvement on something that is already selling well on the market you know the demand is already there, so there is less risk involved.

Genuine, brand new ideas are rare, which usually means your idea will have stiff competition already on the market. This means the window of opportunity available to engage with customers is extremely small. A complicated idea requires more time and money to educate customers. It runs a higher risk of losing the interest of consumers who struggle  to understand, which is much more risky and costly to any business. Boiling it down the essentials, however, makes it easier to sell the idea and convince people to follow your call to action.

It’s a reason why logos have become so important over the past 30-40 years. They tell the consumer as much as possible with one simple image and inspire loyalty as a result. Simplicity in marketing is also becoming increasingly important due to the reliance on social media. Attention spans are short, as is the space to present your marketing, so it has to be straight to the point to avoid being ignored amongst the mass of information being consumed by people every day. Meme and GIF culture mean there is more pressure than ever to get your message across in the smallest of windows while maximising impact and returns.  

We should also add that simplicity doesn’t work for everyone and everything. There is no single rule that can be applied to every product or service. If you know your audience will engage with a more complex method of marketing without affecting sales, then stick with what works best for you.

If you’d like to find out more about anything in this article please contact us.

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