Simplicity wins

“If you confuse, you lose.” - Donald Miller

Simplicity wins. It’s a simple concept (pun intended). Yet, it’s so hard for many credit unions to grasp. Why? Because we think other things win: data, intelligence, complexity, business models and on and on it goes. We want to be the smartest people in the room.

But truly smart people know that simplicity wins. Steve Jobs knew it and applied it by keeping product designs sleek. Warren Buffet knows it and applies it by focusing only on high-performing investments.

In his book Effortless, author Greg McKeown tells the story of Elena Dell Donne, the best free throw shooter to ever live (93.4% made free throw percentage). When asked the key to her success, she said, “If you keep it simple, less can go wrong.”

There are three areas credit unions get wrong when it comes to simplicity: strategy, marketing and websites.

Simplicity wins with strategy

The best strategic plans are not the longest. In fact, they are often the simplest. Still, time and time again, executives put hours and pages into a document that is never fully implemented. They add reams and reams of graphs, data and supplemental material.

While all of that is important in strategic decision making, the actual key to strategy is focus. If your plan is long (and boring), don’t expect your staff to understand and implement it.

As Gino Wickman says in Traction, “leaders must be able to simplify.” And nowhere is that more important than in your strategic plan. We encourage clients to narrow down their top strategic initiatives to no more than three or four items.

Your goal with strategic planning should not be a giant to-do list. Your goal should be a simple plan.

Simplicity wins with marketing

The ultimate goal of marketing is to sell. Strong marketing should lead to strong sales. And when it comes to marketing, simplicity sells.

Yet, we repeatedly see cluttered marketing when conducting marketing assessments. Too many messages. Confusing messages. Inconsistent messages.

Apply the Sesame Street Simple principle to your marketing. Sesame Street is so effective for children because their messages are straightforward, easily understood and repeatable. Make your marketing Sesame Street Simple.

Your goal while marketing should not be clever phrases or words. Your goal should be simple messages.

Simplicity wins with websites

Your website (and mobile app) are now the front porch to your credit union. It is no longer your branches. And you have less than three seconds to make an impression on your website visitors.

So, look at your website and answer these questions:

  • How cluttered is our site?
  • Are there clear calls to action?
  • How easy is it to get a loan or open an account?

Too many credit union websites are nothing more than a glorified online brochure. The credit union crams as much information into it as possible, and the website looks like a mess.

More likely than not, you have a lot of clutter slowing down your website. Get rid of all that junk.

As Neil Patel says, “It’s easy to make a confusing website. It’s hard to make a simple website.”

Your goal with your website should not be information overload. Your goal should be a simple site that makes it easy to do business with you.

You’ve heard the KISS principle for years: Keep It Simple Stupid. When it comes to your strategy, your marketing, and your website, you must keep them simple…or you will be the stupid one.


Contact the author: On The Mark Strategies

Contact the author: On The Mark Strategies

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details