Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Is six a big number, or a small one?

When you're six years old, six seems insignificant. Six is halfway to a dozen, and when you're talking doughnuts, thats pretty good. (more than I can eat!)

Six is also 5 more choices than one, and consumers (much against many sales/marketing ideologies) really don't like complicated choices. It makes making the actual decision to purchase painful and negative.

Microsoft is trying to save their sinking ship. The new (and improved?) Windows 7 is going to be available in SIX (6) versions. Each with their own pricing and licensing restrictions (of course!).

I have to ask, why? When the rest of the world is moving towards simplicity, Microsoft seems to gravitate towards complexity. Does the idea of confusing the customer somehow make sales better?

When Steve Jobs back back to Apple. (Many of you know that I refer to this as when NeXT bought Apple) he did something remarkable. He slaughtered the Apple Mac model lineup down to four basic macs. Two in two segments. The segments were consumer and professional. The models were desktop and laptop. Sales soared and in the switch to OSX and Intel based hardware to lesson hardline costs, Apple made a move from niche computer company into mainstream consumer products. No matter how things rolled forward, there's never been more than one version of OSX available for sale (go ahead, argue OSX Server - negate your argument by asking any Apple consumer what that is.. they have no idea so just park it for now).

Anyway, as I was saying, my example is a quick illustration as to how simplification makes life easier for not only the consumer, but the sales channel, marketing, accounting, etc.

So, why on God's green Earth is Microsoft going to have SIX versions of Windows 7?

Microsoft aside, what are things in your company that can be streamlined to make purchasing easier? From the number of products, to service choices, to even the number of clicks (steps) it takes in order to be a customer.

If anything is greater than six, try to reduce it by half. In the end, three could lead to bigger numbers on your bottom line.

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