KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)

KISS is an acronym accredited to the US Navy. It stands for Keep it Simple Stupid. It was invented as a fundamental philosophy for design, the reasoning is that systems that simple systems operate more successfully than those that are complex and importantly, are less prone to mistakes and errors.

It is a principle underlying Apple’s success, by making their products easy to use and intuitive they retain a competitive edge.

KISS in Marketing

We are bombarded with marketing, whether it’s on television, newspapers, billboards or online, we cannot get away from it. Yet so often, advertisers fail to make an impact, a key reason is because they fail to take KISS into consideration.

An advert only has a few seconds to make an impact, so the more complex, in other words the less simple it is; it is less likely to succeed. We all skim past things that don’t catch our attention fast.

All too often adverts are over complex and over long. Take emailed E-Shots for example, Web-Clubs speciality. The critical parts of the email are the subject line and the part of the email showing when first opened, referred to as “above the fold.” These have to make an impact in seconds if the email is to get opened, the first step in a successful campaign. If the message is unclear, complex or unattractive it’s unlikely to succeed.

Implementing KISS in your marketing

The crucial point to take on board is that the first message someone sees is clear. An easily identifiable button or “call to action” will allow someone interested to get more information. Digital Marketing allows us to deliver message in bite sized chunks, don’t swamp someone with too much information at once.

Images are processed much more quickly than text, snappy headlines and straplines stand out. Look at adverts from leading brands, they rely heavily on images and short sharp statements. The crucial point, as already stated is to concentrate on what someone sees, “above the fold” this is what determines success. It can be compared to front page of a traditional mailshot, only if you like what is on the front, are you likely to open it. With an email, “below the fold”, further down you can add supporting text, legal disclaimers etc.

KISS and the Message

It’s important to understand your target market. If you are selling business to business in a technical environment, then complex content can be relevant. In most markets however, it is important to structure the message so that it is understood by as broader market as possible, again this is why imagery works well.

The advert needs to make an impact fast. Hopefully you create an impact, if so, it’s equally important that you satisfy those that have clicked for more information. This is where you can add value to the proposition you are promoting. Redirecting someone wanting to know more to a website or contact page is a recipe for disaster. The better option is to have a dedicated website landing page, this should welcome their enquiry and provide them with the information they are seeking.


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