Following Leonardo Da Vinci, Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. It is not a given, it doesn't come like that, unfortunately. Some says that it is one of the most complicated skills.
Do you think Simplicity is important for your Marketing? Is it a compulsory process for being successful with your Marketing? Why some Brands are capable to be extremely simple while others are complex, sometimes leading to confusion or frustration? Let's investigate.
What do we mean by being Simple or Simplicity?
Before finding out if Simplicity is important, let's have a common understanding of what Simplicity is! Some external definitions could help us.
Quality or condition of being easy to understand or do (1)
Simplicity lies at the intersection of remarkably clear and unexpectedly fresh. Brands that deliver clear, human and useful experiences—win (2)
The question is then the following: Do we believe that being remarkably clear and easy to understand is impacting positively the efficiency and effectiveness of our Marketing actions? Differently said, if we are complex and unclear, do we have a worst ROI?
61% - The percentage of consumers who are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications (2)
64% -The percentage of consumers willing to pay more for simpler experiences (2)
62% -Employees who can be considered Brand Champions in companies perceived to be simple (2)
The single biggest driver of stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity”—the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options. What consumers want from marketers is, simply, simplicity. (3)
A recent A.T. Kearney analysis estimates that, on average, systematic complexity management can lead to an upturn in EBIT of 3 to 5 percentage points. A.T. Kearney estimates the additional EBIT potential for DAX companies alone to be worth more than €30 billion overall.
We can say that there is a consensus about the impact of simplicity on company performance (commercially and financially).
Now that we have validated the fact that Simplicity delivers Value, the question is what should I do for making it happen (just do it might not work without some help)?
Some tips that might help you...
Simplicity doesn’t mean being boring. It is just being clear and consistent. I have noticed that marketers like to start new things but are easily bored when they have to manage existing business. This propensity to launch continuously new concepts might be a root cause for creating complexity and confusion. Let’s think about VW Golf. It is still the same concept but continuously improved. It gives a lot of confidence to customers and clients. It is clear and remarkably fresh because the concept is revisited at each new release. Ensure that you have enough people in your team working on making the existing great, delivering fantastic basics!
Management could be an issue as well. Team members want to demonstrate their creativity and leadership which push them to promote new things. It is good as long as we keep the consistency of the portfolio. Ensure that you give enough recognition to people that deliver easy and useful experiences to your customers more than permanently releasing new concepts on the market.
Be customer centric. We see it more and more hopefully but when you start from product features most of the times you are talking product and not consumer language. It is a real barrier to simplicity. Ensure you always start from consumer needs and talk their language when you build something.
Technology astuteness. Big issue is when Marketers have no clue how the concept will be built! This major gap between idea and technological feasibility leads to endless discussion between production and marketing teams. We see at the end of these discussions the creation of a Frankenstein, a monster product, something you would never do normally. Ensure you have marketers that understand how products are built and use lean/agile methodologies for building new concepts.
Ensure to revisit permanently your portfolio and ask yourself the following questions: how to make it effortless, more simple to understand, more easy to use, more easy to buy, what can we remove, what can we stop doing, …
Consider working in releases. What does it mean? You define 3 months release where you list a number of changes you would like to do on your product for improving it. It can be small changes or global revisit. This will help you structurally to manage the evolution of your product portfolio. Ensure to work in release mode as it will help you balancing improvements and innovation in a consistent way.
Finally, ensure that YOU ARE SIMPLE in the way you work, communicate, manage. Don’t forget LESS IS MORE.
- Cambridge dictionary
- Siegel+Gate (2017) - Global Brands Simplicity Index - http://simplicityindex.com/
- Harvard Business Review - Patrick Spenner, Karen Freeman - To keep your customers, keep it simple -
- ATKearney (2007) - How Much Does Complexity Really Cost?
photo from amazing unsplash.com, igor ovsyannykov