K.I.S.S. – Some Examples

In his recent post, Dick highlights the practice of Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.) as one of 5 key Marketing rules.  I fully agree both logically and based on experience.  Some examples:

Like many teenagers growing up in Pennsylvania, I played football.  I wasn’t very good, but the team was, going 27-2-1 during my three high school years.  As we weren’t the biggest team, our Coach used the Delaware Winged-T offense, which stresses mis-direction and angle blocking…and effectively neutralizes size differences.

Our playbook consisted of about 16 plays, 8 to the right, and 8 to the left.  This offense was taught in the middle school, so by the time players reached the high school they had 2-3 years of experience.  We never passed.

What we did do is practice these 8 plays over and over.  Everyone on the team knew what every team-mate was supposed to do on each play.  If he wanted, the Coach could swap a tackle for a running back, and both players would know what they had to do on each play.  Even today I can remember the blocking schemes.

Rival teams and Coaches knew our offense.  They saw it every year.  Why did we win?  One reason was that they play calling was simple.  Everyone knew what they were supposed to do.  And, we executed well.

Years later, I was involved with the roll-over of a first generation product, with a faster, more efficient, next generation product.  The market was built around standards, so discussions with buyers around performance quickly became esoteric and confusing…how can you be better if the transmission is governed by a standard was often the starting point of a conversation.  One advantage we did have was that our product did not have a fan while the competition did.  By highlighting and emphasizing this point, which was at the time the number one failure mode in equipment, we were able to maintain and grow our industry leading market share.

Lessons learned from the two experiences:

  • Simple elements, executed well, leads to wins
  • Sometimes the most obvious (size, performance) is not the key in driving for success (mis-direction? a fan?)
  • You have to adopt your strategy to what you have…personnel or product

So, I fully agree with Dick.  Keep It Simple Stupid.  Find out what the buyer wants and fill that need with your product and service, clearly and simply communicated to everyone, both internally and externally.

Can everyone on your team articulate the number 1 reason why you are different and successful?  How clearly have you communicated this to your customers?

RHM 3/18/2010

1 comment to K.I.S.S. – Some Examples

  • Dick-

    I’m an Art Director and have been for quite a while. Not only should one know what message they should communicate, but how they should communicate the message. I was taught early in my career the best way to communicate one’s message to their audience, no matter what one is marketing, is to keep the message and look simple. It may be an old practice, but I see a lot of Art Directors and Designers complicate the message with over art direction and design. Even if one’s message is simple, don’t confuse your audience with over design which can lead to mis-direction and confusion. A badly designed communication piece can only hurt the product or service and hurt the brand of the company.

    I may be old school, but this discipline has worked for me with great success. But everyone should remember, it all starts with the right message and the K.I.S.S. principle.

    P. Elmer
    Art Director

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