Welcome To "Less Is More" Marketing

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Maybe you should not be thinking of ways to create and publish more content.

What do you really think consumers want: to have that much more engagement with your brand or to have an easier, simpler and faster experience? While you may think that those two areas are not mutually exclusive, they are actually, intrinsically connected. If you can make the purchase funnel for your consumers have as little friction as possible, they’ll become loyal. With that loyalty comes more engagement (sometimes). It’s not as obvious as you think. Most brands are cramming more and more pieces of content (which is mostly thinly veiled marketing pap) into more and more channels, but they’re spending less and less energy making their own websites and platforms easier and faster for consumers to navigate.

Every second count.

At a recent Art of Marketing in Chicago, I shared the stage with Avinash Kaushik (Google‘s Digital Marketing Evangelist and the author of two bestselling business books: Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0). I don’t remember the exact stat that Kaushik told the audience, but it was something along the lines of this: for every second that a person has to wait for a page to load, the conversion potential drops seven percent. Consumers are unforgiving. They want efficiency and speed… not a cool Facebook page.

Don’t believe me?

Yesterday, MarketingVox ran a news item titled, Users Want Ease of Decision More Than Engagement. It turns out that online shoppers could care less about engaging with their favorite brand (unless they have a complaint or need more information). In fact, they’ll switch (and fast) to a competitive brand that helps them buy faster. "In a study of 7,000 consumers and marketing executives representing 125 consumer brands across 12 industries, CEB identified a significant disconnect between current marketing strategies, including customer engagement, and preferred consumer buying behavior. While most marketers are behaving as if the majority of consumers are open to having a relationship with their brand, CEB found only 20% of consumers report being open to such relationships. As a result, today’s marketing tactics are making customers less loyal and resulting in lost revenue for companies. ‘Our research indicates that the impact of simplifying purchase decisions for consumers is four times stronger than the favored marketing strategy of engagement and is the number one driver of likelihood to buy,’ said Patrick Spenner, managing director at CEB. ‘Too much choice and information causes customers to over-think purchase decisions, making them more likely to change their minds about a product, be less confident in their choice and less likely to repurchase.’"

Don’t let your analytics lie to you.

Take a look at your marketing teams and ask this simple question: who amongst us is responsible for ensuring that our consumers can get in, find what they need and convert as quickly and efficiently as possible? Marketing optimization tends to look at opportunities within the campaign realm (how do we make these display ads flashier so people click on them?), but we can’t forget about how critical it is to ensure that our entire experience is seamless and easy (and yes, it’s an iterative and ongoing process).

It’s a cluttered Web.

There’s no doubt about it. We’ve made a mess of things. Most brands have no cohesive brand narrative because they’re busy updating their websites with more pages, tweeting randomly on Twitter, working a Facebook page, experimenting on Pinterest, loading up videos on YouTube and more. They’re just throwing content at popular channels without looking at the holistic space and opportunity to extend a brand narrative. Even if they’re nailed that down tight, they still struggle with simplicity: making their websites (mobile, Web and touch) move quickly and efficiently. Google’s homepage looks the way it does for a reason (same with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and beyond). They know that the simpler and faster they make their products, the less likelihood there will be for consumers to go elsewhere.

Imagine a world where brands published less but optimized for speed and efficiency more?


  1. True, less is more. Time, being the precious resource it is, does not afford us the luxury to “engage” with brands. Although there are the exceptions to the rule, most people I know, myself included, just don’t have the time.
    Go to the site, gather information without delay, and either make your purchase or not. That is how most connect with a company. Brand engagement works best, as you’ve said, when it is done “quickly and efficiently”.

  2. It’s difficult to disagree with the right amount of marketing is the amount the just gets the prospect to take the action you want. So in that sense we can agree that less is more. We can also agree that there are far too many brands just throwing content at popular channels without looking at the holistic space and opportunity to extend a brand narrative. But where I get off the bus is when we start to claim that every successful site must take a minimalist approach likt Google, Twitter or Facebook in order to create stickiness and keep prospects from going elsewhere.
    There are services – search, posting a 140 character message etc. that must be minimalist to deliver on their brand promises. But there are also plenty of sites that represent brands that require more education than “enter a question and press find” or “type your (short) message and press send”. At Innovative Marketing Resources, our counsel to our clients is to take exactly the shortest time possible to make a satisfying exchange of information with your prospects. To that end you can’t have a successful content strategy without considering your buying process but you also can’t have a successful buying process without a great content strategy.

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