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Lessons in Simplicity - Procter and Gamble Company

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"It's mind-boggling how difficult we've made it for [consumers] over the years."

These were the words of Durk Jager, President of Procter and Gamble from a BusinessWeek article in 1996. At the time, P&G, one of the foremost marketing companies in the world, was selling 52 versions of Crest and 31 varieties of Head & Shoulders shampoo.

In an effort to simplify the customer experience of selecting, P&G started cutting back its product lines. While many would intuitively think that cutting back on the number of products for sale would result in decreased sales, quite the opposite was true. According to the BusinessWeek article, between 1996 and 2001, P&G grew its market share in hair care products, a very mature industry segment, by nearly 5%. At the same time, they also decreased marketing costs by 20%! By simplifying their product line, P&G reduced the confusion and complexity during the purchase process for their potential customers, resulting in increased sales and decreased costs.

While P&G may be a consumer products company, the lesson in simplicity is clear: simplicity leads to both a better customer experience as well as increased efficiency, and that goes directly to your bottom line.