AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerClear Is the New Clever Vol. 2

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Clear Is the New Clever Vol. 2

For years, advertisers have searched for the twist of phrase, visual pun and clever humor for advertising messaging. Now, clear is the new clever.No Dog Poop

A research article by the Nielsen Norman Group summarized today’s copy by saying, “Users won’t read web content unless the text is clear, the words and sentences are simple, and the information is easy to understand.”

The web changes everything again. David Ogilvy fans will find the dictates of the new world copy order a little less than creative:

  • Use large fonts, “tiny text dooms legibility”
  • Use a clean font
  • Use 8th-grade reading level
  • Use short sentences. Avoid compound sentences with subordinate clauses and conjunctions.
  • Use user-centric language
  • Use inverted-pyramid writing style

Headlines continue to be very important for readability and comprehension. Headlines are also is key to attracting eyeballs to your copy.

In addition to writing new, clear copy, you must also insert enough keywords to make a search engine optimization (SEO) difference.  So “Clear, search-optimized copy is the new clever.”


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.