Simplicity can be a curse
Our natural instinct is to disregard the unknown and fear what we don’t understand. In an environment that is very simple, complicated things are seen with skepticism. Hollywood made good money from a series based on a coke bottle falling down from a Cessna onto an African tribe that didn’t know what it was (The Gods must be crazy). There are countless examples of how individuals, teams, businesses, and even ideas that were ahead of time were either killed or outcast as the society at that time could not bite into it with ease.
However, it’s the reverse that’s also true. In a complicated ecosystem, it’s ‘simplicity’ that becomes unknown and non-understandable. And ahead of its time.
What we’re battling isn’t simple or complex. It’s not about what we think is complicated, simple, equal, easy or difficult.
Countless authors and speakers have said enough and I don’t intend to any more than they have already. However, change forms the basis for my line of business – Tech Marketing.
This assumption above pushes your marketing to accept change. Not timely change. Unprecedented and unassuming change that would otherwise bring a process or a function to its knees. Change that has tremendous resistance – from operations as well as sales. And most importantly Change that assures no success in the future for the marketing process. To be more dramatic – if the marketing decides to turn the ship 30 degrees to starboard, the onus of the failure lies on marketing while the first toast to success will be borne by operations. Or is that right?
Let’s talk about the good part of this argument. Assume your marketing function accepts change easily. They buy into this philosophy and agree to disagree with operations and sales on where to turn the ship. Will this really impact your balance sheets? Where does this exactly help or not-help?
Fear of change goes away. Having established that something that’s not understood causes fear, your marketing teams no longer fear change. What this means is last minute changes to presentations, webinar catastrophes, and event fiascos. This seems like an easy thing to achieve in principle, but on the execution floor, every marketer worth his salt knows this cannot be achieved without experience. In a world where you do at most 10 events in a year, that’s just not enough experience to go with.
Innovation is no longer a BIG word. In the pursuit of change, a lot of marketing landscape will get plowed. Thereby making seeding very easy – even in the remotest corners of your market’s real estate. That which we call innovation will become a daily activity for your marketing teams. You’ll see them taking risks, and being able to understand accurately why they failed and succeeded. These learnings within the marketing function are an invaluable asset that marketing functions should strive for to be able to justify budgets and insure the future of a campaign.
Staying ahead of the curve. The basic premise is that your 80% revenues should be driven by 20% of your customers. When you are driving change, it’s the top 20% of the world that’ll do business with you since they are exactly in the same boat as you.
Let’s call it the Change Boat – for kicks.
To bring a change into existence, you should lead and others should follow. Since you’ll drive change to those 20% customers (who themselves are at the top of their game), the rest 80% will in fact take your change to your competition. Your competition, having not prepared for this will have to play catch up. By which time, you’d have set another change into motion. Seth Godin calls this the dip, and the marketing teams at Apple, Microsoft, and Google have successfully pulled off these stunts time and again.
The recent Egyptian ‘almost-civil-war’ is a stark example of why change demands marketing and how marketing can bring that change. The revolution was started on Facebook by youngsters and non-activists. Unlike what the regime claims, the entire episode was planned in advance by these individuals on twitter on facebook. Another point to social media – yay ! As the change caught the media eye, the sheer marketing of this revolution drove the Mubarak regime to extinction. Note this wasn’t the same case with Tunisia where the fate of the country still hangs in balance.