Marketers Need To Work Smarter, Not Harder
As the role of marketing expands, marketers are becoming ever more stressed — and for good reason. Columnist Mary Wallace explains how you can relieve some of that pressure while still taking on the increased responsibility.
Sixty-two percent of marketers are more than “somewhat stressed,” a WorkFront infographic highlights. Fifty-one percent say they’re stressed because they have too much to do in a 40-hour week.
Clearly, we marketers are working pretty darn hard. What can we do to lift the pressure of not enough time in the day?
Marketers need to learn how to work smarter, but not harder — and there are several key ways to do that, including embracing technologies like marketing automation, optimizing processes and leveraging core competencies.
Marketing automation empowers marketers to systemically segment and target leads. Its functionality enables marketers to “see” which pages leads have visited and what forms they completed and to automatically follow up with a response.
Unfortunately, many marketing automation implementations are very fancy tools for sending a large volume of emails to the entire database. Much of the functionality in marketing automation tools — like page tagging, dynamic content and automated programs — goes untried and therefore, is not used.
A different mindset is needed to think through the details — and time and effort are required to work through the kinks of new functionalities.
But there are many resources available that provide tips, techniques and even training on how to leverage the power of a marketing automation solution. Oracle’s Topliners, Marketing Sherpa and MarketingProfs are but a few examples.
The rewards of a fully utilized marketing automation solution are amazing — think improved conversion rates and pipeline quality, due to targeted and personalized communication.
Also, the automated functionality within marketing automation doesn’t require constant babysitting to send every email. Once the automation is up and running, it’s a huge time-saver.
Marketing is about creativity and strategy. It’s not about processes.
Many think of process as being about structure, rigor and filling out paperwork. The reality is, with a strong optimized process, the workflows are smoother, and there’s higher team satisfaction as collaboration and best practices improve; team members understand responsibilities and next steps.
Defined processes highlight bottlenecks of effort and task redundancy. Data can lead to streamlined processes, improve throughput and reduce effort.
Take, for example, a marketer who needs a special envelope for a direct mail campaign. She goes online and spends hours searching for envelope options, requests samples and awaits their delivery. Mentioning her plight to a colleague, she finds out that there is already a preferred vendor, and sample envelopes are in-house.
Such a waste of effort and elapsed time. Had there already been a process in place for ordering campaign materials, the research and wait time could have been eliminated.
Good processes also help reduce rework caused by errors. They provide fail-safes to mitigate mistakes.
Some of the fail-safes are embedded in the software that’s managing the marketing workflow, while colleague-to-colleague reviews can address others.
It’s far better to have an email reviewed by a second set of eyes before it is sent than to have it sent to 100,000 leads and realize there’s an embarrassing copy mistake in the first paragraph. The resulting panic and effort expended in putting out the fire are eliminated.
Net-net: With standard processes that reduce rework, redundancy and bottlenecks, marketers work smarter — and we need to do that as more and more of the buyer’s journey becomes the responsibility of marketing.
Leverage Core Competencies
Marketing is a wide job role. What it encompasses becomes larger every day.
Marketing automation, strategy, copywriting, database management, content development, creative design and reporting are just a few of the responsibilities within a marketing organization. It’s almost impossible to be an expert in everything.
Specialists are very good at a specific function. They know what works and what doesn’t. They bring quality and innovation to that function.
By shifting project components to people and resources with specialized talents, marketers can work more efficiently and effectively.
Consider a creative designer. He has the talent to know what colors work and where to place content and graphics to draw a lead’s eye so he or she will engage and convert.
Compartmentalizing the design task and utilizing that skill and talent means the creation of an email that best engages leads. It also means time and effort aren’t wasted in trying to learn, understand and implement what the creative designer already knows.
This doesn’t mean marketers shouldn’t conceptually understand all aspects of the job role. Think of a lawyer who specializes in real estate but still knows the law. She leverages that knowledge while focusing on her core strength in negotiating the best real estate deals possible.
The role of marketing in the organization is clearly not shrinking — rather, it’s expanding in both depth and breadth. The result: stressed marketers who are focused on living up to the expectations of the business.
With expanding job complexity and responsibility, marketers must work smarter — not only to mitigate the stress they’re under, but to ensure their organizations’ viability into the future.