AMONG THE LESSONS:
Simplicity Begets Interest and Appreciation
• The world is cluttered and most people are so deluged with information from vendors eager to pitch
their benefits that austere communication can cut
through the noise. Chip away at your sales language
like Michelangelo facing a marble block, leaving
only the well-formed, attention-grabbing core.
• Keep it simple on your website and your marketing
materials. (Compare www.sethgodin.com to
www.jkrowling.com/en_US/. Seriously, when you
need an overlay to explain how to use your website,
isn’t that a sign something’s wrong?)
• Keep your value proposition simple. Ideally, you can
express your message in seven or fewer words.
Brophy’s sold fine men’s shoes. Target and offering
captured in three words. How close can you get?
• Make your deliverables simple and clear. Marketing
doesn’t end once you convert a prospect into a client.
Simple and magnetic are the watchwords for your
results presentations too.
People Love a Story
• Communicate your best advantages with a story.
Brophy didn’t simply state that his high-price shoes
would last a long time, he spun a tale from two, well-worn relics.
• Keep the story simple. You’re not trying to pen the
great American novel or win a Pulitzer prize. The
shoe-store display communicated an entire story
with a handful of words and two props.
• The story has to have a clear point—your point.
People will forget the message and remember the
story, therefore, you need the story and the message
to be inextricably linked.
• Use vivid imagery. Ratty shoes and old radio.
• Leverage the element of surprise. Mundane and
familiar are forgettable. Incorporate the unexpected
to make your message memorable.
Consulting January 2013
Buyers Respond to Proof
• Purchasers are naturally skeptical and distrustful.
Evidence, such as a 50 year-old pair of shoes that is
still being worn or your own case studies and testimonials, counteracts these negative views.
• When a prospect encounters proof of your value
proposition, he mentally shifts from, “Is that true?” to
the questions you want to hear: “Why?” and “How?”
• Demonstrating that someone else has tried your
offering and succeeded is worth its weight in gold.
No one wants to be first into the pool. (Piling on the
proof can amplify your effectiveness because no one
wants to be last into the pool either.)
If the same traffic repeatedly receives your
message, the narrative must change to add
• Even great marketing and messaging must be
updated from time to time unless you are constantly
approaching new audiences. The Planet of the Apes’
Statue of Liberty scene may have compelled you to
watch the movie a second time, but instead of a third
viewing you sought the surprises in store in Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
• Return to great messages and recycle them. Brophy
set up the shoe-and-radio display about once a year,
always with great results. So consider: What meaningful, memorable messages can you bring back and
Almost no upscale men’s shoe stores remain in
Princeton or anywhere else; however, the lessons from
Brophy’s window display still endure. You may be reluctant to strip down your marketing to its bare essentials out of fear that will leave almost nothing for
potential clients to see. But that’s the point: when
there’s almost nothing to see, prospects will love what
you show them.
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