Advertising Technology

K.I.S.S. A Personal Resolution.

One of the most prophetic things I have ever heard came from my college Organizational Behavior professor and it was “K.I.S.S… Keep It Simple Stupid.”

It is my resolution in 2013 to make K.I.S.S. a daily practice and I would like to encourage folks to do the same.

Over the past year our industry has become increasing complicated, while we claim to be more efficient. We have buy-side services and technologies to make media buying more efficient, we have data management platforms to make the aggregation of data more efficient, we have supply-side services and technologies to make access to inventory more efficient, and we have measurement services to maintain the efficacy of brand safety and media accountability.

While efficiency is a good thing, being overly complicated is not. There is a better way – and it comes from simplifying our communications.
So in the name of simplicity, here are some things I plan to keep top of mind and I hope you will too:

  • No more acronyms (ironic because I am writing a piece about an acronym). But really, they detract from the value proposition we offer our clients and these acronyms confuse them. So call your product what it is. And make it easy to understand why you add value.
  • Stop saying things are dead. Banner advertising is far from dead, sales teams are from dead, agency account teams are not dying, and be honest – the click is far from dead. So why not simply talk about the evolution and the maturing of our industry and our desire to better serve our clients?
  • It is the year of_________. You fill in the blank. Let’s face it, the year is 2013 and the goal of our clients this year, last year, decades before and in future decades has been and will be to effectively communicate with consumers about their products or services. Let’s talk about how we help simplify that process and enable our clients to achieve their goals.
  • Retire jargon that is not followed up with a definition of value: premium, exclusive, transparent, turn-key – if we can’t simply tell our clients why these terms are meaningful to them let’s drop them from our vernacular.
  • Get real about automation. Honestly — machines will not render humans ineffectual, but they will simplify the transactional process and leave us to do what only we can do best cultivate relationships and strategically and creatively think and apply concepts to business practices. That’s the reality we must embrace.

Simplicity is often viewed as less remarkable, but I tend to disagree. To simplify things takes an elegance in communication and a gift to make overly complicated concepts understandable to someone who does not live and breathe what we do every day.

The benefit of simplicity far outweighs the perception of intelligence. When we can be simplistic in our communications, we have the ability to capture the attention of our audience, give clarity on our offering, focus their attention on what matters to them, eliminate wasted time proposing irrelevant solutions, and effectively close business.

It is not a simple task, yet in the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”


Shelly is a contributor at The Makegood and VP of Marketing Services at quadrantONE, a joint venture of the media companies Tribune Company, Gannett Co., Inc., Hearst Corporation and The New York Times Company.