Margaret Molloy: The power of simplicity

Margaret Molloy: The power of simplicity

Keep it simple, stupid! Or, nor Margaret Molloy, Global CMO at Siegel + Gale puts it a little more delicately: “Great marketing leaders simplify.”

Molloy believes people often misunderstand simplicity. “It’s an experience someone has with your brand at the intersection of clarity and surprise,” she explains. However, far too many marketing leaders take a reductive approach to simplicity, opting to strip everything away. In truth, simplicity is knowing what to strip away and what to leave behind.

But why does it help brands? How can brands achieve it? Molloy breaks down simplicity, simply.

How to keep it simple

Simplicity, Molloy argues, is a commitment. It must have leadership support. She offers some practical steps for marketing leaders keen to keep it simple.

“Leadership has to reward and incentivize simplicity. Secondly, achieve clarity by using plainer language. Thirdly, start with a deep understanding of your customer journey. People don’t always understand holistically the journey, and when they do, they struggle to understand which stage to simplify.”

Molloy also argues that simplicity occurs through innovation, but brands should not limit this to the product. For example, Dollar Shave Club innovated its service rather than the product to offer subscriptions, thereby delivering a simpler experience for its customers. This is not limited to B2C products, however. It is vital for B2B brands, especially during a period of economic uncertainty.

“Think of people as users, not buyers. That shift is super material because it means the content, you’re creating isn’t merely sales enablement, and your job isn’t done when the proverbial cash register rings. The job is done as the client renews their commitment to you, as the user experiences the product.”

There are also several characteristics of marketing leaders that embrace simplicity:

  1. Humble: That can manifest itself in speaking plainly.
  2. Plain but powerful language: For example, Steve Jobs launched the iPod with ‘A thousand songs in your pocket.’
  3. Create psychological safety: People can say what they think without fear of repercussion.
  4. Respect the process but allow for creativity
  5. Very data-driven

When marketing leaders achieve simplicity, this feeds through to the brand, Molloy explains.

“Behind every brand that delivers a simpler experience, is a leader who fundamentally and inherently believes in the power of simplicity.”

The power of simplicity

Siegel + Gale has spent several years researching the power of simplicity, and how it affects customer relationships. From trust to loyalty to willingness to pay, it positively impacts the entire scope of a marketer’s measurement toolkit.

“Firstly, simplicity inspires deeper trust, strengthens loyalty, and increases willingness to pay. Trust is intuitive, the correlation between simplicity and trust. If an experience is simple, it inspires confidence, there is less dissonance post-purchase.”

Moreover, Molloy states that more than three-quarters of customers are more likely to recommend a brand if it provides simple experiences, and more than half of customers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.

The impact of simplicity extends beyond the customer. Siegel + Gale has found the brands that rank most highly on its world branding index (based on simplicity) perform higher on the stock market indices. It also impacts the internal culture of a brand, with employees finding it easier to innovate in a simpler environment. Lastly, it will help marketing leaders prepare for an uncertain economic landscape in 2023:

“The primary benefit of embracing simplicity in an uncertain world is that it helps you prioritize.”


00:10 – Introduction

00:51 – What do you think makes a great marketing leader?

01:53 – What does simplicity mean to you?

04:09 – Why is it important for brands to simplify?

06:55 – What are some of the ways a brand can simplify?

09:43 – Does simplicity also apply to B2B brands?

12:28 – How can marketing leaders embody simplicity?

16:28 – How would embracing simplicity help marketing leaders prepare for 2023?

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Margaret Molloy is the Global CMO of Siegel+Gale, the global brand-led experience firm behind the “Simple is smart.” ethos. A frequent convenor of CMOs, she is a top marketing voice on LinkedIn, and host of the popular Future of Branding web series and How CMOs Commit podcast.

Margaret delivers breakthrough marketing and business development programs that grow awareness, profit, and team pride. She brings sense and sensibility—a blend of analytics and creative thinking—to everything she does. She is one of Forbes’ top 5 Most Influential CMO on Social, The Drum’s 2017 Marketer of the Year (The Drum), and a previous ClickZ contributor.

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