3 Ways to Simplify Your Marketing Back in the day, marketing was pretty simple. You created a mass marketing campaign that captured your target audiences’ attention, told them about your product or service, and enticed them with a call to action. Of course it was never that simple, but compared to today’s marketing responsibilities, that model of marketing was like smacking that red “easy” button from Staples.

For many reasons, marketing today is hyper complex. Whether you’re introducing a new content strategy, new technology roll-out, new focus on revenue or new data-driven culture, marketing is so damn complicated.

Why so complex?

Yes, technological advancements and shifts are making things more complicated. This is one of the main reasons buyers buy differently and marketers must market differently. But marketing complications seem even more exacerbated now that more CEOs have begun to scrutinize their CMO’s efforts. And for good reason. Gone are the days of marketing being considered a cost center. Marketing is now the brand’s command center from a revenue generation perspective. And in the end, revenue is a brand’s lifeline—so all eyes are watching marketers and they cannot afford to stumble.

Does complexity yield better results?

In some cases, increased complexity is a good thing. Take machine learning for instance, which is the construction of algorithms designed to help computers learn from data. Over time, these algorithms have become more complex, which has translated into better insight, performance and results. For context, think about of Google’s 500+ algorithm changes from Google Boston in 2002 to Google Pigeon in 2014.

this-old-marketing-podcastCan’t the same argument be made for marketing? Short answer…Nope. An increasingly complex marketing environment is a detriment, not an advantage. Here’s why: In their This Old Marketing podcast, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose discussed a recent McKinsey report on mega-trends that will influence marketings growth. One of these mega-trends is speed as in a marketer’s need to speed up their “digital tempo.” And complexity is the enemy of such speed.

According to the report, “this culture of urgency means that marketers need a new agility, plus the management skills and organizational clout to bring other functions together at a higher clock speed.” So a number of leading marketers are reforming their complex organizations to better align with this culture. To compete, simplicity is the name of the marketing game now.

How to other industry thought leaders weigh in?

Like the McKinsey report and leading marketers, many thought leaders are focused on marketing simplicity. I recently spoke with three such thought leaders and this is what they had to say.

  1. jay-baerCapture Content First then Format Into Cross-Media AssetsJay Baer wrote an interesting blog post on how to better leverage your marketing department’s limited resources. He also predicts that marketers will “embrace cooperative content” which means using a large number of employees, customers and business partners to create content across a large variety of topics
  2. david-meerman-scottSimplify Sales and Marketing Roles—As marketing departments transition from cost centers to profit centers in the eyes of their CFOs and CEOs, some industry experts are predicting a sales and marketing convergence into one department. David Meerman Scott, believes it will happen sooner rather than later. Why? “It’s not about marketing doing one thing and sales doing another because from the buyer’s perspective it’s all the same.”
  3. michael-brennerDissolve all of marketing into three areas—I am a firm believer in marketing departments using “The power of three” whenever they find the opportunity. So when I spoke to Michael Brenner about his top predictions, this one hit home. “Marketing organizations will shift away from silos based on channel or functional ownership. Branding, advertising, PR, demand generation—all will begin to dissolve into three areas: data, technology, and content.”

Where do you see your marketing department heading? Is complexity rearing it’s ugly head or will that good ol’ KISS design principle save the day? I’ll let you know how we handle our own marketing operations complexity in a future blog post.