Marketing has become extraordinarily complex.
The last decade has introduced countless tactics, methods, techniques, processes, systems, strategies, forces, algorithms and trends into the marketing universe. Internet marketing methods have done more to shake up the marketing industry than anything before.
Businesses, in response, have no idea what to do with their marketing. So instead of clarifying, strategizing, focusing and streamlining, they try to do everything. It's all action and no thinking.
There is an alternative approach to marketing that is gaining traction -- minimalist marketing. Minimalist marketing isn't another technique to throw into the mix. Instead, it is an attempt to eliminate unnecessary marketing practices and focus on the essentials.
Here is how minimalist marketing thinkers are changing the marketing scene.
1. Minimalist marketing is guided by strategy.
The sine qua non of minimalist marketing is that it relies on strategy.
What is the alternative to acting on strategy? Using a hodge podge of tactics. Much of modern marketing, complicated as it is, relies on a string of try-and-fail tactics. One tactic after another rises and falls in succession as marketers grab for whatever's hot, whatever's easy or whatever happens to capture their fancy.
Minimalist marketing, by contrast, admits that tactics come and go, but a solid strategy will help to guide the way.
Tactics are the how of marketing, and obviously necessary. But strategy is the what -- the ultimate objective that serves as marketing's guiding star. Keeping this strategy at the forefront is what can turn a complex marketing labyrinth into a streamlined powerhouse.
2. Minimalist marketing employs more systems and fewer people.
A marketing team with a lot of people can quickly become complex. Issues as mundane as workflow and as complex as interdepartmental tensions or conflict can derail your marketing.
A minimalist approach uses more systems and software, and fewer people. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with having a large marketing team. Many businesses are big enough to need a larger team. Even then, minimalist marketing knows that the best use of such personnel is to manage the systems.
When an employee spends her time doing something that software can do faster and more accurately, it introduces bloat and waste into your marketing process.
3. Minimalist marketing is sequential.
There's one thing that complicates marketing more than anything else, and that is trying a variety of techniques at the same time.
When you try a lot of techniques at once, you risk wasting your money and confusing your results. For instance, you may see results from all your efforts, but you aren't sure which tactics are responsible for those results.
Minimalist marketing, by contrast, tries one thing at a time. It is sequential. When you focus on one thing at a time, you can do a far better job on it. Besides, you'll be able to easily track its ROI and quickly determine whether to continue or discontinue it. A final reason you should try one thing at a time is because you can systemize it, thus allowing it to run itself after a while.
4. Minimalist marketing focuses on quality, not quantity.
It's probably cliché to say it, but quality over quantity is an essential part of marketing.
We know this intuitively when it comes to content marketing and content shock. Unfortunately, however, many businesses still believe that a greater quantity of information, articles, posts, guests posts, tweets, social media platforms, ads, impressions, metrics and infographics will by force of volume improve their marketing.
It won't. More than ever before, quality matters. And, gratefully, quality is a minimalist approach that will simplify, essentialize and improve your marketing.
5. Minimalist marketing spends less time on reports.
One of the fixtures of marketing in the past and present are reports.
Whatever these reports are, they are not useful. Many times, marketers spend hours of painstaking labor to create impressive graphs and charts for the business brass. These graphs and charts might get a glance on a PowerPoint display or a quick skim on a printed sheet, but they rarely produce the kind of results that justify the labor and intensity that's put into creating them.
They are packed with information, but are tragically low on action.
There is a solution: fewer reports.
Nathan Baker of Raven Tools explains that there are three "essential ingredients of a minimalist online marketing report," which are:
Data showing the progress of an important goal
What marketing metrics you are tracking
Actions that need to happen based on this data
A report like this can eliminate all kinds of unnecessary crud from the marketer's process. Plus, it can run itself.
Marketing = simplified.
6. Minimalist marketing focuses on the most essential and successful tasks.
My final point circles back to our starting point -- strategy.
If you have a clear marketing strategy, then you will be able to focus only on those marketing tasks that help you to achieve that strategy:
Focus on marketing tasks that are essential. In other words, these are the marketing tasks that your business depends on to get more clients that will introduce more revenue.
Focus on marketing tasks that are successful. In other words, these are the marketing tasks that have a proven ROI. They get results.
Any marketing tasks that are neither essential nor successful do not need to take up your time.
Minimalist marketing is more successful marketing.
When you eliminate the inessentials and hone your focus, you can't help but become more productive, earn more revenue, eliminate more waste, save more resources and build a better business.
Marketing thinker Matt Cheuvront writes,
When one thing becomes 'too much', a new more simplified platform steps forward, it's a cycle we've seen time and time again.
As businesses realize that their marketing has become fragmented and wasteful, they will find the solution in minimalist marketing.
What are your thoughts on minimalist marketing? Is it a viable approach to online marketing?