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Selling Simplicity Is Tech’s Most Complex Challenge

Think about the technology that you regularly use for work. Now think about why you use that particular device.

I am willing to bet that you thought about the benefits of a particular device over technical specifications. I am willing to argue that people place a higher value on the benefits of technology than the technology that produces the benefit. At the end of the day, people choose technology that simplifies their daily lives.

So, why do so many tech companies, and specifically their marketing departments, insist that complexity sells solutions? It’s unclear, considering statistics reveal that users are less likely to pay attention to, let alone purchase, devices or solutions described in complex terms.

In a 2018 study by CEB, “improving customer understanding,” and “simplifying the buying journey,” were listed among the top 10 strategic priorities among surveyed marketing leaders.

Simply put, simplicity increases adoption rates, loyalty, and revenue.

It is easy for sales and marketing teams to get caught up in the latest buzz—wielding words like an augmented reality this, IoT that, cloud-based those, wearable these — to emphasize how innovative and smart their tech is.

Let’s face it those of us in marketing departments love to use lingo and jargon, and it’s in our DNA to squeeze every state-of-the-art, new-and-improved and first-to-market feature into our sales and marketing collateral as possible.

Carmine Gallo says in his book The Storytellers, “The greatest waste is an unfulfilled idea that fails to connect with audiences, not because it’s a bad idea, but because it’s not packaged in a way that moves people.”

To encourage an end user to adopt a new technology you need to identify and make the benefits simple to understand and not convolute them with features and technical specifications.

The primary job of a marketer today is to articulate in plain-speak how a system or product makes someone’s life simpler or less complicated. If not, you risk customer dismissal, disappointment, and defection.

Boiled down to its essence, Marketing = encouragement. Tech is easy to over-hype, particularly by those tasked with developing it. However, those who succeed in the art of encouraging technology adoption have learned to master two crucial elements: (1) the humanization of technology and (2) guiding new users along the buyer’s journey.

When Apple started selling the iPod, they didn’t sell a 5GB MP3 player. They sold the ability to carry 1,000 songs in your pocket.

Wicked Smaht

If you are not familiar with the term, it is a Massachusetts adjective used to describe someone with above average intelligence.

Fortunately, there are many marketing and sales organizations that have a lot of really “wicked smart” people that can help to educate the end-user and simplify your messaging. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “wicked smart” people trying to educate the end-user with a lot of technical language, features, and specifications, consequently confusing the consumer and making the buyer’s journey more complicated.

Smart marketers recognize that their product needs to make the user’s overall life better—not complicate it.

Nothing Kills A New Technology Faster Than Low User Adoption. If someone doesn’t understand It, They won’t use It!

Ted Rubin said, “The ability to scale, and create a long-term attachment to enterprise technology, will be all about SIMPLICITY… make it frictionless, and employees will make it part of their daily routine and use it again, and again, and again.”

In closing, I would like organizations that sell technical products to start using simple, straightforward language when marketing their product or service. This is no small challenge, but it should be the goal of every marketer.

Remember technology products are complex instruments of chips and code, and that the most valuable selling points are simple and straightforward.

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