The first question, am I about to write myself out of a job? Hopefully not. Second question? What is Anti-Marketing? Well, the below image is how i’d describe it.
Today, I bought a book from Waterstones. Completely wrapped in brown paper, with no clue as to what it was except a small postage label and the price attached to it on the back. The label was handwritten by a member of staff and was their personal view of the plot. All I had to go on was that short description. As I stared at the sea of plain brown packaging with little parcel labels handwritten, I felt overjoyed and engaged! No flashy adverts, book covers, celebrity recommendations, or 5-star critics. Just little handwritten notes. I had to buy one! Once I found one that resonated with my interests I took it to the till and bought it. Now the big question is, was I happy when I opened it?
Perfectly, it was such a great match! This is the point, by stripping back all the extra information I am normally bombarded with and keeping it to one small space, it forces them to be accurate. It forces me as a consumer to really read all the offers and select it based on the one comparison point I had. In an age of information overload, is it time to tone it down, pare it back?
It’s not a new concept, Last Minute did this with Top Secret Hotels, offering customers a small discount if they were willing to book a hotel they knew only a short recommendation/description about. What a great way to bring attention to additional or unsold rooms by hiding it. We instinctively want to find out about the things that are mysterious to us, so by actively hiding information in plain sight, with a reward and a promise to reveal on purchase, it makes it an attractive proposition.
Similarly, Lush have just announced.. just recently announced that they are switching off all their social media, now there has been lots and lots of responses to that decision and talking about that could take up an entire blog post of its own but what it does highlight is the start of brands stripping back. Rather than fighting the noise by putting out more content, they’re putting out less. They’re editing.
I believe this is the way we need to go with technical brands, of course, these devices have all these amazing features but if you were only given a postage label to write about what it did or more importantly why you would find it useful. What would you say?
- Philips Hue: “Now there’s a bright idea. And a dark idea. And a pink idea. And a green idea, and whatever kinda idea you want”
- Hive: “up a bit, up a bit more, down a bit, bit further, ahhhh, just right”
- Alexa: “Like Big Brother, but she can also help you time your cooking”
By forcing ourselves to write less about our products, it makes us edit and keep the key things in. Most importantly, it forces us to think about the person reading it, you can’t be general in 3 sentences, you really have to think about the most useful thing the reader is going to find. Also if they select your product and what you’ve written persuades them, they’re going to be happy with what they bought.
Now if I’m honest, I don’t think that this is how we should operate all of our marketing, it would be a very bland world. However, if we can get ourselves into the habit of making our first contact with new customers through this approach, whittling down our main offering into one easily digestible bite, we might have more takers.
Now let’s try that single sentence again. “Answer your door from anywhere in the world, with Ring you are always home”… Sound familiar? Ring have already done this and i’d say it’s a component of their success. It makes it an easy proposition for any consumer to understand and is a great universal use case. You could even turn it into a question. What would you do if you could answer your door from anywhere?
Is this the rise of Anti-Marketing? No. However, it is the rise of being smarter, more curated.
Our Marketing needs to be as Smart as our products.