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Why the Nokia 3310 relaunch makes the case for ‘appropriate’ B2B martech

The announcement this week that Nokia is to relaunch it’s classic 3310 pre-smart phone to the masses has been big news around the world. But I was surprised not to have seen any connection made between this news, and the other recent announcement from chemicals giant Inneos it was launching an operation to mass produce the Land Rover Discovery – the grandaddy of commercial off-road vehicles.

In my mind, the link between these two stories is obvious and interesting: it’s the rebirth of supposedly obsolete technology into a world that had supposedly moved on. In reality, it seems this may have been premature, and that both these products are still ‘appropriate’ in certain markets or for certain customer bases.

Perhaps surprisingly, this notion of ‘appropriate technology’ is not one that has been born out of our instant gratification, rapid obsolescence digital age: it’s actually been around for decades, and was first coined by economist E F Schumacher in his seminal book ‘Small is Beautiful’. More importantly for our purposes, it can readily and easily be applied to marketing technology, the most obvious example being marketing automation.

The examples of where MA platforms have failed due to poor implementation, bad management or low-level implementation, are many and varied. In many instances, companies essentially realise after implementation they have a very expensive email marketing platform. There’s a similar story when you look at CRM, certainly historically.

This explains the enduring and indeed growing popularity of less complex or functionally rich marketing solutions, which do more basic tasks in a simple, or indeed joyfully – Mailchimp is an obvious and well-known example, amongst many others.

So what does this all mean? I’m not suggesting MA or CRM always fail the ‘appropriateness’ test for B2B marketers – far from it. There are many examples of these platforms delivering business-transformational marketing benefits.

But I am questioning whether it’s a given that marketing tech will get more complex, and that marketers will have to be more technologically adept to use it. Or whether it’s the right solution for everyone. The challenge for marketers when considering such platforms is understanding the ‘time to value’ for a new platform – for MA it is likely to be months, if not years.

As we rush headlong into the era of artificial intelligence, it will be interesting to see how the emerging vendors and solutions tackle the challenge of ‘appropriateness’ in their solutions. If we are to take anything from the example of the Nokia 3310 and the Land Rover Discovery, it’s that more complex is not necessarily better. As the old mantra goes: Keep it Simple, Stupid.