Minimalist Marketing

quietudeI recently stumbled upon Leo Babauta’s Mnmlist blog, a blog about minimalism and simplifying your life. It has been a profound find, as I am in the process of trying to simplify things in my cluttered life (and I simply LOVE the blog’s design).

But as I was spending time thinking about these things in the context of my life, I got to wondering if there is anything to applying the same concepts to our marketing efforts. Just as it seems to be the case with my crazy life, I oftentimes wonder if most entrepreneurs have a marketing program that is far too complex.

So, here are some minimalist ideas to think about and some important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is your message too complicated? Make it easy for people to remember why you are special.
  2. Is your website too cluttered? When people visit your website, make it easy to learn what you do and easier to contact you to do it.
  3. Is your strategy on the social web too complex? Your simple online mission is to engage and serve others. That’s it.
  4. Is your target audience too scatter shot? Be laser focused on a niche. Don’t try to help everybody.
  5. Are you focused on simple storytelling? Do NOT try to communicate one thousand different ideas/messages/concepts/fixes…
  6. Can your prospects look at your marketing collateral and easily understand the call to action?
  7. Is your diet of new learning focused on the things you need to improve? Don’t read thought leadership on shiny objects (as Seth says) that don’t really advance the goal.
  8. Do you have BOATLOADS of pointless busywork? Instead, be laser focused on the important work.
  9. Do you experiment with all kinds of new tactical options on a whim? Instead, execute only on new ideas that fall into the scope of your crystal clear marketing plan.
  10. Wait, do you even have a marketing plan? Oftentimes, the lack of a road map leads to confusion, complexity and disarray.
  11. Are you worried about too many details? Such as inventory, blogging, twitter, facebook, sales, promotions, employees, sick days, cubicles, vacations, graphic design, vendors, invoices, accounts receivable, etc? Instead, focus only on the customer. All the rest will fall into place…

So, minimalist marketing isn’t about cutting back on your marketing, or reducing your marketing budget, or even cutting the time spent on marketing. What I am talking about here is simplifying things so that your program is uncluttered – and can do it’s job.

What do you think? Agree or disagree with this concept? Got anything to add or subtract? Let me know if you have additional ideas to simplify your marketing…

[photo by marmota]

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  • Dave

    Great thoughts! So many times we get so bogged down with the plan we never actually get to work. We don’t focus on understanding and connecting with our target audience. Great stuff I will definitely share your work with others. Thanks.

  • Adam King

    I saw Leo put this out on Twitter. Great article. I get caught up in the busy and that really clouds the necessary. Laser beam focus and laser beam execution are truly key.

    As one who also deals in the minimal, I appreciate this article very much.

  • Stormbringer

    Although I cannot embrace all of what Leo writes, I have learned some important things in a short time. Obviously you have learned, as well. Companies make things far too complicated, and need to get back to the basics in manners like you stated.

    I work for a Fortune 100 company. It is big, awkward, impersonal and cumbersome — and allegedly in the “people” business. When companies lose sight of what they are really supposed to be about, they get complicated and eventually collapse under their own weight like a Mahler symphony. The company I work for emphasizes document security, but the Internet is absolutely essential, and we are forced to use Internet Explorer 6, which is so flawed, Microsoft itself sends messages, “Hey, you know that we have two more advanced versions to choose from? They’re much more secure, you see.”

    This company, and others, have all the bells and whistles on their sites for glitz and glamor. The problem with that is how they lose touch with people. Not everyone has the latest browser, the highest speed Internet connection, a new computer, all of the plug-ins, etc. No, it has to be less complicated to focus on the message and not distract, and not to lose readers or customers because their software does not please the company.

    This is a long way of giving you an enthusiastic +1.

  • Todd Schnick

    Dave – so grateful for the read. Understanding and connecting with target audience… Does it get any simpler than that?

  • Todd Schnick

    Thanks Adam, I appreciate the kind words. “Caught up in the busy and that really clouds the necessary.” Really like that line…

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  • Todd Youngblood

    Got me right between the eyes on this one. Seems like I need to keep re-learning the KISS thing over and over. Thanks for the reminder, the specific points to ponder and the inspiration for a post of my own. (Let me know what you think of it!)

  • Jennifer

    Wow! Very, very insightful read. Dave, love your comment about getting too caught up in “the plan”. Execution is much simpler.

  • Todd Schnick

    Storm – why do you think this is so? Is it just the corporate culture? Do you think an organization like a Fortune 100 company can be minimalist? (Thanks for reading, btw!)

  • Todd Schnick

    Yo Todd. Thanks, as always, for reading. And yeah, I too need to be reminded of KISS. And finding Leo’s blogs have given me fresh ways to think about these things. And I love your post too, btw…

  • Todd Schnick

    Jennifer – thanks for coming by. Have you read Seth’s Linchpin? He talks about the need to focus on “shipping.” We get so bogged down on the clutter, that we don’t ever really execute.

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  • Havana

    Definitely needed to read this. :) Thanks so much.

  • Todd Schnick

    Good. I am glad you enjoyed it. I am delving deep into this concept of minimalism. My life is too complex, and needs simplifying. Be sure to check out Leo’s blog… And as always, thanks for reading!

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  • John Gurnick

    I really like your post. These days the “back to basics” approach is really making sense. One item I would add to you list is how does your message look on a mobile device? I have found constructing a marketing message keeping this in mind forces me to streamline the content considerably.

    John Gurnick