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Don't Offer Prospects Too Many Choices

Posted 4:55 PM by

Jeff Bowe, blogger and author of INFOCUS Selling, writes about how to captivate attention in one sentence. Jeff discusses developing an effective framing statement, the quintessential elevator pitch, and that you should develop your statement around just one burning issue. Adding any more will simply confuse your contact about what you do.

Most of us have been cornered at one time or another by someone who can offer anything and everything and will spend an hour tellling you about them all. By the end of the conversation you have no clearer idea of what they do and how they can help you. Clear as mud.

Now let's take a peek into the mind of Malcolm Gladwell from his book "Blink."  One of the experiments that Gladwell discusses was carried out by a researcher named Sheena Iyengar. Iyengar setup an experiment that involved selling jam at an upscale grocery store. Sometimes she sold six different types of jam and other times she sold twenty-four. Shoppers were allowed to sample each jam. The natural thinking behind this would lead us to believe that the more choices shoppers had, the more likely they would be to find something that closely matched their tastes. As a result of the experiment, the opposite was true.

Iyengar found that 30% of the shoppers who sampled from the six choices ended up making a purchase and only 3% of shoppers with twenty-four choices made a purchase.  This is a huge discrepancy that certainly proves, in the case of buying jam, that the more choices a shopper has, the less likely they are to buy.

Marketers have heard this type of suggestion for years - "Don't try to be everything to everyone. Focus on just one product or service." Yes, we want people to know about everything we have to offer, but telling them about all of it (especially in our first meetings) will only confuse them and lead them to checkout quickly. 

Many of the world's most successful businesses focused on one product or service, delivered it extremely well, and dominated their market. Often, once they began spinning off brand-extensions of their highly successful core product or service (variations), they experienced declines in sales and market share. Too many choices.

Lately, I've had discussions at my office that ended with looks of confusion and information overload. My first question is "Too much jam?" The world's marketing, advertising, office conversations, dinner talk, and many other forms of communication suffer from the "too many choices" or "too much information" plague.

Let's keep it simple folks.

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Google Web Browser and What it Means for Marketing

Posted 1:28 AM by

Just two days after I post about Microsoft IE8, I get an alert that Google has announced their new web browser, Google Chrome, will be available in beta for download September 2nd. If you're not familiar with the term 'beta', it is basically a testing release before the official '1.0' is added. Read the official notice from Google.

From a consumer perspective, hurray! I do like having a choice..... but not too many. Too many choices and I just get confused and easily cheated by imposters and me-toos (ok, I don't get cheated with software much because I am a developer by trade, but my Grandmother does... and my parents, and my sister, and my cousins.... I hope you get the point). So, now I can use Firefox (the champion of people who dislike Microsoft), or I can use Internet Explorer (the standard built-in browser for Microsoft Windows), or Safari (the Mac OS built-in), or Google Chome (a wonderfully simplistic, yet powerful browser - I'm sure). Of course, there are a couple others, but they barely register as a blip in the browser usage radar.

From a developer/marketer's perspective, I am a little annoyed. Building rich and dynamic cross-browser websites can be a challenge, even though development has improved a lot over the last 5 years. There are still inconsistencies, mostly with Javascript and CSS (style sheets). Developing cross-browser websites is sort of like putting up a billboard that can only be read by people in certain types of cars. If you drive a BMW it appears perfect.  If you drive an '84 Chevy Celebrity (like my first car) the billboard shows a big red X. It's challenging to get the message right for everyone.

If your website is not dynamic, i.e. contains no Javascript, then you will likely be fine. The challenge is with rich sites - those websites that have put a lot of time and effort into improving the user experience. There will most likely be compatibility issues and you will need to fix those as soon as you can.

Google has a huge following. To many people, they are still the underling that develops cutting edge software. Once Chrome is released in beta, you can count on a ton of people trying it out - if not adopting it entirely. This means you need to test your corporate websites, landing pages, micro-sites, and customer applications.

Google is pretty good at releasing quality software, but I have seen several applications in beta that were buggy. If Chrome gets adopted by a large number of consumers, I hope they have worked out most of the kinks.

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