How to Sabotage Your Marketing.

It’s amazing how many companies allow bad choices to undermine their ability to market effectively.

Exhibit A
Time recently published an article noting that, according to research, copy set with two spaces between sentences is easier to read than with one space between sentences. (For the record, this is hardly the first time research has landed on this conclusion.)

Here’s the punchline: the Time article went on to note that its own editorial policy remains one space between sentences. Yup. Their policy is more important to them than their readers.

Exhibit B
A billboard sits on the left side of an interstate highway. The headline is set in a very light typeface – small in all caps – against a pale pink background. It’s a trifecta that would make it impossible to read if you were parked in front of it, let alone cruising at 60 mph on the other side of a divided highway.

We’ve known forever that all caps are harder to read. That small or light type disappears on a billboard. That contrast matters when time is tight for the reader. And yet, this billboard exists. Somebody saw it on their monitor, thought it looked pretty, and approved it without worrying about whether anyone could read it.

We could go on. And on. Every day, decisions get made that make marketing less effective – or completely ineffective. Decisions that waste money. Lots of money.

There seems to be an assumption that in the digital age, the proven rules of design — the core principles that have been proven to work — no longer matter. In fact, with marketing messages spread out more thinly over a wider array of media, the opposite is true.

If you want to make all of your marketing work harder for you, take this one simple step. Pay attention to the fundamentals — the huge impact that design choices have on everything from digital ads and your website to TV, print and more. (You could start by reading Ogilvy on Advertising, which remains astonishingly relevant after decades in print.)

On the other hand, if you have marketing dollars to burn, disregard the role design plays in the buying process. You’ll go through plenty of cash while leaving customers behind.