How Doing Less Saves More

January 22, 2019

Does the unwieldy proliferation and abundance of more channels, more tools, more content keep you up at night? As a marketer, your reality is increasing expectations, demands and standards. Everything is increasing except your budget.

Consider consumers:

They’re all about instant fulfillment. Browsers, shoppers and buyers want to be appreciated and catered to—right away, in real time. They operate as markets of one and expect personalized content, not because of what segment or demographic they happen to be in, but rather in response to their unique, one-of-a-kind moving and shaking. What they search for, dump in their carts, feed their children, buy their spouses, grandkids and pets. For marketers, this translates to more versions of content – specialized, customized, personalized, and always more of it.

+ Channels and platforms:

Your always-on, connected consumer gathers information and receives messages through – what one popular blogger claims – is over 120 communication methods. The perfect union of the internet and digital technology has been churning out channels for decades, and there is no chance this number is ever going to decrease. Yes, some will lose allure and relevancy but innovators will continue to mastermind new avenues of reach to add to the available snaps, tweets and posts of today. And marketers will forever be taxed with selecting or deselecting each of these channels, and then be accountable for knowing how each is performing and measuring up. Unavoidable; always and forever – there will be more options of communication channels and platforms.

+ Technology, too:

Each year, Scott Brinker’s kaleidoscope-like view of MarTech logos becomes twice as densely colorful. Since 2011, it has been the perfect picture of this crammed space. In 2018 the total number of marketing technology solutions landed at 6,829 – roughly equivalent to the combined total of all the landscapes he produced through 2017! Rapid growth, going nowhere but up. For every challenge, there’s a techie ready to develop a tool and then dozens to replicate and improve on techie #1’s solution, and so it goes and goes.

One might react by:

Adding…more. Traditionally and somewhat naturally, marketing organizations have answered the call of more content and channels by adding processes, teams, workflows and tools to produce more content to service more channels. Even reputable, successful, smart brands get caught up in what Marc Prichard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, calls the “content crap trap” resulting in massive amounts of unfocused branded content. Prichard admits that, “In our quest to do dynamic, real-time marketing in the digital age, we were producing thousands of new ads, posts, and tweets because we thought the best way to cut through the clutter was to create more ads.” This is not the case. Responding to the demands and options of more with more is simply compounding marketers’ challenges.

The irony – the most effective way to approach problems associated with abundance, choices and more of everything? By simplifying. Doing less. Culling. Figuring out what’s essential and making decisions based solely on that.

Do less to produce more content:

The consumer expects it and retailers, publishers and brands must deliver it – more and better content. Marketing organizations structured around producing content assets separately for each individual channel will not be able to keep up and service the always-on, fully connected consumer. Approaching content production from a content-first methodology means that you only produce content assets (photographs, product descriptions, copy, etc.) one time, using one team, following one process. Those content assets are stored in one location ready to be deployed to any channel. Mapping out what is essential to a process based on content needs and getting rid of all of the excess and redundancy is the way that modern marketers succeed.

Optimize channels to get better response

Every marketing campaign correlates to an optimal combination of channels based on consumer insights, analytics, product, brand, message, objective, etc. Simply, there are some channels that are essential to getting the best responses and optimizing a campaign and others that are not. The key is to select and deselect channels based on each campaign. The idea of omni-channel or being everywhere is faulty, and is intensifying the trend of retail and brand marketers becoming less and less effective. Lots goes into formulating and then orchestrating the best mix of channels for any given campaign. It should never be simply all channels just because they are there or new and trendy.

Do less for the future. Modern marketers must respond to the challenge of too much by finding what is absolutely essential and then getting rid of the unnecessary – finding optimal steps, processes and workflows is the only way forward for marketers who want to be agile and impactful in a time of message mania.