marketing should focus on one idea


The number of ideas to use in an ad should be odd – and three’s too many.”

Timo Everi, Hasan & Partners Helsinki



Working as a copywriter for many years, I’m used to clients trying to squeeze as many ideas as possible into a single piece of marketing to keep their costs down.

The problem with that approach is that it also keeps its effectiveness down. In other words, it doesn’t work.

All forms of marketing, regardless of their format, must clear in their objective. And that means one idea.

Bombarding your readers with oodles of ideas will turn them off quicker than a quick thing. Your message becomes diluted, muddled, and ineffective. If you want your reader to be 100% clear about what you’re telling them, you can’t bombard them with umpteen messages at once.

Clarity rules: the sales letter

Here’s a scenario I’ve mentioned before:

Years ago, a client wanted a sales letter. We agreed on terms and I got to work. After a while he had a brain wave; by getting me to include 2 products within one letter, he would only have to pay me once to sell twice as much.


Trying to squeeze two ideas into one letter merely dilutes its effectiveness. To have any sort of effect you must concentrate on one idea and exploit it to the max.

Maintaining the focus of the reader is essential. If you present them with one idea, they can follow your reasoning and benefits. But if you start telling them one thing and then add, “…we also offer…” they’re suddenly all at sea.

Powerful copy focuses on just one idea:

  • It shows the reader how they will benefit from that one idea
  • They’ll understand how their life will be enriched by that one idea
  • They’ll be left with no other choice than to buy into your idea

What at first might seem a financially driven ‘smart’ move will only end up with disappointing results.

Regardless of what piece of marketing you’re creating:

  • Stick to one idea
  • Focus your message on your reader
  • Show how they will benefit
  • Tell them how to buy


Sally Ormond helps her clients by delivering the type of copy their copy their customers want to read. For a chat about how she can help you, call her on +44(0)1449 779605.