Archive for March, 2009

More choices do not make happier customers

Despite some 87,000 drink combinations offered by Starbucks, more and more studies are showing that a wealth of options does not lead to happier customers. Most marketers, however, believe that more options mean we’re more likely to find the perfect product.

“Having to make too many decisions can leave people tired, mentally drained and more dissatisfied with their purchases,” a recent L.A. Times story says. “It also leads people to make poorer choices — sometimes at a time when the choice really matters.”

When faced with a complexity of decisions, people naturally look for ways to over-simplify the choosing process. And even when we choose well, we often can be less satisfied knowing that perhaps somewhere out there was something better.

In fact, studies show that you can overwhelm consumers with “decision fatigue” to the point where they make a default choice, or none at all. It’s something to keep in mind when marketing products that are only slightly different than the competition, or from the other choices in your client’s product line.

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Time to pre-package your solutions?

Most of us prefer to offer our clients custom solutions, and emphasize our unique design and brand-development processes that add value to the final result. But challenging economic times are prompting new approaches.

Scott Keawekane of Creative Squeeze this week emailed a unique offer — his first advertising campaign in 6 years — that bundled various design and print “marketing kits” with names and prices assigned to each.

The decision, Scott says, was driven by current circumstances.

“First, it allows us to methodically prepare solutions that will inspire potential clients to begin having a vision beyond ‘How much do you charge for a logo?’ — hopefully giving them a few ‘I didn’t think about that before’ and/or ‘Oh, I  could use some of those’ moments.” he says. “Second, cost has become the numero uno factor for decision-makers over the past several months and will continue to be for some time.”

“Finally,” Scott says, ” our country is inundated with ambiguity right now, so rather than adding to it, we’ve eliminated the guesswork and laid it all out there … clear and simple.”

Responses already are coming in, with no “unsubscribe” clicks and every single recipient at least opening the email offer. 

“I had some interesting inquiries this morning,” Scott says, “so I know it’s generating interest.”

Worth a thousand words

ash-1There’s a good reason why sayings become cliches. It’s because they’re true. A picture — an engaging photo, a simple diagram, a compelling illustration — is indeed worth a thousand words, especially when writing or talking about it loses its effectiveness from overuse or familiarity.

We can try, for example, to tell potential patients through a marketing brochure that Dr. Ashraf Sami (above) is a great dentist, caring deeply for his patients, experienced in his profession, and confident in his skills. But we hear those written claims all the time about people in all walks of life.

So when we can call upon Bill Thompson of Thompson Photography to convey that much and more with a skillfully executed image, the result has much more impact.

That’s something to keep in mind when we struggle for the right words to get our message across.


Robert Hyndman

can be reached at his Laguna Beach studio, 949.497.3179, or by using the form on the Contact Me page.
March 2009
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