The way that businesses market their products or services to consumers has changed dramatically over the years.
The world wide web has enabled marketers to reach a broader audience than ever before while having access to analytics that would have taken years to put together a couple decades ago.
According to data from the team at Smart Insights, there are over 3 billion people using the internet today.
It is noteworthy that this number accounts for 40% of the world’s population.
While the reach of digital marketing has never been higher and will undoubtedly continue to grow, finding ways to efficiently reach those consumers has and always will be the biggest challenge.
In order to help you through the process of efficiently reaching your target audience, this guide is intended to serve as a way to help you maximize marketing productivity.
Using the tips, strategies, and tools outlined in this guide will provide you with the potential to expedite the growth of your business and increase revenue for years to come.
Not only that, but maximizing your marketing productivity will also allow you to free up time to work on increasing the quality of the products and services that you offer.
It should be noted that this guide will not be providing you with specific examples of the best marketing strategies to use for your business.
As you know, there are hundreds of different marketing strategies that you can utilize and the specific ones that work for you will depend on a variety of factors unique to your business and industry.
So, to get started, let’s walk through how you can maximize your marketing productivity to get more done fast:
#1 – Audit and Generate Analytics About Your Marketing Strategies
If there is one thing that you can do to maximize your marketing productivity it is to measure and understand your marketing strategies.
Knowing the numbers of the effectiveness of your different marketing strategies has and always will be essential if you want to excel and develop as a business.
Without doing so, you are blindly throwing a dart at a board while hoping to hit the bullseye.
While, as Content Marketing Institute contributor Cathy McPhillips states, measurement can be as simple or complicated as you make it, the goal you should focus on to maximize productivity is to make it simple.
Making it simple means understanding which metrics and analytics are supporting the main goals of your marketing efforts.
McPhillips also advises that you ensure that the analytics that you are attempting to gather are metrics that you can actually take action on and improve upon.
For example, if you are looking at the analytics behind your social media strategies, determining your number of followers on Twitter is not going to be worth anything to you unless you find out the worth of those followers.
Instead, focus on tracking areas in which those followers are converted and look for ways that you can improve those processes.
This can involve anything from tracking the visitors to your website from the content you post to how many email subscribers you are picking up on a daily basis.
As the consulting team at McKinsey & Company has pointed out, it is important to realize that:
“There are multiple, and usually imperfect, ways to measure the most establishing forms of marketing.”
As they say:
“In an ideal world, the financial returns and the ability of all forms of communication to influence consumers would be precisely calculated, and deciding the marketing mix would be simple.”
Unfortunately, however, this is not the case.
In reality, measuring can be a difficult task and requires the inconvenience of multiple tests to get right.
Your job is to find out what can and should be measured based on the unique way that your business markets.
From there, using the convenient analytics tools found throughout the web or using trusted analytics software can help ensure that you are receiving data that is as accurate as possible.
#2 – Prioritize Everything to Create Focus
Once you have determined what marketing strategies are most effective to your business, the efficiency of improving upon those strategies is the next logical step.
In order to do this, you absolutely must get in the habit of ruthlessly prioritizing the tasks that are most essential to improving those strategies.
As time management expert Ken Glickman says:
“Many people don’t focus or have a clear direction of what they’re trying to do.”
The issue with not having a grasp of exactly what needs to be done is that you then create an ongoing cycle where you are spending and wasting time thinking about where you are, what needs to be done, and how in the world you are going to do it.
This is where the importance of a marketing calender comes in.
As XZITO contributor Jeshua Zapata points out:
“A well maintained marketing calendar provides a clear overview and understanding of what and when marketing activities are taking place.”
Zapata goes on to mention that, while your calander will undoubtedly be adapted throughout the year, it is important to have an outline of what needs done so focus and efficiency can be achieved.
While there are several different ways that you can go about creating a marketing calendar, marketing strategist Cindy Ratzlaff put together a tremendous guide for putting one together.
Once your marketing calendar has been created, the next step is to prioritize your weekly and daily tasks to ensure you are completing the tasks outlined on the yearly calendar.
While all this might seem like a long process, you can gradually improve how quickly you are able to create your annual, monthly, and annual marketing calander to ensure maximum efficiency.
Putting in the time now to do these things will save you dozens of hours worth of time down the road and provide you with the opportunity to constantly adapt to changes.
#3 – Identify and Create Systems for Everything
As Alexander Kesler from SEJ points out:
“Every marketer knows certain business elements and responsibilities will crop up and divert time and attention away from marketing focused projects.”
The point he is making is that there is no way to avoid many of the time consuming tasks that take away from the efficiency of your marketing efforts.
You can, however, create systems for those tasks that can significantly reduce the time you spend on them going forward.
Identifying and creating systems for those processes is one of the best known ways for going about this.
The creation of these systems is so important, in fact, that Mike Peters of Software Projects Inc created a diagram showing where systems and processes can take a business.
If your goal is to develop your company into a big business that generates millions of dollars per year, creating systems that allow your marketing staff to understand exactly what they are doing and how they should do it is essential.
Peters points out that the type of systems and processes that power your business is the key difference between big businesses and small businesses.
Jim Collins, author of the best-selling book Good to Great, is another business expert that has pointed out that the creation, improvement, and preservation of internal processes is the reason most companies make the leap from good to great.
The great thing about creating systems and processes is that they basically require a one time investment that can help you gain thousands of hours worth of productivity for years to come.
While systems and processes can take quite some time to create initially, maintaining them will more than likely only require minor tweaks and time commitment as you look to optimize them over time.
Not only that, but marketing automation software has made it significantly easier than ever for businesses both large and small to continually improve the systems and processes they use with their marketing strategies.
#4 – Screw Up Quickly
Sure, this sounds like something that you would hear straight from a self-help expert.
But there is a reason that gurus like Zig Ziglar, Eric Thomas, and Les Brown talk about failure as if it is something that you should seek out.
The reason; because you should.
Failing is something that is seldom talked about in the business world.
And, when it is, it is almost always talked about in a negative light.
If you look at some of the major brands throughout the world, however, their leaders were clearly never afraid to fail.
Failing fast is not just a suggestion, it is essential for expedited growth of your business.
Unfortunately for most businesses, however, they treat failure as if it is something that needs to avoided at all costs while finding and placing blame/consequences upon the cause of that failure.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson talked about this at length in her article entitled Strategies for Learning from Failure.
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In her discussion about failure in business, she pointed out that she had talked and worked with several business executives who said that only 2-5% of failures within an organization are blameworthy.
Then, when asking the same group of executives how many failures are treated as blameworthy, the response was that 70-90% were treated as such.
This is such a staggering difference that it clearly shows the mindset of most business owners towards failure being opposite of where it should be.
While you obviously do not want to dive into marketing strategies with the intention of failure, it is important to create a culture where small failures are acceptable and even necessary for expedited improvement across your organization.
One of the great quotes from Edmondson’s article about learning from failure is:
“Only leaders can create and reinforce a culture that counteracts the blame game and makes people feel both comfortable with and responsible for surfacing and learning from failures.”
Global design company IDEO has created this culture with a slogan that reads:
“Fail often in order to succeed sooner.”
When you give yourself and your business the license to screw up quickly, you create an environment where you can then learn from those failures and maximize your marketing productivity.
Final Tips for Maximizing Marketing Productivity
So far, this guide has walked you through the steps that you can take to maximize your marketing productivity.
There are, however, some other tips that you will want to take note of as you attempt to follow through with your goal of becoming a marketing minimalist.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Multitasking is something that every business owner and marketer does on a daily basis.
It is extremely difficult to avoid as it always seems like there are so many things that need to be done at once.
What you should be aware of, however, is that multitasking can severely inhibit your productivity.
According to the American Psychological Association:
“Even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”
As Andrea Fryrear from Marketer Gizmo points out, that means you could be costing yourself as much as 16 hours of productivity every week in a typical 40-hour work week.
But with it seeming like multitasking is necessary in daily business operations, how do you avoid it to maximize productivity.
Well, Fryrear provides a couple tips for doing just that:
Change Your Morning Routine
If you are like most people, you probably have some type of subconscious habit that you do first thing in the morning when you get to work.
Usually this involves doing multiple things at the same time and avoiding giving any one thing your full attention.
Maybe you check your email, social media, and look through your calander and to-do list all at the same time.
Instead, make a decision about what is important to start your day and begin to train yourself to complete each of those tasks one at a time.
Figure Out and Eliminate the Distractions That Lead to Multitasking
What is it about your daily habits that causes you to multitask?
Figuring this out is essential to overcoming multitasking.
For most, the cause of multitasking is the mindset that many things need to be done quickly.
As has been outlined, however, trying to do them all at once actually inhibits your ability to do them as fast as possible.
Change your mindset about the necessity of multitasking, figure out what is causing those distractions, and work to eliminate them.
Train Others Within Your Business to Do the Same
While reducing your multitasking will certainly boost your own productivity, it is important that you spread this information to your staff and marketers as well.
Help them identify the tasks that are most important to their overall production and create a culture where those tasks are encouraged to be completed and focused on one at a time.
As has been pointed out, it can save you thousands of hours worth of production over the course of a year and really help to boost the efficiency of your business.
Commit to Helping Your Staff Improve
In order to maximize your marketing productivity throughout your business, you need to be committed to helping your staff improve as well.
A lot of businesses get in the habit of making changes that are not communicated effectively to their staff.
This can create a lot of problems while also decreasing the productivity of your staff and leading to higher turnover rates.
As Dan Bergstrom, the Director of Demand Conversion at Workfront, points out:
“A little coaching can go a long way.”
When creating systems for maximizing the efficiency of your marketing strategies, be sure that you are thinking about how these strategies can be taught to your staff.
From there, you can also improve your teaching systems to optimize productivity in all areas of marketing.
Do not be afraid to get feedback from your staff as well before making changes.
Doing so can help to create a higher level of trust with your employees as they begin to understand that their opinion and efforts matter to company leaders.
Understand That Adapting Will Be Necessary
While following the steps outlined in this guide can undoubtedly help you maximize your marketing productivity, it is important to realize that you will still need to adapt as time goes on.
Putting together a marketing calander with prioritized tasks and creating systems for getting things done faster are both great productivity hacks, but they will need improved upon as time goes on.
Far too many marketers and business owners get stuck in the trap of becoming comfortable with where they are and simply coast through their daily tasks.
As Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis points out in his article about The Dangers of Complacent Leadership:
“Leadership is a journey and the best leaders know how to pace themselves accordingly.”
Your goal as someone looking to build a successful business should be to avoid complacency as much as possible and continue to work towards marketing improvement.
One of the ways that you can do this is by creating scheduled times for evaluating the different aspects of your marketing to ensure maximum efficiency.
From there, you can identify areas that need improved and then, once again, create systems to improve those areas.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, attempting to maximize your marketing productivity is an ongoing process.
There should never be a time in your business where you become complacent and feel that you have done everything possible to maximize efficiency.
While you certainly do not want to be wavering your strategies and methods so much that you are creating confusion within your marketing team, it is important that you work to seek out areas of improvement on a consistent basis.
Working to continually optimize your marketing efforts and the productivity that you get out of your marketing staff is what can help your business go from good to great.