As humans and professionals, we often tend to over complicate things. We sometimes do that to look smarter, other times to sound complex. Sales teams frequently do that to increase value. Outsourcing services, to justify an action or delay – and the list goes on. But the result of all of that is that we are actually achieving the opposite of our intention.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Specifically, in our field of expertise – marketing – it’s pretty easy to overcomplicate things and get lost among so many tools, strategies, goals, jargon, social media channels, events, initiatives, etc. The landscape of options available for marketers is just overwhelming and things seem too complex to simplify, but they are actually not.
Well… where should I get started?
But the truth is, you don’t need an army as a team to get things done, you don’t need all of these tools to make things work. You can achieve surprising results in simpler and cheaper ways. Let’s take a look a three mistakes you ar probably making as you race to achieve an optimal productivity for your Content Marketing team – and how you can avoid them all!
Mistake #1: Creating a ‘Frankstool’
With so many options of tools available, it’s no surprise that companies are hiring tools focused exclusively on a small part of the whole. For example, when creating your marketing processes you could hire a tool just for landing pages, another one just for email marketing, another one just for SEO analysis, another one just for lead scoring, another one just for ad-management OR, you could just hire Hubspot.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein
Let’s take another example, this time on the content side of things. How many companies have you seen using a mix of spreadsheets, google docs, word docs, emails, project management tools, social media distribution tools, analytics tools, emails again and SEO tools? What if they centralize all such information under the same umbrella with a content marketing platform – how much time would be saved? Could missed information be avoided?
How to avoid Mistake #1: Choose an All-in-one Tool
All-in-one tools are a great option for companies who are focused on results instead of the confetti and streamers.
It connects different parts of the same process, automates manual tasks, centralizes information and unifies processes so everyone needs to learn one single tool. On top of all that, it also helps retain knowledge as an active asset to your company.
Mistake #2: Building Your Own Platform Internally
“We need a tool for this, but the options in the market are too expensive, let’s build it internally”. It may sound silly but I’ve heard this story a hundred times – and it’s probably the most non-sense one. By deciding to build a new tool internally, you are overcomplicating things not only in economic terms but in efficiency and in focus terms.
If building software is not your core competency, you shouldn’t invest resources in it. Why? Because it will probably cost you much more considering the time your team will take to develop a proper platform and also maintenance to make sure integrations and technology don’t get outdated.
I mean, how on earth would you be able to build the best CMS on the market, even knowing there are dozens of high-level companies doing exactly that for decades? Will you have a team constantly working on fixing it and improving it? Have you calculated that the market changes, your needs changes and you will need to keep perfecting this tool of yours or all the time previously invested in it was just a waste? Have you measured the database costs of it?
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. ” – Antonie de Saint-Exupéry
How to Avoid Mistake #2: Don’t Build, Hire Partners
Hire, instead of building, and ensure you have an engineering team working full time on it and an account manager always at your disposal as well as new features and improvements coming from time to time – while you focus on your core competence.
“Even the graphic is simple”
Mistake #3: Gathering a Complex Team From Day 1
“In order to achieve our goals this quarter, we will need a team of 10 people (one writer, one editor, one intern, one SEO expert, one designer, one translator, one AdWords expert, four freelancers, one conversion specialist and one agency)”.
Will. You. Really? I don’t think so.
Of course, down the road, if things are going well and this hypothesis is proving itself and you want to ramp up your efforts as well as your results, you should definitely invest more resources on this. But before that, just start with the basics and build your way up.
“Less is more” – Mies Van Der Rohe
How To Avoid Mistake #3: Gather a Small and Skillful e Team
Get together a small team that congregates exactly the skills that you need to get the job done. Allow the team to integrate well and grow organically as the necessities arise. Such decision will directly impact your flexibility to test better processes and the most fitting technology for your needs. The smaller the team, the easier it is to adapt team members to new processes and software.
Over to you
The Occam’s Razor principle, which states that the simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations, fits well to this moment. Such principle could be applied in any reality, not only in economics or physicians. Just like Steve Jobs applied the KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) principle at Apple and it has influenced all of their product decisions since then, or Berkshire Hathaway’s strategy who states that people haven’t copied their investment strategy because they think it is too simple.
When facing a latent problem, which one would you choose: a simple rule of thumb or a complex solution? Like most marketers out there, you have probably gone for the latter (and regretted) far too many times. So what advice would you give to your younger and less experienced self when facing the urge of choosing the most arduous way?
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