If you were a soldier in the Second World War, you’d likely know what a “blivet” is. To put it politely, it’s “ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag.”
Want to see a blivet? Look at 90% of all ads, especially print ads, especially funeral ads. They’re blivets made of ink. Every possible marketing message is jammed into a small bordered space, each message usually preceded by a bullet. I guess the idea is that if any one message isn’t enough to get the audience salivating, then perhaps another message will do the job; and if that’s not the one, here are a few more, just in case you missed something. It’s a big noisy party of messages, all milling around aimlessly, each awaiting the right fit for the right customer.
The problem with this strategy is that our poor eyes can’t take all of it in, let alone our attention-deficit-disordered minds.
As human beings, we like things simple. A car can be fast, or sexy, or provide great fuel economy, or make a statement about lifestyle, or transport a family of six – but for marketing purposes, it just can’t be all these things at once. Simplicity is one of the Six Qualities necessary for effective marketing communication – which includes Uniqueness, Simplicity, Clarity, Surprise, Story and Experience – but it’s one of the least practiced. As a result, we get blivet marketing everywhere.
A funeral home, for instance, can be established since 1927, serve all faiths, be family-owned, offer cremation options, have the most caring staff, provide affordable cost solutions, be open every day of the week, and be near the cemetery. And, no joke, I’ve seen ads and commercials for funeral establishments that try to cram all that into one space. But if it genuinely wants to be effective in its marketing, the right solution is to limit the story to one or at most two strong messages while letting all the others slide away. You just can’t be all things to all people, much as you’d like to be.
And here’s where the old 80-20 Rule applies (being 80% of your business will come from only 20% of the market). When you try to toss in a bunch more bullet points in hopes of capturing another 10%, you’ll actually lose some of your precious 20% for lack of focus. Better to be known for one thing than too many, presuming that one thing is something your competition can’t also say, that sets your business apart as extraordinary (see my last blog about Uniqueness).
Say one powerful thing in a powerful way. And then say it over and over again, in as many marketing venues as your budget will allow. You’ll be amazed how much more effective that will be.
The K-I-S-S adage is truer than ever when it applies to marketing. Keep it simple.
Dan Katz is president, creative director of LA ads. To discuss your thoughts with Dan on this blog or any marketing matters, email via this link, or visit www.LAadsMarketing.com. You can also connect with Dan on LinkedIn. See agency work via this link.