Seth Godin really can call it like it is. He had a posting on his blog this week that should be required reading for every marketer, engineer, programmer, developer…well perhaps everybody.
How often does a message miss the mark, and the intended recipient is blamed for their inability to comprehend it or correctly? How often does a product miss the mark, not because it is too complicated to use? It made sense to the engineering team, but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t think like that team.
My wife and I spent 15 minutes this weekend sitting in a driveway trying to figure out how to enter an address into the Nav system on a new vehicle. Whose fault was that, mine or the product designers? Some would argue I should have pulled out the manual and figured it out. I would argue (and I think Seth would probably agree) that the system suffered from really lousy design. I’ve probably used seven or eight different Nav systems before and never had a problem. This one is just overcomplicated by design.
As Seth points out, we have a choice. We can design products that are easy to use, speeches that are interesting to listen to and classes that are fun to learn in. As marketers, we can also create messages that clearly communicate what we are trying to say. We don’t want to get so tied up in the marketing that we lose track of the message.