You’ve probably heard of the KISS principle, right? No, it’s not a school administrator in face paint — that’s the K.I.S.S. principal.
What I’m talking about is the idea that simplicity should be a key goal of good design. The acronym means “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it stupid simple.”
When it comes to great marketing, though, it’s always the first one.
That’s what our guest Michael McCunney, Vice President of Marketing at Revenue Analytics, came on the show to talk about — how marketing is really just about distilling complexity into elegant simplicity.
Keeping it simple doesn’t mean dumbing it down, it means packing a ton of value into concise statements.
I had a great time speaking with Michael and, true to form, he broke down the complexities of the topic in a pretty simple and engaging way.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Why simplicity matters (especially for your value prop)
- Keep it simple and earn the right to someone’s time
- Focus on the customer’s challenges, not your solutions
This post is based on a podcast with Michael McCunney . If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.
Keeping it simple instills confidence
Michael: We recently rebuilt our website and, as everybody knows, that’s a really fun thing. We went live about three weeks ago and we went with a vertical go-to-market and now we’re splitting off traffic. So everyone has that very specific industry experience.
If they go there, it’s basically by accident, right? Most of our content collateral is pushing them to that industry.
So we were at this very large client’s and, prior to our arrival, he was showing the rest of the executive leadership team our site and he said: “I can tell you know my industry. It’s so clear you guys are expert experts in this field.”
Sangram: What do you think was the secret sauce that you created in your marketing?
Michael: For us and for what revenue analytics offers to the market, it’s not a double-click purchase kind of thing for us, right? So, what we’re really trying to establish is credibility and make it very clear that we know what we’re doing. And we’re here to help.
So, the copy is fairly concise. But it’s very, very industry-focused.
I think all of us have that challenge of distilling things. So, my big challenge is: Give us your value proposition in less than 100 characters.
Maybe your value prop is short. Well, try to make it shorter.
How do you earn the right to someone’s time?
Michael: When it comes to the customer journey, we don’t have magical powers to tell everybody to go to the start line and say, “Okay, everybody —go awareness!”
It doesn’t work like that. They self-map to where they are on the stage.
But to me, it is an almost exact continuum of how much time I’m willing to give.
So, those first intro emails, they need to be tight and very to-the-point and succinct, because I don’t know who the hell you are.
As I go through the stages — maybe I’m committing to change or I’m in the vender selection — then I’m willing to spend more time.
And if you invite me to an award ceremony? That’s a several day commitment. Well, you’ve earned that right.
That’s the whole line in between: What is my relationship to you? Have I earned the right to your time?
Why focus on customer challenges instead of your solutions?
Michael: Customer centricity was hot like a year ago, right? Hopefully, most of us are now on board.
I stole this from someone, or maybe it was the B2B Marketing Change Conference… Anyway, they put up the question “why do we talk about our solutions?” and I thought, man, that’s so right.
Our execution is a bit different, though. We went through and we tried to reverse engineer from our solutions what someone would casually say in a conversational tone around the water cooler about their problem.
Instead of having a ‘solutions’ page, we have a ‘my challenges.’ And for my challenges, we have distilled it down into three or four different concise sentences.
From there, it pushes you over to what in honestly is our solutions page, but it’s then mapped to “Hey, we hear you, this is your problem.”
And then, a quick restatement of how painful it is and into “Well, don’t worry about that, we can help you solve that.”