Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Marketing Thought of the Day: Simplicity

Today's marketing thought of the day comes courtesy of Cormac McCarthy's 46+ year old Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter.

This is the same portable manual typewriter on which he has written more than a dozen novels, numerous plays and short stories and countless letters, which he is estimating total over 5 million words spanning nearly 50 years.

It's a good reminder that things don't need to be new, improved, 3G, or even require a power cord (or charger) to be effective.  Sometimes the old classics work because, well, they are classics.  

If you look in the game cabinet in our family room, you'll find many of the same board games that you likely had in your family room 20 - 30 - 40 years ago.  We've actually given away "new and improved" versions of Chutes and Ladders and Candyland that our kids had received as gifts to not only re-buy them, but voluntarily pay at least a 25% premium to get back the "classic" edition of the game.  And this was not out of a sense of nostalgia as much as the desire to have a game board that wasn't overly crowded and cluttered with cartoony nonsense.  (Attention all board game designers:  White space = good!)

What are you doing to foster simplicity in your products?  How are you making sure that v10 of your product adds value over v9, and doesn't just add stuff?  How can you be sure that someone will like your product enough to use it for 46 years, after which they will do their best to replace it with the same exact model?

Photo credit:  The New York Times


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