Too often in marketing (and business and life for that matter) we try to do too many things. More channels. More tactics. More audiences. More products. More messages. More benefits. More more more.
Unfortunately, as we add, we often do more harm than good.
- Landing pages with too many elements/calls-to-action get less engagement.
- Too many services, products, offers means we fail to get traction with any
- To many messages, claims, promises means nothing is remembered
- Too many markets, potential buyers, personas means we can’t connect with any
The Rule of Subtraction
The Rule of Subtraction says that rather than add, when you’re trying to improve results, think about what you can subtract.
In today’s age where we’re all stretched too thin, this is often far more realistic (and impactful).
- What service or product is driving most of your sales? Focus on selling that.
- What messages are driving most of our responses? Focus on getting that one message remembered.
- What channels are responsible for most of your leads/sales? Double down rather than expand.
- What activities are giving you the most headache? Cut them out.
Da Vinci said this best. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
An Example of Success
A great example of The Rule of Subtraction in action is Apple Computer. When Jobs took back his position as CEO as the company was headed down the tubes, the first thing he did was cut.
Cut products, cut markets – subtract. Focus. We all know how that story turned out.
So the next time we think about what to add, or what else we can do, perhaps instead the best thing to do is think about where we can subtract, focus, and double down on what matters most.