This is a guest post from Anna Maria Virzi, one of Gartner’s foremost content marketers. Anna Maria also writes about travel and food at her blog http://www.anna-maria.com (she is, after all, Italian). When I started researching the less-is-more movement in marketing, I discovered her passion for the topic; here she provides insight into the things that conspire against simplicity.
Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. But, in fact, it’s making things more complicated. As a consumer, messages are coming from every which way: SMS, MMS, instant message applications, email, Dropbox and other channels.
As an employee, we’re expected to log into self-service tools for travel, health insurance, employee training and a myriad of other tasks. While these communication and productivity tools are supposed to make us all more efficient, it’s having the opposite effect. Instead, it’s a chore to navigate and manage. Technology gets in the way of completing essential tasks or just having fun.
That’s one reason why achieving “simplicity” resonates with so many people. Google, in fact, won a Grand Prix Mobile at Cannes last month for its technology —an inexpensive virtual-reality reader made out of cardboard— that embodies its number-one corporate value: “Simplicity is Everything.” It also explains why easy-to-use apps such as Uber and Airbnb have won so many converts.
Marketers struggle with simplicity. Why? It’s counterintuitive.
Also conspiring against simplicity: the egos and personalities of diverse stakeholders in an organization. Take your company’s digital presence as an example. If you’re in B2B, you’ll want a strong call to action for an upcoming webinar on your Web and mobile sites—and insist that messaging is included in your email newsletter and across social channels. Meanwhile, developers are tinkering with new and improved functionality and features.
Every time an element is added to your Web or mobile site, is something removed?
Likely not. Before you know it, customer experiences are designed by committee—by and for committee members. Somewhere along the way, the customer was forgotten. Taking an “outside-in view” of business has become popular again, fueling the need for simplicity and most importantly, recognizing respect for people’s time.