Today’s marketing environment can be frenetic to say the least, and effective marketing management is all about strategy. Your budget and resource constraints limit the number of activities your team can reasonably support in any given week or month, and making time to accomplish the most important activities demands expert prioritization. Here are four steps for boosting marketing productivity.
1. Build internal relationships. While the quality and volume of your work certainly matter, more often than not, marketing’s organizational effectiveness will be governed by how well you collaborate with other departments outside of your functional silo to accomplish shared goals. To improve cross-functional collaboration, marketing needs to apply the discipline of marketing to itself, and internal selling is key to building credibility with other functional groups. Moreover, natural benefits flow from collaboration, such as spending less time on the offensive defending your marketing budget and resolving issues more quickly and efficiently.
2. Build external relationships. It’s important for marketing not to do so many activities that execution suffers. Creative staffing models such as employing freelancers and part-time staffers can boost marketing productivity without taking on additional full-time staff that may be underutilized after a big marketing push. The better your relationships with external partners, the more cost-effectively and quickly you’ll be able to work.
3. Prioritize. Identify which marketing activities represent the critical few, or the proverbial 80/20, efforts that matter the most. What we say no to doing is often just as important as what we do, so don’t be afraid to speak up or reprioritize when tasks threaten to take you outside of your strategic focus. Respect your constraints and don’t overextend your resources. A review of any urgent, not important (Quadrant III) activities may help to identify areas where you may be able to scale back support. Full-service marketing service providers can augment your full-time staff in a crunch, or offer end-to-end tactical campaign support and help you automate Quadrant III activities.
4. Put marketing technology to work. Marketing technology solutions such as marketing resource management systems improve marketing productivity by automating the processes of campaign management and materials approvals that would otherwise be ad hoc activities, freeing up more marketing staff time to focus on marketing innovation. While marketing technology systems are often robust, it’s important not to become distracted by all of the features and capabilities: Full-service marketing providers can help you to tailor your marketing technology application to best fit your company needs and help administer the software on an on-going basis.
Boosting marketing productivity is within reach and doesn’t have to be a lofty aim. With discipline and focus, you can improve cross-functional collaboration and ultimately work more efficiently with your cross-functional counterparts towards shared goals. Strategies such as going to lunch with one new person outside your functional area each week or asking to attend update meetings for another group can help to build successful internal relationships.
Additionally, building external relationships with vendors such as freelancers and part-time staffers can help you to get the most mileage from your budget, while focus on your top 20 percent of efforts responsible for 80 percent of the results will help to prioritize marketing’s efforts against the most strategic opportunities. Finally, full-service marketing service providers can help to automate tactical campaign support, while marketing technology solutions such as marketing resource management systems can help to free up more staff time to focus on marketing innovation.
What steps have you taken to improve marketing productivity?