Finding Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity

In order to deal with complexity we must embrace simplicity. In the past, I’ve talked about how marketers are becoming increasingly inundated with data, which is impacting their ability to make good decisions, as well as how the constantly changing marketing technology landscape has made it difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest technologies, which are required to remain both agile and competitive.

Recently, I listed to Robb Smith, social entrepreneur and co-founder of Chrysallis, speak about dealing with complexity at the University of Nevada, Reno TEDx event. In the video, Smith states: “to some degree I think the calling of the transformational era is to find simplicity on the other side of all that complexity. I think that’s the adaptive requirement of our generation.” I enjoyed Smith’s talk because he spoke to the fact that no matter what industry we find ourselves in today, most will agree that we’re all living in a world marked by increasing speed and complexity:

So how do we embrace simplicity in light of all the complexity as it relates to marketing? Below follow a few examples for embracing simplicity in your approach to marketing, along with some tips and resources to get you thinking about how you can apply simplicity to your overall “holistic” marketing approach.

5 Mega TrendsFirst, Understand the 5 Marketing Mega Trends

In his mega complex, mega long post entitled “5 Marketing Meta Trends (The Presentation),” Scott Brinker refers to this transformational shift alluded by Smith in the video above when he states, “as marketers, we’ve been known to be aspirational. But objectively, there is a powerful transformation underway here. But to harness that opportunity, we have to master the challenges of speed and complexity.” In the presentation, he mentions that in order to embrace the challenges of speed and complexity in marketing, there are five meta-trends you must first understand, which include:

  1. The great migration to digital
  2. From media silos to converged media
  3. From communications to experiences
  4. The technologification of marketing
  5. Agile marketing

Once properly understood, making decisions about marketing from a top-level perspective becomes much more simple. To download the full presentation, click here.

Global_Brand_Simplicity2012 Global Brand Simplicity Index

In 2012 the branding firm Siegel + Gale released their 96-page white paper ranking brands across the globe according to their level of simplicity. Among the simplest global brands? Google, McDonalds, IKEA, and Apple.

Methodology for this survey took into consideration such inputs as how each brand was rated on the simplicity/complexity of its products, services, interactions and communications in relation to industry peers, as well as how consistently the brand experience and communications were rated across respondents.

The report found that 80% of consumers more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications. It was also found that brands can use simplicity to not only foster innovation from within, but gain loyalty (Net Promoter Score) in addition to better serving customers and boost profits. Some of the recommendations from the white paper for embracing simplicity include:

  1. Have common sense but no fear. Complexity is, surprisingly, easy to create; it’s the path of least resistance, letting things happen, not making the tough choices. Simplicity takes courage.
  2. Make it simpler to innovate. Empower employees to share ideas and make innovations happen. Coordinate your internal and external resources to speed up execution.
  3. Accept no man-made boundaries. Transform the language in the master contract into plain language. Don’t just rethink your communications, rethink your business.
  4. Get an outside perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. What you believe to be true internally is not always what the market thinks of you.
  5. Know your customer. Understand every detail of the customer experience, because simplicity isn’t as intuitive as you may think: Bigger is not always better, and small is not always beautiful.
  6. Have a big heart. Place empathy for the customer at the heart of product, customer service and experience design.

To download the full version of this white paper, please click here.

IgnitionOneCreating Simplicity from Complexity

Digital marketing solutions company IgnitionOne recently published a white paper entitled ‘The Integrated Marketing Playbook’: How to Create Simplicity from Complexity. This white paper services as a guide for how to apply simplicity to the complex organization from the standpoint of marketing.

“To be successful in this fast moving and dynamic sector,” IgnitionOne says, “marketers will need to tear down the silos between organizational teams, technology, data sets and goals in order to not only drive simplicity, but to also improve results and increase understanding of audiences.”

The Playbook covers such issues as the central challenges to achieving integrated digital marketing, how to  centralize tools, data and measurement to achieve integrated marketing, and what the payoff is for integrating marketing within the organization. The authors write:

Digital marketing has become so complex due to the multitude of point solutions, each with their own data sets and their own way of looking at the conversion path. Similar silos set up in our own organizations end up working against central marketing goals by putting the focus on the success of individual tactics or channels. This structure does not have to be the norm. It is possible to integrate your marketing. Break down those silos, break down the walls, connect the dots and centralize data, tools and efforts.

In closing, there are many ways you can embrace simplicity and integrate the concept into your marketing efforts. What are some of the ways in which you are embracing simplicity into your own brand? What are some of the complexities you’re finding it the most difficult to deal with?

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