Don’t overcomplicate complexity

By: Michiel Scheeren

Today, many people tend to make things more complicated than they already are. Sometimes that’s actually useful. Or even understandable. Things that are normally too simple for words can appear more interesting. More intriguing. And attract more value. And that’s exactly where the marketing manager can gain an advantage.

For instance;

  • Calvé mayonnaise contains Omega 3, which protects against heart disease.
  • Becel Pro-Activ contains plant sterols to lower cholesterol that represents a risk factor for coronary heart diseases. (Seriously?)
  • Eucerin sun spray contains a renewed formula with SPF50 and contains Licochalcone A and Glycyrrhetine acid that protects the skin at the cellular level.

Complicating things to make them more interesting has to end at some point. Especially when things are already complicated in themselves. In those cases, making complex things simpler should be the case! Find the essence and capture that. And unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often.

You can also see this happening in B2B. But in B2B, most cases are already complicated enough… Multiple target audiences and stakeholders. Customised propositions and messaging on different levels, most of the time complex in themselves, and with the difficulty that it is an actual product combined with a service or solution. Well, good luck with that one.

In our business, we see a lot of briefs where another extra ‘complexity touch’ has been added. All topics such as target audiences, messaging and markets are pointed out in endless in-depth details. Five different personas are introduced, as well as five different propositions (which are equally important of course). And for five different markets, which all are known for their own dynamics. If you have a little affinity with mathematics, you’ll know that this will offer you 125 messages in total… And, since all of this information is obtained from very extended market research, you can’t just simplify it. Or can you?

I think this example precisely underlines what is often the case in B2B: simplifying complexity. Or – which sounds less complicated – make complex content simpler. My thought? I think you can only do this when you understand the complexity. Or even better; when you’re embracing complexity. Only then do you have the ability to connect topics and develop clear analysis on specific content. But, you also have to like the complexity. Only then, will you have the ability to make a complex reality simpler, so that others understand what you mean.

It also works the other way. If you don’t understand complexity, you end up with more research, more analysis and more presentations to get to the core. Yes, it all looks overwhelming and impressive, but let’s face it; nobody can work with it. The result: no choices are made, no results are realised.

I would say, let’s embrace complexity and start making complex content simpler – in the right context of course. Only then, can you really add value in B2B.

Would you like to comment on this blog? Send a mail to michiel.scheeren@bovil.nl

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