Marketing in Over-Abundance & Buying Eggs
“The best marketing trick is transparency (the exact opposite of a trick)”
— Jack Butcher
Everyday there is a new product, a new service, and a new solution to solve a new problem that arose from the other new solution that solved that one old problem, but created one new problem. So then, someone was inspired to create a new solution for that new problem and along the way, they too created a new problem and thus, the cycle repeateth. #FirstWorldProblems
Sounds like insanity, doesn’t it? It’s likely that you too run on the same hamster-wheel that each of us validate with our choices, our dollars, our highly competed for eyeballs, and our engagement. And while it’s a luxury to have so many options to choose from, it has it’s challenges too. In an environment of sheer abundance, over-abundance, clarity is the highest form of currency, and it’s in short supply, friends. That is why transparency is such a hot commodity. It’s so hot, people don’t even know that’s what they’re really on the market for.
Don’t believe me? Say you are out food shopping and decide you need to pick up some eggs. Nothing of particular luxury, kind, size, price. Just a simple dozen. Theres just one problem: ‘Just a simple dozen’ doesn’t exist in 21st century marketing vernacular. On the contrary, there is no such thing as a simple dozen, but don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative options:
- standard white eggs
- standard brown eggs
- pasture-raised eggs
- cage-free eggs
- free-range eggs
- non-gmo eggs
- vegetarian-fed eggs
- omega-3 enriched eggs
- Grade AA
- Grade A
I decided to stop at 10 not because I was running out of options, but because it’s a little past overwhelming. We started out wanted a simple dozen and now we are presented with ten options that all look the same, but use different labels to communicate different meanings that aren’t clear, are they? It’s foolish to assume every shopper knows what each of these labels mean especially shoppers who grew up with just two options: white or brown. And with no manual? Come on.
Marketing today is like walking through a hot, sticky street market in Bangkok where there is an outrageous amount of people packed in between vendor aisles like sardines moving at a glacial pace towards the exit point. You’re getting absolutely annihilated with pushy vendor jargon, products are being shoved in your face and you become so dizzy you forgot what you needed in the first place. You begin to think ‘why did I leave the house again?’ To put it nicely, it’s not an ideal situation for anyone let alone a consumer looking to make a purchase.
So how do marketers today differentiate themselves and cut through the noise? Let’s begin by aiming to achieve the opposite of a dizzy effect. Sounds reasonable, yea? Clear headed is what we are going for. Seems like low hanging fruit, but how do you market a product and ensure that your audience will have a clear head? You keep it simple. If you try to come up with a complex response to the above question, you’re the problem.
Simplicity, although widely discussed and unfortunately becoming a contorted buzzword, is extremely undervalued today. Too often, people are insecure about their product or project or service. So what do they do? They overcompensate with big, fluffy words that people don’t actual use in their day to day conversations. I will say it again, if someone tells you that they do, they’re the problem.
To hold a brand in your hands is a big responsibility and when it comes to controlling the narrative, there are way too many sales fingerprints on it. In fact, you can tell by the smears that they held on fear dear life. And they won. See below for evidence:
‘For your nutritious diet’
….still talking about eggs here. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a lot of different ways to say ‘our eggs aren’t bad for you’. Obviously, marketers need to find a point of differentiation and that can be quite difficult in an industry that is completely oversaturated, but the ones who do it well are the ones that keep it simple and mean it. What I mean by that is when a new health trend comes along, and God knows it will, they don’t change their brand DNA to stay trendy. They stick to their core values because those values are made up of elasticity that ensures longevity and loyalty.
We often see too much of one person in brand messaging –– so much so that the actual intent of the message gets completely lost along the way. The original goal is to say ‘our eggs are good for you’. But then people who are spending too much time looking to their right at the competition on the shelves begin to weigh in and make emotional projections that defile the original intent. Sooner than later, you end up with an egg carton on the shelf that reads ‘Honest food, Ethical food, Happy hens, Best eggs, Land’s best, For your nutritious diet, All natural, Humanely raised, Farm fresh, Premium fresh, AND good for you.’
It’s funny because everyone claims they like the idea of simplicity or that is what they are going for, but when it comes time to make a decision, given the option between the simple, direct message or the loud message full of grandiose adjectives and colors –– they choose the loud content every time thinking it will make them stand out in a room full of people dressed the same as one another. I hope you can see the humor in this, too.
Whether or not you claim to love simplicity, it tends to take a backseat when it comes to marketing decisions and copywriting these days which makes it very difficult to build trust and strong relationships overtime. In fact, rather than building loyalty, many customer and brand relationships today are built on smoke and mirrors –– on sand, rather than stone.
You see marketing today is too fanciful. Brands operate in the wind and forget that their customers are people and people are simple. Try as you may, that won’t change. Just the same as history will continue to repeat itself.
So, how do you stand out in a marketplace that is over-abundant. You keep it simple. Use simple words. Use simple imagery. Don’t break your back over a marketing approach that is not sustainable especially in an industry that’s only as sexy as it’s latest health craze. And most importantly, don’t try to be something that you’re not.
If you truly have a really great product created to truly do great things and truly solve a problem without creating a new one for the general good of tomorrow, that’s your secret sauce. That’s rare. Run with it and run forward, don’t slow down for a temporary trend or to see just how far off your competition is. Keep it simple, stay steadfast on your mission to do good business.