Simple Marketing Messages Succeed and Resonate

Simple Marketing Messages Succeed

Simple marketing messages succeed and resonate with people. Many of us know the acronym KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Did you know the phrase originated in the US Navy in 1960?

That acronym applies to marketing messages too. That’s why my business partner George Stenitzer and I frequently write about marketing messages: Many people make their marketing messages more complex than they need to be.

Why? Because we are often so caught up inside our own organizations, we forget that our target audience doesn’t speak the same way do.

The simpler the message, the more likely it is to resonate

In every Message Map session I conduct, I reinforce that the simpler we can make our messages, the more likely they are to resonate with our audience.

Simple Marketing Messages Succeed
Co-create simple marketing messages that will resonate with your audience.

I recently worked with the Vesta Healthcare leadership team on their messaging. We started with a Message Map for the company as a whole. Then, using that Message Map as our starting point, we tailored the Message Map for each target audience: health plans, home care agencies, patients, and caregivers.

We started with patients. Vesta works with elderly people of all ethnicities, many of whom have chronic diseases. We found ourselves simplifying the language to ensure that people of all ages and education levels could understand it.

For example, where the overall company Message Map said, “Notify parties of events and condition changes,” we changed it in the Map for caregivers and patients to say, “Ensure everyone involved in your care has the information they need.”

As we continued through the exercise, everyone in the room began to realize that we should use the simpler Message Map for all audiences, even health plans and home health agencies. I could see the light bulbs going on in people’s minds.

Simple Marketing Messages Resonate with people

Simpler marketing messages get through to your audience faster. Because the simpler marketing messages were easier to understand and painted a picture in everyone’s minds, they made the message more concrete and less abstract. As a next step, we are working with Vesta to infuse the simpler messaging into their marketing materials and website.

Simple marketing messages are more concrete

Why is it important to be more concrete? Because people can’t picture abstract words, according to cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Simon. So, if you’re a complex technology company, you may need to use some abstract words, but Dr. Simon recommends balancing them with concrete words.

Here’s an example. A former mentor of mine once worked with a company that had to issue a media statement about an issue in their factory. The statement they initially wrote said, “The plant experienced an uncontained fragmentation.”

My mentor advised them against using such a complicated, abstract phrase. He believed people would not know what it meant and would feel the company was hiding something. He won the argument and got the sentence changed to, “We had an explosion in the plant.”

Think about that. It’s difficult to picture “uncontained fragmentation,” but we can easily picture an explosion.

My mentor’s advice was well-received. The company received praise for being upfront and honest with the community about what happened.

When you create your strategic message, remember that simpler marketing messages are more likely to resonate with your audience.

For assistance with messaging, marketing, and other communications needs, email me at