Everyone wants to be efficient and productive. We write it on our resumes. We try to demonstrate it in our day-to-day routines. Time management is important to us.
But what does it mean to actually be productive when it comes to marketing?
We’ll answer that question in today’s blog post.
Obstacles to Marketing Productivity
Even the most disciplined employees face productivity roadblocks. Maybe it’s poor planning, or an unanticipated distraction.
Either way, there are a host of obstacles to marketing time management that can impede productivity. Both on an individual and departmental level.
- Lack Of Strategy And Alignment: Sales and marketing alignment is imperative for efficient time use. Think about it: if marketing starts working on a campaign that generates poor quality leads, it’s back to the drawing board. Aligning with sales departments ensures that everything marketing does is in line with sales goals. Furthermore, customers can spot disorganization from a mile away — and it will be no secret to them if your workflow is missing the mark.
- Lack of Automation Software: Marketing automation software is productivity’s best friend, because it does all of those tedious, time consuming tasks that can take up hours of someone’s day. It manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically, allowing businesses to target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text.
- Lack of Employee Motivation: Believe it or not, company culture and employee productivity are inextricably linked. In fact, The Alternative Board (TAB) conducted research that showed that 86% of entrepreneurs believe company culture helps employee productivity. Why? Because when employees are happy, and feel appreciated at a company, they are more willing to work hard.
So, You Want to Improve Marketing Productivity?
Things like overall marketing strategy, implementing new automation software, and developing a healthy company culture are long-term, time consuming processes. And while they should undoubtedly be prioritized, there are some more concrete actions to take in order to improve productivity and time management within your marketing department.
Larger systems play a role in employee productivity, but routines and habits are truly what separates best-in-class marketers from the rest of the pack.
As best-selling author James Clear wrote in his book, Atomic Habits, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Below are a few things that make marketing productivity achievable every day, not just on your best days.
1. Prioritize Systems Over Outcomes
We’ve all heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder.” But, what does working smarter really mean?
Here’s one of our answers: The best B2B marketers think in terms of systems and processes instead of tasks and outcomes. In other words, great marketers look at the big picture, which allows them to scale their efforts more effectively.
One way to facilitate such a shift in mindset is to write down all of the tasks— big and small— that you aim to complete over the course of one week.
Then, at the end of the week, review your completed tasks and group them into three categories:
- Things only you can do.
- Tasks you should delegate or automate.
- And, things you should stop doing.
From there, develop a system to handle repetitive or unnecessary tasks more efficiently. Whether that means automating these tasks or dropping them altogether, you’ll free up time to think more strategically.
2. Leverage Time Blocking
Time blocking refers to the process of scheduling all of your tasks ahead of time and then focusing only on the scheduled task during that designated time period. This method allows you to set effective boundaries and take control of your own schedule, instead of being reactive or going into fire-fighting mode.
Time blocking also prevents you from falling back on one of the most common bad habits: multitasking. In fact, some researchers suggest that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40%.
3. Put a Limit on Meetings
Time blocking isn’t the only way to take control of your calendar. You can also do so by managing the number of meetings you attend. It’s no secret, unnecessary meetings are the most common productivity killer.
The best way to avoid the time-suck of unproductive meetings is to set rules and boundaries around meetings. These rules can include things like setting time limits, preparing meeting agendas in advance, restricting meetings to only a few hours per day, or even declining invites if you don’t think a meeting is necessary.
If a brief email correspondence can suitably replace a half-hour meeting, speak up and say that. Your coworkers won’t hold it against you— you’ll be saving them time too.
4. Clean Up Digital Clutter
How many times have you spent five minutes looking for that one crucial email, spreadsheet, or PDF? Each individual instance may seem negligible, but five minutes here and 15 minutes there adds up to a significant amount of time in any given week.
The most productive marketers leverage specific tools to manage and organize their digital files. Apps like Evernote and OneNote can help you keep track of your notes and miscellaneous ideas. Take the time to label or tag these notes so you’re able to search for them on the go. As far as more important spreadsheets and documents, we recommend you store and maintain these files in a centralized location you can access from anywhere, such as Google Drive.
How to Measure Marketing Productivity
What gets measured gets managed. And though numbers aren’t everything, they are certainly insightful when it comes to measuring marketing productivity. Below are a few metrics you can use to make sure your team is on the right track.
- Set Marketing Objectives: Having clear and measurable goals is imperative to being able to measure success. Setting objectives for each quarter allows you to keep track of progress.
- Website Analytics: This newfound productivity should be reflected on website engagement metrics. Effective and productive marketing teams should be producing content that is driving traffic to the site as well as generating leads.
- Campaign ROI: Successful marketing campaigns should produce solid ROI. If your marketing campaigns are regularly falling short, you should look into the “why.” It could be a lack of alignment, motivation, or adequate resources.
Improvements in Marketing Productivity = Improvements in Your Business
At the end of the day, there are a lot of things that impact productivity. Approvals get delayed, people take vacation, and sometimes, we just have a bad day. These external factors are impossible to control, but there are certain systems and processes that we can implement in order to minimize time wasting activities.
Marketing productivity can also be somewhat ambiguous when it comes to measuring the success of it. Campaign ROI and website analytics are good things to look at to gain concrete information, but productivity can look a lot of different ways.
Ultimately, the key to marketing productivity is a happy, well-informed marketing team that loves what they do, and feel supported by their company.