Minimal Marketing — How to Ditch the Old Ways of Advertising

Stephane Egger
Apr 18, 2020 · 6 min read
Ocean with calm waves
Ocean with calm waves
Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

The Skinny

  • A minimalistic marketing approach might be the game-changer your brand and your audience need.
  • Listening instead of talking, choosing who gets to stay, and being ruthless with yourself is the way to a better marketing approach in 2020.

It’s no secret that Human beings are biologically inclined to want more and more, due to simple survival purposes. No wonder then, that the advertising industry has taken full advantage of this natural predisposition to generate and create more content for people to absorb.

In order for brands to stay in their audience’s mind, one of marketing’s biggest concepts in fact states that the repetition of a message is necessary to build familiarity and sympathy towards the brand.

However, one thing that seems to have been lost over the years is the last part of that very same repetition principle: repeat yourself too often, and you’ll create fatigue and avoidance.

As more and more content gets created and published every minute of every day, now would be a good time for your marketing department to take a good look in the mirror and go back to a minimalistic approach.

But to get there, it’s important to first understand…

Why do we always do/produce/consume more

  1. Human beings are raised to strive for perfection in every way, shape, or form. Today’s society ingrains in our mind that we need to do more. And we need to do it better than our neighbour (side-note: there’s nothing wrong with a good, healthy competition — as long as it stays that way). But, the problem lies in the second element…
  2. Human beings have to compete on all levels. Doing something perfectly isn’t enough anymore. Whether you like it or not, you have to expand and accomplish everything perfectly in order to feel adequate.
  3. Human beings are afraid of silence. FOMO, being absent from a party, avoiding alone times…. All these symptoms signal a clear apprehension of quiet moments. And with technology’s evermore presence in people’s lives, this century’s evil — a.k.a. anxiety — has never been so rampant.

Now, replace “human beings” with “brands” and you’ll see why so much content gets thrown in front of people’s faces on the daily.

As a matter of fact, it also exemplifies why the advertising industry can only rejoice at our societal evolution. After all, it played a critical part in promoting such behaviours. Why not reap the benefits now?

Yet, advertising is not as highly praised as it once was and consumers are more cautious — if not more reluctant — than ever to trust a brand. And that hesitation goes beyond, “ will they trust you with their wallet? ,” it now goes to, “ will they trust you with their time and attention span? .”

Maybe advertising doesn’t stop… because it can’t stop.

We see it more and more. People don’t listen to entire podcast episodes. They can’t wait to skip your crisp Youtube ad after 5 seconds. And they sure as H won’t read your blog article in full (and probably not this one either, sigh).

Why do brands keep bothering producing more and more then?

Now there’s a realization that should quite honestly be concerning, since we can now all agree that the best kind of advertisement doesn’t come from a brand’s own material. Rather, it comes from what its audience is willing to promote by itself.

But since blabbering on is only fun for a while (and yes, there’s a clear irony between the message and its form here), it’s now time to give you the…

3 principles of Minimal Marketing:

1) Be a Zen Master

Those are just a few of the rules Zen Buddhists follow. And boy can it also teach us a lot about how to conduct our marketing affairs!

If you want to bring your marketing strategy to a whole new level, you should highly consider instilling those principles in your department (okay, maybe not the “do it slowly” part).

While your competitors each publish seven blog articles, six Instagram posts, and three YouTube videos a week, don’t panic.

Instead, stay calm. Observe. See if you can learn something from their audience’s reaction. Once you’re ready, come up with more value than them.

One extensive, highly-personalized piece of content filled with useful insights and creative ideas will always be better than a thousand IG stories.

Which brings us to principle number two:

2) Be a Gatekeeper

It is indeed becoming now far more important to know and keep the people forming your audience than to try and attract as much traffic as possible.

Let me rephrase, as this cannot be emphasized enough.

Having a smaller number of individuals wanting more of your content rather than aiming at a huge unengaged crowd will pay huge dividends for you and your marketing.

Of course, algorithms have basically democratized the need for more and more followers (since it makes it that much easier to make us visible and heard through the online noise). No argument here.

So, don’t take a too-narrow approach and cut down ninety percent of your audience. But, don’t aim at Kardashian-type numbers, either.

How can I be the gatekeeper of my audience? “, you ask.

Well, you decide that with:

  • What you publish
  • On what platform/through which channel
  • How frequently (bold font for that last one since, like we’ve previously established, everyone’s fed up with your push tactics).

3) Be ruthless

Be ruthless with what you put out there. Don’t look at it from a subjective, unequivocally-biased point of view.

If your goal is truly to create a new minimalistic approach to your content marketing strategy, there is no room for complacency.

Anything that doesn’t bring an automatic win for the very specific individuals forming your audience has to go. Keep in mind the greater purpose of staying relevant and marking your difference in this overcrowded advertising world.

And if you can’t justify a piece of content with anything else than “ because I have to publish something” or “ well, everybody else does it “, it might be time to rethink your whole strategy.

As a matter of fact, “ everybody else does it “, is precisely one of the reason we’re in this saturated situation now. And, it clearly signals a missed opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and your brand from the pack.

Don’t settle. Don’t copy others. Be brave. Learn to stay quiet if you have nothing to say. Hunt your fake-value content relentlessly. Be ruthless with the content you push out there.

Your audience will thank you.

Got other ideas to create a healthier bond between your brand and your audience? Don’t hesitate to share it with everyone in the comment sections!

Originally published at on April 18, 2020.

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Stephane Egger

Written by

Brand Strategist, Storyteller, Content Marketer | Seeking clarity for you and your brand | This and other stuff | Twitter: @StephEgger

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +756K people. Follow to join our community.

Stephane Egger

Written by

Brand Strategist, Storyteller, Content Marketer | Seeking clarity for you and your brand | This and other stuff | Twitter: @StephEgger

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +756K people. Follow to join our community.

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