Marketing tip #26: Be brave enough not to tell the whole story

When you are creating content — be it marketing copy for a brochure, an e-book, a radio script or even leaving a sales call voicemail — you need to know when to shut up.  We're so eager to tell the customers/prospects all about our widget, service or knowledge — we try to cram it all into one message.

Which is satisfying to us, but miserable for the audience.  Like a firehose — we've flooded them with facts, features and benefits.  And in the end, they can't remember any of it.

Next time — be brave.  Tell them the most important thing.  And then, shut up.  Too many words clog the brain and never allow you to connect with their heart.  And that's where the buying decision happens.  In their heart.

Nissan's new TV spot for their LEAF vehicle gets it.  Watch this spot and then identify the single most important fact about this car.  I will bet you a dozen donuts — you won't forget it. (e-mail subscribers, click here to view.)


Would someone react the same way (emotionally charged AND remembering the key point) if they looked at whatever you wrote last?

If not…how could you turn that around?


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14 comments on “Marketing tip #26: Be brave enough not to tell the whole story

  1. Peter Tubbs says:

    Restraint in underrated. Ads like that are the 180 of most local ads with 50 seconds of copy in a 30 second spot.

    I had the same reaction the first time I saw the Leaf spot on air.

  2. I watched 6 seconds, and I’m going out on a limb that the USP is low emissions?

  3. Drew, Excellent point and told so very well in the form of imagery from this ad. Thanks for sharing; this will definitely help me to be more mindful of flooding the deck with too much info.

  4. Peter,

    Nicely said. Restraint is about confidence. TV spots that are literally stuffed with copy are about fear and a lack of clarity in terms of the message.

    You’re right — those kinds of ads are easy to spot. I often think they’re a result of bad coaching/advice as well.


  5. Steve — Why of course, Krispie Kreme. Are you going to mail them to me?


  6. Andy,

    They don’t even get quick that specific but yes — a car that is good for the planet. Of course, if I hadn’t told you it was a car commercial, that 6 second guess would have been a little tougher!


  7. Michelle,

    Great analogy — flooding the deck. So if we all agree this is a much better way to handle a TV spot, why do you think most do just the opposite?


  8. Rick,

    Believe me…your habit of “throwing up” all over a client is hardly a rare thing. But you’re right — it probably has cost you business. I’m curious, what are you going to implement to avoid the same mistake in the future?


  9. Jason,

    I think it takes a very clear vision of yourself/your product/service to recognize that not everyone is utterly taken by you nor do they need to know every detail.

    I think many a business owner/marketing exec mistakenly believe that everyone is as fascinating with their offerings as they are. Which means someone is going to have to lay some tough love on them — and help them see the truth.


  10. Its a great example you pointed here in the form of this ad. It is important to know well about the fine speaking with the clients and that is clearly proved here. Thanks.

  11. Raj says:

    Awesome Article!

  12. Mike Taylor says:

    Great information. Great commercial. How about brownie bites instead of donuts?

  13. iPad Apps says:

    Interesting thoughts..That is actually a great example.
    Mystery will always work to capture attention, provoke reaction and definitely attract has the biggest impact on customers in general…Although it’s already old-school, but hardly used effectively..
    Thank you!

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