Big buzz around the Airborne Entertainment offices—“Five Myths of Consumer Behavior” co-author Paul Allen Smethers is coming to meet the staff and impart words of wisdom next week to help us as we develop our new mobile product lines.
Five Myths is one of my fave bizbooks for the year for two reasons—its merciful brevity and its laser-beam relevance to everyday consumer marketing. While all five “myths” are pertinent, the most Surprising of the bunch is #5, the one about product features. Daily advances in technology allow manufacturers to squeeze more and more of everything into just about anything.
But it seems that it’s all for naught.
‘Cuz we don’t want ‘em.
Not in our cellphones, our PVRs, our TVs, or our cars. Our products, while shrinking in size, are bloating in complexity. Even the iPod, the celebrated consumer product of eternal happiness and goodwill, isn’t immune to this.
I guess I shouldn’t be Surprised. One of the non-negotiable rules of marketing I learned from the late, great Don Tobin back in junior college was the “KISS” rule—Keep It Simple, Stupid (although I had my own interpretation of the KISS rule at that time, which included partying every day…but I digress).
This concept morphed into another adage I coined during my days producing TV and Live shows at Just For Laughs:
"The Audience isn’t as hip as you think they are, or want them to be.”
In other words...go deep, but not over their heads.
Sometimes, even as the world changes so rapdily, old time wisdom is still relevant. Or, as I said earlier in my original Surprise manifesto, “Everything new is old again.”