One of the stories I often share with clients is of a famous-in-marketing-circles campaign that helped place a particular brand in everyone’s mind. Do you remember the phrase, “when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight“? If you said FedEx, you get a gold star.

Why is it important?

That campaign helped turn Federal Express (as it was known then) into a global player in the courier market. They created a very focused campaign around a single product offering–their overnight service–and inundated advertising with it. Suddenly the world was aware of this brand, and businesses evolved their processes around the fact that they could deliver important packages pretty much anywhere in the world overnight. One offering made an upstart courier into a major player.

Of course they had other offerings, and later acquired a number of other companies that helped them expand their suite of services dramatically. But it all comes down to that one thing, and isn’t that how you largely think of FedEx? “Overnight service” persists to this day as the thing that they do.

Why did it work?

Because instead of telling the world, “Hey, look here! We can deliver it overnight, or second day, or freight, or slow boat to China, and look! we do all this other nifty stuff, too,” they concentrated on a single offering that would make a difference to the audience they were trying to reach: enterprise business. Simplicity was the key. One single offering, no other distractions until a potential customer started asking, and then Federal Express could also reveal that they had these other, less expensive shipping methods, and these other nifty things they could do.

FedEx1971Over time, they have evolved their image as well. As Bored Panda points out, their logo changed over time, shortened from Federal Express to FedEx. fedex-logoThis served a number of purposes: it’s easier to say (we like compressed brand names, don’t we?), the design is simple, clean, memorable, and–a very practical consideration–it cost them less to print the new logo on packages and paint it on vans and aircraft. And their very clever designer also managed to sneak a negative-image arrow into the Ex, suggesting forward movement. Do you see it? It’s subtle and kind of brilliant.

Simple is always better.

Whether you’re a mom-and-pop business or a Silicon Valley startup, it pretty much goes without saying that how you position your brand will mean the success or failure of your effort. Simple is always better. As you’re planning your marketing efforts, there are two major things to consider:

  1. Of the things that your company offers, what one thing do you do best?
  2. What do you offer that fills a real need in the market? In other words, what do you think people will buy?

Put those things together and you have your “overnight delivery”.

Keep it simple.

By Rebekkah Hilgraves

*RadHaus Solutions*: ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant. Marketo Certified Expert. Solutions Architect. Marketing automation implementation, integration, best practices, governance. Marketing automation, with a heavy dose of nerd.

*RadHaus Studio*: Broadcast and recording engineer, media production manager, cable monkey, marketing dork, project manager, chief cook and bottle-washer.

A seasoned trainer, marketer, web producer and front-end developer, solutions architect, writer, consultant, broadcaster, recording engineer, and public speaker, I've worked in eLearning, Instructional Design, CMS, Marketing Automation and CRM (especially Marketo, ActiveCampaign, and SimplyCast), content delivery and management, taxonomy, SEO, media production and technical support. I bring a unique blend of experience and expertise.

Through RadHaus (formerly SheTech and Company), and in partnership with ELK // Obscura Media, and Prove digital marketing agencies, I have supported enterprise clients in marketing automation implementation and operations, digital marketing and data strategies. I help design and operationalize custom integrated marketing programs for businesses, working with audience/user group segmentation, SEO, web analytics, design and UX best practices, multimedia, social media and other strategic web design and delivery mechanisms. I also do hands-on media production and arts marketing, allowing me to remain involved in the arts.

As part of Marketo's education team, I managed the production and publication of eLearning modules, and was a key member of the LMS implementation and certification development teams.

A consultant on the Web Operations team for OppenheimerFunds in New York, I offered technical, production, and strategy support on a major web site redesign project.

As Managing Editor for an online news magazine published by NetQoS, I supervised and managed the migration of the site from a legacy content management system to a .NET-based commercial system. I maintained the site and the content, updating the magazine with new content from industry analysts and technical experts on a weekly basis.

My earliest foray into both technology and training was as a software trainer for logistics company Cheetah Software Systems, helping create an implementation and training practice standard for the company, and building their user documentation.

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