My new book got a nice review in the Miami Herald the other day, and I am proud of that. But I am even happier about what it said: “I also liked how Moran, an engineer and former IBM product manager, simplifies things to the point where the least Web-savvy among us can readily comprehend most of his ideas, though more experienced readers will not feel slighted or condescended to, either.” I had to work hard to be that clear. You should, too.
Clarity has not traditionally been a quality marketing copy is known for. Marketers are regarded in popular circles as flim-flam artists wearing better suits. Lawyers may have invented “fine print” but marketers have fallen in love with it. It’s marketers that make an offer in a loud voice and then have the announcer talk at breakneck speed in a stacatto whisper for the last ten seconds of the radio commercial.
But your customers aren’t paying attention to that kind of marketing anymore.
Marketers are best advised to come clean—to embrace clarity in their messages. Your customers are becoming just as savvy about marketing as you are—especially your Internet customers. They’re well-educated and they want to buy from people whom they trust and whose values they share.
They might not understand what the breathless announcer is chanting at the end of your ad, and they don’t necessarily know what the fine print means about what happens if they break the contract, but they know this: They don’t trust you.
Why is Verizon suddenly coming out in favor of open phones? Because the pressure is growing, from consumers, from the government, and from Google. Verizon is being smart—they are aiming for more clarity while their competitors are sticking with the old doubletalk.
If Verizon can take steps toward clarity in the byzantine cellular phone business, you can do it in your business. More and more, your customers are expecting your offers to be clear and understandable. If you don’t do it, you are just waiting for your competitors to do it. Think they are busy at Sprint and AT&T today?