Ask why for simple marketing strategies

Remember Andy Rooney? His segments on 60 Minutes always brought a smile to my face. They usually started with “Ever wonder why . . .?” Most of his musings were humorous satires. He always had the last word. His segment appeared at the end of the program. Sometimes you can gain insight from unexpected places when you’re trying to develop simple marketing strategies.

This inventive orator died a month after his final “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” broadcast. He was 92. This was a man who relished his job.

Why not take a chapter from his relatable and rich musings to incorporate in your communications? The best simple marketing strategies ensure everyone’s having fun with the message.

In that spirit, here are some things to ponder:

Good design should make things easy to use

The more I see bad design, the sadder I get. Too often, someone far removed from the customer chooses form over function. That’s not a good plan if your goal is to help customers use what you offer. This isn’t something new.

Decades ago, I used to shake my head at some of the pro bono work developed through the Ad Council in Rochester. Too often these were unnecessarily expensive solutions designed to win peer recognition and awards. They didn’t help the client one whit with a practical answer to their problems. Instead, they required vast out-of-pocket expenditures on printing for fancy brochures and other material that sent the wrong message.

Ever notice that credit card numbers are now the same color as the background?

I sure have. Why would someone come up with a design that makes it almost impossible to see the numbers? Even more mind-boggling is that just about every company followed suit. Not that long ago, credit cards had a light background with dark type, or visa versa. It was easy to read. Now you have to tip the card and make a guess. Why is that?

simple marketing strategies include ensuring credit card numbers can be read
Do you get frustrated trying to read the numbers on our credit card? Wouldn’t a user-friendly solution make more sense?

Remember when devices simply slid over a card to capture an imprint? Then you didn’t need to read them. That was before the internet, of course. Now that we need to see the numbers, we can’t.

The next time you think it’s cute to create a cluttered design or get clever just for the sake of seeming smart, don’t. If your customers can’t easily do what they’re supposed to do with your product or service, they’ll likely go elsewhere. Perhaps the next big thing will be a retro credit card design you can actually read.

Use your wares in simple marketing strategies

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the value of what you’re selling is to use it as an example in all you do. That includes promotional material, invoices, online communications, and any other way you’re putting yourself in front of prospects and clients.

Why is it so hard to find a phone number on a phone bill?

You’d think the people who are selling you phone service would encourage you to use it. Well, they do, unless you’re trying to contact them. On the rare bill that does include a phone number, it’s like solving a puzzle to find the hidden clue.

I remember my first cell phone bill. There wasn’t a contact phone number to be found anywhere on it. I was shocked. Clearly, this was intentional. This policy continues decades later. Does this seem strange to you? It should. They’re not using what they’re selling.

You’re not a conglomerate that can afford to be coy, or rude. For goodness sake, if you’re selling website related services, include your website address on your material. If you offer quick and easy access to your business, give people convenient ways to contact you. Just because your preference is Facebook Messenger, doesn’t mean your prospects or clients will go through the trouble of reaching you that way.

Then respond. It’s amazing to me how many don’t bother to return emails or phone calls. That’s no way to run a business. It seems simply answering prospects’ queries can set you far above the rest these days. It’s sad this is an opportunity to stand out, but it’s so easy. Why not do it?

Encourage influencers to accompany shoppers 

Just because you don’t think someone (or something) is going to be ponying up the money for a purchase doesn’t mean they’re not a valuable visitor. You’ll lose sales by assuming who the buyer is. The same holds true for conclusions they’re making this decision alone. Many a car salesman has learned this lesson the hard way by ignoring “the woman.”

Have you ever wondered why pet stores welcome animal companions?

This might be one of the most brilliant simple marketing strategies developed in recent years. At a time when pets were mostly forbidden from shopping establishments, pet stores started welcoming your four-legged companion into their shops. Think about this for a minute.

How much more do you think you’ll buy when a happy grin and a wagging tail is influencing your purchases?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, people are spending almost $100 billion annually on pet products and services in the US alone. People truly love their pets. When they participate in the buying decision, more is spent.

Instead of trying to make all your messages, outreach, and conversations directed to who think will be buying what you sell, consider what might be influencing that decision. Then accommodate those people (or creatures) in your shopping experience. Making an influencer feel welcome and appreciated can do more to close a sale than directing your attention to the buyer.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Andy Rooney’s whining voice and witty segments, here’s a tribute video 60 minutes did the year he died:

Andy Rooney tribute

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