We marketers love to get precious about our work.

Which often means we over complicate it.

Funnels, segments, ABM, messaging, personas, nurture paths…all designed to create a hyper-personalized, nuanced marketing program that deftly meets every customer in the precise moment in time we need to, with carefully crafted messaging that’s tailored while also being educational, helpful and useful.

It’s what everyone tells us to do, right?

Except for most companies, it’s not what’s needed. (Or at least, not yet).

What we forget is that unless we are one of the iconic brands of the era, most people:

  1. Don’t really know us
  2. Don’t really know what we do
  3. Don’t really care….until they need to.

Fundamentally, that’s marketing’s problem to solve. Which means that rather than gently and subtly crafting every piece of content and every campaign to be hyper-nuanced, we need to be marketing to people more in the style of smacking 2x4s upside the head.

Relentless clarity. More simplicity. FAR more repetition and consistency.

Because while the digital world makes a lot of things faster, it also makes it a noisy, crowded, saturated marketplace. A marketplace where you’re not just competing with companies in your space, you’re competing with every company, individual content creators, media properties, and the latest episode of Witcher.

And the odds of someone catching, retaining and acting on your message are slim. So we have got to get back to basics.

I spend most of my days looking at the digital strategies and content programs of companies of all sizes, and what I can tell you with assurance is that most of them are over-engineered. Demand gen is competing with corporate branding who isn’t talking to comms and then the lines of business want their own customized marketing, too because personas. It’s madness.

And it’s super uncomfortable for brands with huge marketing teams and staggering budgets to think that they have to simplify rather than make things more complex for the audiences and markets that they’ve spend countless hours trying to research and understand.

But customer’s don’t segment themselves. They don’t give themselves complicated psychographic profiles or care whether the content they’re reading came from the demand team or the talent team or the social media team.

They want to work with brands that solve their problems, that employ good people, that make them look good by association (remember, no one ever got fired for buying IBM), and that above all they understand.

If they don’t know who you are and how you can help them – whether today or in the future – you’ve already lost the battle, and all the “personalization” in the world isn’t going to fix that.

So as you’re putting your 2020 plans in motion, ask yourself if your marketing has the 2×4 factor. Is it clear? Is it repeatable and consistent? Is it obvious to a complete stranger who you are and what you do? Are you sure?

If not, that’s the place to start. And honestly, if you slow down and simplify and settle in for the long haul, you’ll be ahead of the competition. Because most of them…aren’t.

2x4s aren’t sexy. They aren’t flashy. They aren’t trendy. But they build and support the frame of the house for as long as it stands.

Your marketing needs them, too.