Why the next big thing in marketing is...simplicity (part two)


Editor’s note: The first part of this two-part article, available here, explained the concept of ConOps – the concept of operations – in a marketing communications program to communicate the quantitative and qualitative system characteristics of the effort to the brand, as well as prospects, clients, and customers. This piece expands on the need to keep marketing efforts simple with various examples.

Complexity is not rule one in marketing.

Just consider the following list of the seven pillars of sales promotion, forgetting about all the sub venues that each of these media include:

Advertising, direct marketing, interactive, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling, and exhibitions

Forget about the trending media, the new ‘shiny’ media, the emerging media, or the legacy media as well. Just think about the scope of the program you are developing and how much a complex program might detract from the success rate that perhaps a simpler program will offer.

The changing media landscape:

Advertising: Broadcast • Online • Mobile • Print • Out of Home

Direct Marketing: Direct Mail • Email • Events • POP/POS • Education • Trans Media

Digital Marketing:
SEO/SEM • Remarketing (retargeting) • Social Media Websites/Microsites/Landing Pages • Trans Media

Public Relations/Media Relations: Analyst Relations • Investor Relations

Can a marketing program be simple?

It should be— in message, purpose, response tools, and measurement. But often marketing programs are made overly complex to impress the other C-suite members.  Or marketers select the ‘new shiny item’ in the media drawer versus capturing the hearts, minds, and wallets of the intended demographics.

As marketing professionals, we have a need for results; the need for positive results has been drilled into our mindset. This mindset is rightfully so, since I firmly believe in ROI and ROR (rate of return), and strongly preach profit advocacy. But (perhaps the big but) our targets, prospects, clients, and customers generally look more favourably upon a clear, concise, simple message supported by a clear and concise media-based, action-oriented, and interactive response path. How do we adapt our mindset to follow a simpler path?

Simplicity on message is a given

Few would disagree with this statement, which leads to the need to start developing response, action-based mechanisms, and tools into the simplest but accurate form we can. These tools should allow respondents to gain the additional information they require, and permit them to chat, network, and respond across both new media and legacy media. A negative trend I see developing involves adding media for the sake of adding media and then complaining about the draining of marketing dollars and a weakened program.

To counteract this trend, consider the concept of ConOps, the option of carefully understanding your targeted demographics. Also consider, based on a recent McKinsey report, the following five dominant forces expected to impact and drive consumer marketing over the next 15 years:

1) Changing face of the consumer,
2) Evolving geopolitical dynamics,
3) New patterns of personal consumption,
4) Technological advancement, and
5) Structural industry shifts.

Understanding and responding to these forces is complex enough; the worst thing you can do is add the fog of complex marketing tools to the marketing mix and confuse a consumer that is acting upon these five dominant and impactful forces.

Keep it simple, and you can keep it profitable.

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