A productive marketing department works at peak performance every day and has an outsized impact on accelerating the growth of a business. However, given the pace of change across the global economy, increasing productivity in the marketing department can be an enormous challenge for the CMO and a discipline that needs constant care and feeding. While there are a few obvious ways to boost productivity, a transformative CMO must be careful not to drive too hard and unintentionally trigger forced errors or team member burnout.
For this reason, caution is encouraged in considering any structural changes that appear to suit the interests of the business or the customer, while increasing stress and strain on marketing operations. Here are a few tips on how to strike the right balance and generate productive creative tension.
1. Maintain an enticing environment
First, you must look at the work environment and take steps to make it a productive space. You can do this by taking down barriers, reducing clutter, and keeping a tidy, organized space for your employees to work in each day. You should also consider factors such as ergonomic equipment, office temperature, natural light, and potted plants in the office.
2. Deploy software to optimize returns on “wetware”
Technology is key for a successful marketing department of any size, and it can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your operation. Using marketing solutions configured to your specific requirements by the best software developer in your area can transform your marketing. Digital tools and platforms make the workday far more efficient by reducing turnaround times and automating mundane tasks. This could include intelligence solutions for data reporting, an intranet for employees to use, CRM integration, and website design. These tools free up your team to focus their brain power (“wetware”) on more strategic challenges and leave the tactical execution to the machines.
3. Encourage intellectual curiosity and experiment with transformative new tech
You should not go chasing every new bright shiny object, but do keep an open mind and invest time in exploring new technologies that streamline marketing operations and make tasks easier. Set up a “lab” to try things out and test potential impact on your operations. If the tests show promising results, you can roll out upgrades and enhancement on a release schedule to assure that you don’t put undue stress on the team. Technology evolves rapidly, so you can’t just “set it and forget it”. You have to continuously observe and evaluate for relevance and potential impact on your customers as well as for operational efficiency.
4. Don’t underestimate the impact of employee experience
People are the engine of any marketing operation. Obviously, one of the best ways to increase department efficiency is to rev the engine and drive for more output. However, like an engine, applying too much torque and horsepower can lead to burnout and engine failure. Instead of pushing the team to work harder, consider ways to improve the overall employee experience. A few simple but effective tactics include:
- celebrating breakthrough achievements.
- publicly praising high performers.
- assuring that breaks and vacations are taken.
- offering flexible schedules or remote working.
5. Engage a marketing-as-a-service partner
If you feel like you can’t break out of the status quo and transform marketing, then it may be time to consider introducing some fresh eyes and unbiased brains to the marketing team. A marketing-as-a-service (MaaS) partner allows you to bring specialized marketing talent into the team without the risk of sourcing and paying for a full-time equivalent set of new resources. MaaS has emerged as a concept that can fill these gaps for businesses looking for assistance in developing and executing marketing strategies and campaigns. Think of MaaS as an extension of your in-house marketing teams where they need it most. MaaS vendors can help plan and manage asset creation activities (landing pages, campaigns, lead nurturing, etc.) while offering dedicated expertise and informed strategies for the latest, most innovative marketing programs and platforms. While CMOs may be experts in their brand story, they often need MaaS firms to help pull the right strategies and systems into place. As the changing market rapidly evolves, and customer demands change along with it, marketing teams must embrace a lean, agile, and scalable approach to marketing operations. Yet remember that not all MaaS firms are created equal, and MaaS is not the same as hiring an agency. Choosing the right MaaS solution for your business is key to stretching your marketing dollar and the success of your operations. MaaS solutions have the potential to be a game-changer for your organization, but the right fit makes all the difference. Here are some key questions to consider as a CMO when selecting a MaaS firm.
Follow a few of these tips and you should begin to notice an increase in productivity without impacting market execution or the quality of deliverables. Increasing productivity without impacting performance is a difficult challenge, but if you are able to achieve this, it could significantly increase profit while also increasing morale and retention of your most important assets.
Thanks for reading! Come back later this week for more tips and insights. Our recurring theme for this month is the retail industry and how digital marketing is transforming it. To learn more about how you can get started transforming marketing, download our free 3S Playbook for Transformational Marketers here or order a copy of my new book Marketing, Interrupted.