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The Future is Simple, Literally

Want to ensure the success of your next product or service?

One way to do this is to buck today’s "more is better" philosophy and instead aim for the utmost simplicity.

Start by reducing the number of features. Cut back on the options. And focus on doing one thing, and only one thing, well.

You can never make something too simple. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself when was the last time you heard someone complain that a product was too easy to use?

Case in point: the Jitterbug mobile phone, a partnership between Samsung and First Street (for the US market). I came across a print ad for this product recently and was immediately captivated by the headline:

"It doesn’t play games, take pictures or give you the weather."

Billed as "a cell phone that makes life simple," the Jitterbug features a big, bright screen, large, clearly-labeled buttons, and 24-hour operator assistance.

Designed with the (massive) boomers market in mind, the Jitterbug may also pick up admirers of all ages who appreciate an extraordinarily easy-to-use mobile phone.


What does this have to do with Internet marketing? Well, I encourage you to take a cue from the Jitterbug and look with fresh eyes at your own products and services, and how you market them.

Have you made things as easy to understand or accomplish as possible? Are you using technical or marketing jargon that few laypeople would understand? Are you potentially confusing consumers by offering them too many options or features?

Perhaps the most "innovative" thing you can do is pare things down to the essentials. Easier said than done, of course, but worth considering.

Do this right and I’ll bet the world will beat a path to your door.


  1. Natasha -
    Natasha - June 12, 2007

    It’s the classic “you zig, we zag” philosophy.
    In the market for my first mobile phone in about a decade, I personally see the benefits in both multifunction and single-purpose devices.
    Great tips, Bill.

  2. Barry Welford
    Barry Welford June 14, 2007

    I’m very much with you on this one, Bill. I guess KISS was too hackneyed to use in your post but that’s one of my mantras. Just Google ‘keyless cellphone’ and you’ll see one suggestion on how to get there.

  3. Stefan Eyram
    Stefan Eyram June 14, 2007

    I always enjoy reading your stuff, Bill, and particularly enjoyed this post.
    Many companies are so obsessed with adding features that they forget about usability. Sure kids of today are growing up with computers, gaming systems and other technology, but I would place a bet that most people do not use most of the features of their newest technology purchases. I know people with digital cameras that have oodles of functionality but they literally set it on auto and use it as a point-and-click device. The same thing for mobile phones. Do most people really use all the features they have (do they even know all the features they have)? Why did it take so long for RIM to bring out a Blackberry with “consumer” features like a camera and MP3 player?

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