Seth Godin today has a short, simple post about simplicity. In it, he links to a blog with which I'm unfamiliar, but which I'll be reading from now on. In a post from October 21, Johnson explores the idea of complex writing, by using a new Amazon feature, Text Stats. Text Stats are a feature within Amazon's Search Inside the Book feature, and basically analyze an author's writing, and tell you how long the average sentence is, and how many long words the author uses.
The result: simpler is better.
This is huge, and it goes to the very essence of marketing: simplicity. At the heart of any decent marketing program is a Big Idea. The Big Idea has to be immediately understandable, evocative, and above all, simple.
Making things simple is a bitch. It's incredibly hard. Especially as a lawyer, my tendency is to complicate things. I want to leave no stone unturned, and when I'm hot on the trail of an idea, I want to keep following it until it ends. This is lots of fun, and intellectually rewarding, but it's not good marketing.
Here's an example. Yesterday, I was reviewing some law firm web sites, and I came across DLA Piper's. The design of the site is a mess, but the tagline is sheer brilliance:
It doesn't get much simpler than that. But the sentence is absolutely jammed with meaning. It means thoroughness, care, attention to detail, vigilance -- everything you'd want in a law firm. But none of that is said. What's said is simple.
I am constantly yelling at my clients not to overthink things. Now I have data.