How You’re Sabotaging Your Own Marketing

April 10, 2017

“If you attempt to say three things, you end up saying nothing”. This is one of the most memorable lines in “Made To Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath, and really a critical piece of marketing advice to live by.

Analysis Paralysis – The state of over-analyzing a situation to the point where a decision or action is not taken.

We’ve all been there… “What do you want for dinner?”, “I don’t know, what do you want?”. The possibilities are truly endless. Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Japanese, American, Spanish, Polish, British, German, etc.. There are simply too many options for an answer to that question to be made. A perfect example of analysis paralysis.

Another example would be any time you go to buy a vehicle and see 500 cars that slightly different from each other. The difference of an extra cup holder can stall your decision for hours, days or even weeks.

While many brands fall victim to analysis paralysis, there are a few that have figured out how to perfectly combat this state of indecision.


When Nest started out, they simply aimed to sell 1 thing. They didn’t have an array of products with slightly different speeds or features for every price point. It was so incredibly simple to understand (just like their product) that people had to make no more decisions than a “yes” or a “no”. Not only did Nest completely disrupt the thermostat market, but they also made $340 million in 2015 and helped raise an entire market by almost 3x since 2013. The thing that there’s no data on though is the amount of love people have for the Nest brand. (which is pretty high)

In-N-Out Burger

The darling fast-food burger chain of Los Angeles is a perfect example of keeping things simple. Their menu features only 5 items. Cheeseburger, hamburger, double burger, french fries, and milkshake, that’s all. By keeping their menu simple, people don’t stand in the front of the line and stare at the menu in fear of making the wrong decision.


Anytime we go to the site of one of the largest companies in the world, we expect to see a lot of “stuff” on the page. A bunch of things to get distracted by and several buttons to click. Not Google, for the last 20+ years they’ve kept one thing and became a tech powerhouse in the process — the simple search bar on

Simplifying your message

The biggest thing all these great companies did is keep things simple. Sure, Nest sells multiple products now (none of which compete with each other though), In-N-Out does have a secret menu you can ask for and Google’s search pages can be a little overwhelming sometimes. For customers though, the entry point is so incredibly simple with all these companies that the next step is always clear.

When making the decision to advertise, many people make the mistake of trying to say as many things as possible to sell as many different products as possible. How can you avoid that trap and help your audience make decisions?

  • Your web site should have one clear goal.
  • Every video produced should have one clear message and one clear call to action.
  • You should communicate with one clear audience for all your marketing.
  • Keep email marketing simple with only 1 obvious button to click.
  • Focus on users of only 1 level of the sales funnel at any time with your messages.

Sure, this may seem like it would limit your potential reach but the idea of saying only 1 thing to 1 person will give an incredible amount of clarity to more people than if you were to shout from the top of a mountain for anyone to hear.

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