Pablo Picasso has said of his process to make a sculpture: “I take a slab of stone and remove everything that I don’t need.” He added, “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” The same concept can be applied to marketing plans, making them more powerful by chipping away elements and tactics that stand in the way of success.
Today’s customers face many complexities: A dizzying frenzy of data overload, technology options, media fragmentation, product choice and message clutter. It’s a marketer’s role to understand when and where to chisel away at a strategy to create clarity that drives action.
Over 50 years ago, Alvin Toffler, author of the 1970 book “Future Shock,” talked about a marketplace characterized by too many products, media fragmentation and advancing technology. He predicted that consumers would be overwhelmed by too many choices and decisions. He was right.
Recently, psychologist Barry Schwartz explained that too many choices – i.e. complexity – causes people to be stressed and overwhelmed, which leads to non-participation or delayed decision making.
Applying the logic of decision fatigue and paralysis to campaigns can result in longer sales cycles and fewer conversions. To thrive and grow, eliminating complexity is a modern-day marketing priority.
Bring more clarity to your marketing programs by collecting information and chiseling away complexity. Find what matters, do what matters and execute on your plan.
Too many choices can be paralyzing: Get organized and focus on what’s important to your business, your customers and your prospects. Understand your customers intimately: What do they need, why do they buy from you and what influences their decisions? Find ways to get feedback directly from your customers, like focus groups or surveys. Create with your buyer personas in mind.
Use data to connect dots, not just to measure performance. Consider A/B testing for messaging and platforms. Look at past results, focusing on what did or did not work to find patterns or infer causes. Dig deep to understand the information you have available. Determine what’s working, eliminate the things that aren’t.
Don’t be afraid to chisel and hammer away, the more you eliminate, the clearer the path forward will become.
In 1897, economist Vilfredo Pareto stated that 20% of our efforts produce 80% of the results. The 80/20 rule means that a relatively small number of things you do as a marketer are likely producing outsized results. Of course it isn’t always easy to isolate the 20% that’s working well, but it is a certainty that there are relatively few things you are doing today that are resulting in the greatest return.
Rather than chasing shiny objects and the next best idea, turn inward and examine what’s working now and double-down on the efforts that are making a difference. When you’ve maximized these, look to expand your efforts.
This focus will create greater efficiency, produce greater return and help reduce complexity for you and your customers.
Once you’ve found what really matters and have a plan to do what matters, eliminate complexity from the process. Keep your strategy focused on what matters most by removing what doesn’t serve your goals or gets in the way of success.
The narrower your marketing strategy focus, the more you can achieve desirable results. The more complex the plan, the greater the chance to introduce error, waste time or money, and add undo stress and anxiety to your team and your customers.
Many great ideas have been killed because they were just too complicated to execute.
The intersection of rapid change, choice proliferation, media fragmentation, message clutter and dwindling consumer attention spans has created a cobweb of complexity for marketers to navigate.
As a result, there is a new marketing imperative: to connect brands to clarity. To chip away the unnecessary and create simplified experiences that stand out, engage, and turn consumer confusion and indecision into action.
It all starts with clarity. So, pick up a chisel and start hammering at the complexity surrounding your brand today.