Why the next big thing in marketing is...simplicity

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Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part article on ‘simplicity’ in marketing: the second piece will appear on MarketingTech later this month.

Opinion A question to kick off 2017: have you ever thought how complex marketing has become?

I think about that all the time and attempt to relay to my client base that simple is better. I also emphasize a few of the fundamentals of marketing that need to be followed when developing a marketing communications plan. A tenet that I follow, above all, is to introduce one new media at a time or at least to test any combination of media based on the concept of ConOps, or Concept of Operations.

What is ConOps?

Who do you think of when you develop a marketing program? Your goals and objectives? The results? Yourself? Your brand? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be starting off on, as they say, the wrong foot. Consider designing your marketing program from the viewpoint of the user—your prospects, clients, customers—and consider your needs as by-products of the program.

You may be developing your marketing communications to attract your targeted demographics, but are you reviewing your plans based on their point of view? This slight shift in focus can mean the difference between success and failure

By-products that are strongly supported by the initial decision you made to develop the program to benefit your targeted audience. At all times, keep the program as simple, focusing on your brand, and the needs of the brand will allow. To me that also means carefully integrating and converging highly targeted multiple strands of media into a concise, defined, and effective marketing communications effort.

ConOps is concept of operations, a document or plan that describes the characteristics of a proposed system (such as an advertising-marketing-communications program) from the viewpoint of an individual who will use that system—your client, customer, or prospect.

It is used to communicate the quantitative and qualitative system characteristics (the tools of the marketing program and their individual results) of the effort to all stakeholders—you the brand and your prospects, clients, and customers.

Is a marketing plan ConOps?

Most likely not, but perhaps it should be. Marketing plans, though developed to attract an action from the targeted demographics, often forget about the end user and are mainly metric-based, or numbers driven.

However, your targeted base may not be numbers driven. It is not a bad idea to be metric-based, but aren’t metrics-based programs that are based on your success of a program, not necessarily fulfilling the needs of the targeted demographic? And if a program is designed to succeed based on pre-determined or expected metrics, isn’t that program potentially designed to fail?

Designed to fail? Yes, by not responding to the needs, desires, wants of the targeted demographics! One can argue that the most complex (yet simple) of all marketing efforts is the election of the President of the United States, and, in the past election cycle, one candidate based her efforts on her interpretation of the base while the other candidate based his campaign on the desires, needs, and wants of the base. Guess who won?

Part two will appear on MarketingTech later this month.

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