How to avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect in your marketing strategy

How to talk about complex business ideas simply, so your prospects will respond 

Some companies I have worked with over the years seem to think that “more is better”. Their web pages are full of information. Lots of information. And I have to be honest with you. Sometimes I get bored searching for the common thread. I have trouble seeing the big idea. And I don’t get clear guidance on what to do next.

If your copy is already outstanding and you have all the clients you need, then skip this article. But if you think that there might be ways to improve the effectiveness of your marketing material, then please read on. 

I promise to give you one big secret that you can use to avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect. I will also give you 3 simple steps you can follow to immediately improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and the quality of your content. 

What is the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect?

Before I show you how to avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” (TMGT) Effect in your marketing strategy I want to tell you how I came across it.

I was doing research for an article for a client. Searching on the positive impact of a growth mindset on business revenue. A lot of titles came up in my search. But one particular headline caught my eye. The headline was: The “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect in Management.

My curiosity was awakened. I certainly wanted to know more. 

I clicked on the link to the article and read the abstract. The abstract told of “empirical evidence”. “Uh… these people know what they are talking about”, I thought to myself.

The abstract then presented an intriguing paradox. They mentioned management strategies that normally are considered to have positive consequences. But they found that they can actually lead to negative outcomes. 

A tipping point

They spoke of a tipping point. A point where qualities we normally see as positive all of a sudden lose their positive effect. In many cases, they even turned out to have a negative effect. The key areas mentioned were related to leadership, personality, and firm growth rate.

“How can something that’s considered positive all of a sudden turn negative?” I asked myself.

At the end of the abstract, they promised to reveal what management can do to avoid this “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect.

I thought to myself:

“I absolutely want to know what it is that businesses can do to avoid the TMGT effect.” 

I poured a cup of coffee, downloaded the article, and started reading. 

The article started out by illustrating the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect. They did it by telling stories about 3 companies. They had all gone all-in with broadly accepted management strategies. They all had great success in the beginning. But eventually, they all failed. And why was that? 

The failing companies all thought “more is better” 

Because the companies thought “more is better” they ended up failing. Suffering from the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect on their business.

Then the article went on to talk about the philosophical origin of the idea of The TMGT Effect. My interest was intensified. I am fascinated by philosophy. In other words, the article activated a personal trigger for me. 

The article mentioned the Chinese philosophy:

“too much can be worse than too little”.

It mentioned the Western counterpart

“everything in moderation; nothing in excess”.

And spoke of the idea of balance and proportionality rather than going to extremes:

The doctrine of the mean

The golden mean 

Now I had the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect. I had “more is better”. I had “the golden mean”. I had balance and proportions.

I was inspired to investigate how the TMGT Effect applies to copywriting and marketing strategy. 

Balance and proportions made me think of structure, which led to architecture. I thought about baroque buildings with lots of details. And modern architecture with very few details.

And then I had an AHA moment.

Great copywriting is like great architecture – it has a certain structure!

I thought about how this research article had captured my attention through the headline. Kept me curious through the lead. Given me a big idea I wanted to know about. The article had told a story about 3 companies. How they were on the path to success but had failed. 

The article gave credibility by referring to well-known philosophers. Including Aristotle, a personal favorite – another personal trigger for me.

So far so good. 

We experience the world in 3-dimensional spaces

And then it dawned on me. 

We can avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect in copywriting by comparing marketing material and the way we move through great architecture.

We are bodily creatures. We experience the world with our senses. We move around in 3-dimensional spaces. And like great architecture, great writing captivates our attention. The building uses the façade. Copywriting uses the headline.

Architecture invites us to move into the building through the entrance. The article does the same thing by presenting a big idea. Something that you, the reader, want to know more about. 

Great architecture leads the visitor by a natural flow of movement from one space to the next. The perfect article does the same through storytelling. Keeping the reader engaged. 

In great architecture, the architect gives the building credibility. His skillful use of proportion, shape, and space. The perfect article gives credibility by giving you, the reader, reason to want to read on. 

Exit through the gift shop

In a museum, you exit through the gift shop.

Effective marketing material continues with one big thing the client can do to make the big promise a reality. It then breaks this big idea into 3 simple action steps. Finally, it has a call to action.

Have you ever wondered why you need to exit through the gift shop in a museum? The reason is of course obvious. It is a proven strategy to generate more sales.

The one big secret to help you easily avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect 

And here comes the one big secret to help you easily avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect. 

To avoid the TMGT effect, follow this blueprint in your copy. Does it follow the structure? 

Can you find your

  • Big Promise
  • Related Story
  • Credibility Statement
  • One Big Secret
  • 3 Results Driven Action items
  • Call to Action

This is the blueprint you can use today to make sure your marketing material is not delivering “Too much of a Good Thing’.

3 simple steps

  1. Length – shoot for 700-1500 words
  2. Simplicity – aim for an FK score of around 7
  3. Read it aloud – would you really talk like this? Great marketing material is written in a conversational tone.

By following this blueprint and using these 3 simple steps, you can easily avoid the TMGT effect. It will strengthen your copy for maximum impact and get your readers moving through your gift shop – and following your call to action.

If you are curious and want to know more about how I can help you improve your copy. Or you want to know more about how to easily avoid the “Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing” Effect in your copywriting or marketing strategy I invite you to connect with me.

About Sophie H Higgins, MA, MBA, MBC: I’m a freelance copywriter, professional speaker, philosophical business coach, and martial artist. I specialize in providing high-quality content and in helping people and businesses grow. Need a resourceful writer and professional content provider? I can help you achieve your goals.

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