the invisible man, minimalism, the best marketing is no marketing [Post by Rex Hammock]

I recently ran across an insightful essay named, “The best interface is no interface,” written last August on the blog of the San Francisco-based product design firm, Cooper.

I recommend reading the entire essay, but here is a key quote:

It’s time for us to move beyond screen-based thinking. Because when we think in screens, we design based upon a model that is inherently unnatural, inhumane, and has diminishing returns. It requires a great deal of talent, money and time to make these systems somewhat usable, and after all that effort, the software can sadly, only truly improve with a major overhaul. There is a better path: No UI (user-interface). A design methodology that aims to produce a radically simple technological future without digital interfaces.

At Hammock, we share a similar a point-of-view. We believe that one of the signs of great customer media and content is how well it removes barriers between customers and the organizations with which they choose to have relationships. Taken to its logical conclusion, the goal is to remove everything between the two, or, at least, to make it appear that transparent.

For example, on our website’s About page (click the first “Learn more” button), we explain why we believe, the best marketing is no marketing. I think it parallels nicely the ideas in the essay on the Cooper blog.

Here is the key message related to “invisible marketing” on our About page:

Apple introduced the iPad 3 with this statement, “We believe technology is at its very best when it’s invisible. When you’re conscious only of what you’re doing, not the device you’re doing it with.”

The same can be said about most products, not just technology. Too often, marketers focus all their efforts on promoting their product or service by investing the majority of their budgets on making the product sound and look awesome. But what the customer wants is for the product to be invisible. They just want to be conscious of how the product helps them become or accomplish something.

We believe the goal of great marketing is to make the customer smarter, stronger, happier, or whatever the customer wants when they purchase a product or join an association or subscribe to a service.

Hammock assists companies in their efforts to deliver such value to their customers. From two decades of experience, we know that customers don’t even consider this kind of marketing as marketing. They view it as vital information and assistance in helping them do something better or be something they want to be.

Your customers want to use your products to accomplish something. That’s all they want to see, or know. Everything else, they ignore to the point that it may as well be invisible. Why not help them out and make it so.