Tobias Wilson
Jun 23, 2015

Complexity is dead

If you don't know the technical details of the poster glue used on your outdoor campaigns, writes Tobias Wilson, why would care about the technical details of your digital spending? Instead, focus on simple, timeless objectives.

Tobias Wilson
Tobias Wilson

First of all, marketers, let me apologise for my industry. We’re responsible for inundating you with conversations held exclusively using acronyms, 200-page Powerpoint decks that barely resemble English and a whole lot of stuff you don’t need.

So, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into why I think we’re making things way harder than they should be and why we should get back to basics.

The role of marketing in business hasn’t changed for centuries (marketer squashes half-decaf chai latte in rage). Marketers are tasked with marketing the brand, shrinking the sales cycle and generating revenue. So effectively, marketers are charged with two main tasks. Branding and revenue, both of which are imperative to the success of any business. Simple, right?

Now, I can hear you saying that the mediums have become more technical. To this point, I ask, how many of you understand what microphone / mixing desk was used in your last radio ad? What about the intrinsic workings of a printing press? TV? OOH? You get my point. TV, print, radio and OOH, or ‘traditional’ as they’re more commonly known in the industry, are all extremely technical mediums. But you don’t care right? You brief your agency, sign off on the creative and let mediums be mediums.

Why then, when it comes to digital do you need to do a rectal exam and try to understand the technology inside-out before you’ll give it a go? The answer is, you don’t. You need to be comfortable that your audience can be reached, (According to We Are Social and the IAB, 42 per cent of the world’s population is online) and that the creative produced is on brand and on brief. Simple.

The longer you spend in the trenches trying to become an expert in search, social, display, programmatic, analytics, front-end development or back-end development, the more confused you will get and the higher the ‘digital mountain’ in front of you will seem, and the easier it becomes to ‘abandon the expedition’.

Now, I’m not going to point fingers directly but maybe that’s just what certain companies actually want you to do? If they can successfully confuse you enough about the ‘new’ and therefore bring you comfort in the ‘old’ then their archaic, slow and dated business plans are safe. However, if you treat marketing as marketing and mediums as mediums then you’re on the path to true marketing effectiveness and most of all, some well-deserved simplicity.

Your job as a marketer is to get your brand in front of your target audience, using a message that will motivate them to purchase your product. Your job isn’t to sit in glass boardrooms being fed endless Powerpoints about who’s got the right microphone / printing press / camera / poster glue. Your job as a marketer is to generate brand recognition and revenue for your business, that’s it, and thankfully both of these are extremely easy to measure.

So, the next time you’re sitting there with your thesaurus out trying to translate what’s being said to you, then stop the meeting and ask three questions.

1. Show me how you’re going to reach my audience?
2. Show me what creative you’re going to reach them with?
3. Show me how you’re going to prove the effectiveness of this strategy?

If the people in front of you can’t answer those three questions then you have my permission to politely show them the door.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of brilliant minds in our industry, many of them sitting right here in Asia and they know who they are. What I’m saying is that there is an increasing pool of people who are hiding behind hyper-technical gobbledygook that aren’t there to help you to deliver better marketing to your consumers, they’re there to confuse you into fragmenting your marketing even further and hitting their sales targets.

Don’t buy into the complexity, marketing is as simple as it’s always been and you should expect exactly what you expected 50 years ago, increased brand awareness and or revenue, depending on the brief.

How your agency partner gets you there is up to them, their job depends on it.

After selling his agency, @ccomplice, to APD in January, Tobias Wilson is now CEO of APD in Singapore and vice chairman of the IAB.



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