Food for thought: How CMOs are achieving simplicity

We ask several marketing leaders to explain how they strive to bring simplicity to life

Ask any CEO, and they’ll tell you simplicity is one of the cornerstones to their success. Yet all too often, complexity rules the roost – whether it be through digital, data, processes, language used, organisational silos, brand vision, company goals or purpose.

In the latest in our food for thought series, CMO reached out to several marketing leaders to ask them: How are you striving to achieve simplicity across your marketing function and as a marketing as well as business contributor?

Within this, we asked marketers where in the marketing process and function is simplicity most needed and why, what can cause complexity to arise, and how they’re bringing simplicity to life in a practical way.

Rowan Wilde

Chief customer officer, Help Pay

I hesitate to talk too much about values - corporate communications and marketing is awash with the word. However, taking a step back and focusing on your brand’s values and executing authentically, really provides a true north for marketing.

As marketers we are competing for customer’s attention. When we get it, what the customer experiences needs to resonate in their heads and hearts to be memorable and recalled the next time the customer wants a solution your brand provides.

Rowan WildeCredit: HelpPay
Rowan Wilde

It is very tempting and all too easy to add ‘just one more element’, but by deeply knowing your brand and your customer it becomes easier to add value by stripping things away that once seemed necessary.

HelpPay’s core value, our ‘why’, is that ‘helping should be easier’. That sounds simple, right? We know we are not alone when we say the ‘devil is in the detail’ particularly when we are reviewing the breadth of what can be said, what should be tried and all the ways we could execute. We remind ourselves to step back and focus on why we exist, the benefits for the customer, how we can make what we’re saying so simple the customer can explain it to someone else easily too, and how can we make their life easier.

What we have also found beneficial is opening up to other business owners, marketing leaders and our customers to get their perspectives about our brand and what we’re doing. We have quickly learned there’s nothing like fresh eyes, questions, experiences and conversations to remind ourselves to be authentic and keep it simple.

Mike Doyle

Head of marketing, LSKD

At LSKD, moving fast and reducing complexity is key to connecting us with our community and an essential ingredient in how we inspire them to chase the vibe. A fervent focus on continuous improvement at pace means that simplicity isn’t a ‘nice to have’ - it is the only way.

Three of LSKD’s five core values speak to this pursuit: Move fast and break shit. Fail forward. Dare to think differently. Nothing is impossible. 1 per cent Better Every Day. Embrace change. Reflect and grow. Leaders are teachers. There’s a way to do it better - find it. Innovate. Set the standard. Do more with less.

Mike DoyleCredit: Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
Jarrod FloodCredit: flybuys
Jarrod Flood

The marketing team mirrors the rest of the organisation’s willingness to test, try and fail fast. A market response, not boardroom debates, is what we’re looking for and we fire lots of ‘bullets’ to find the ideas we should fire a ‘cannonball’ at. It’s an approach Jim Collins shared with us and that features in his book, Great By Choice.

Scale and complexity are best mates, no doubt they hang out on weekends. That means the battle to keep things simple is on-going, but the LSKD antidote is not more rules, it’s actually the opposite. Directional focus, sharing, transparency and trust mean LSKD has far fewer policies and rules than many organisations of similar size and scale. Team members are empowered to deliver results.

Everyone knows what we’re trying to achieve so they can seek out solutions that are aligned with the business objectives and deliver outcomes that are in the best interest of the organisation.

Jarrod Flood

Head of marketing, Flybuys

Flybuys is an organisation built on driving customer loyalty for more than 20 of Australia’s largest retailers, which brings with it a range of complexity and conflicting goals. As a marketing function, a core focus for us is on simplicity and how we take each of these brands, with their unique goals and objectives and translate them into a cohesive and simple experience for our 8m+ members across the country.

We work hard to ensure our collective processes enable us to achieve those goals – from the way we work internally and how we structure our team, to the way we work with our partners to remove barriers, right through to the way we communicate with members. 

And to do that, we take a deliberate approach to distil what are often nuanced goals into a collective purpose that defines success for Flybuys and translates into positive outcomes for our partners and the Australians that participate in our program. 

As custodians of our member’s data, it is Flybuys’ responsibility to continue to use that data to not only benefit our members through a more beneficial experience across our partner coalition, but to add value beyond points – and simplicity is a key tool we use in achieving those goals, and how we continue to thrive in the new customer economy.

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