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Tuesday 2¢: You Know, Sometimes, You Have to Say No

Tuesday 2¢: You Know, Sometimes, You Have to Say No

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott reflects on how saying No might be the driving force behind successful customer expierences.


This morning my boss sent me a link to a Norwegian Airlines promotion, having just experienced them on a recent trip. He sent it not because he thinks it would be better for me to spend 5 hours flying to Munich via Stockholm to save the company a few euros, but because of the simplicity of their message, and how he found the whole customer experience was consistent with the promise the brand makes in their advertising. He had a simple seamless experience, even, as he put it, in seat 28B.

How do organizations do that?

How do you simplify?

How are some services simple to use? How are some products easier to use than others? How is the story one brand has told so crystal clear, that you remember it today, maybe years after it was first told?

You’d think the seamless customer experience my boss had with Norwegian Airlines was because lots of people said “yes”, same with the purity of the Apple story or the Dollar Shave Club or the seamless way that easy to use services like Spotify, Dropbox or Slack have crept into our lives – but I reckon, that someone at these companies, at some point had to say no.

And conversely, I reckon there are a lot of companies rueing the day they said yes, when some bright spark suggested they shift from their core business or story to chasing a new market or to diversifying their offerings. A Coors Mountain Spring Water moment , when a world famous beer brand thought it could trade it’s brand that to sell bottled water.

It’s not just in marketing, when I was in product development, I learned that the trade-off for “ease of use” is often to say no to an edge case user story, some flexibility in the configuration, a feature loved by the few or additional choices for the experienced user. To make something uncluttered and simple for the many, you have to say no to the few.

When I was running a Content Marketing practice, on one engagement I was identifying personas for a major financial brand. The best advice, I think, I gave them was not who they should target but who NOT to sell to, who to stop creating content for.

As marketers it’s easy for us to run along on the hamster wheel, eagerly saying yes to every new opportunity to market, discovering a new niche, an audience segment, new partner, new acronym to toot our horn about. It’s much harder to say no.

Saying no does not mean developing the thick skin and personality of The Grinch. Saying no means having a very clear defendable story and strategy, and then to have the cohones to stick to it and stay the course to deliver on the brand promise.

Because, you know, sometimes, you have to say no.

Ian Truscott Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott has the unofficial and honory title of the “Träger des Firmen-Megaphons” for censhare, bringing 20 years of B2B software experience to our company (surely starting as a child) to lead marketing here. Luckily for us in the Munich office, he’s found the kettle and some tea bags – look at him, he’s happy.

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