How to save time and reduce waste through better operational planning
As the digital marketing environment continues to evolve, introducing efficient marketing practices is more important than ever. Coordinating multiple channels, running integrated campaigns and relying on external partners make modern marketing processes complex and difficult to manage. Teams are often reluctant to update their day-to-day management tools and processes as change isn't always easy though always needed! This challenge is faced by every marketing team and can be tackled by making important changes to the way things are planned and managed. By thinking through and then implementing some of these following six steps, you can save time, reduce waste and improve operational marketing management.
- Get everyone pulling in the same direction. Defining business and marketing objectives first is crucial, your most powerful leadership tool is clear and specific objectives. Define your battleground, understand where your efforts are likely to have the greatest impact to the goals you have set. Once you have this set making it visible is key but also ensuring people are accountable is crucial, monthly status meetings and data is the best way to do this.
- Identify the decision-making and operational structure. Defining individual roles within a framework will help prevent unnecessary overlapping and waste of resources. Once people have a clear suite of accountabilities and see how they fit within the team to help achieve the goals you will have an empowered and focused team. For marketing operations involving more than one team, decide if units will operate under a centralised decision-making structure, or whether local teams will have more tactical decision-making autonomy.
- Design efficient, tailored processes. To run as smoothly as possible, each aspect of the marketing plan should be guided by a process which takes into account the decision-making structure, available resources, technology and internal and external policies. Designing efficient processes can require some trial and error, so be prepared to adapt them as necessary.
- Use data to measure marketing performance. Data-driven marketing allows you to continually measure performance and adjust strategy so you’re always on course to reach goals it also removes the HIPPO effect and reduces time debating opinions. Work together with stakeholders to define performance indicators and ensure they are closely aligned with sales and business objectives. Make data-driven marketing efficient by automating report generation.
- Utilise Technology. While I wouldn't recommend chasing the next shiny new object, technology can be a great enabler. Tools such as the Adobe Creative Cloud, Basecamp, Google Docs and Dropbox have made traditional labour intensive and time-consuming tasks easy and accessible. An annual review of the key software within your company is helpful since old tools for managing operations could be holding you and your team back
Achieving results and efficiency in marketing
Successful and efficient marketing requires both in-depth knowledge and pragmatic operations management. Encouraging communication between teams and employees is a good way to get started, as it will help to identify problems and areas of opportunity. Adopting centralised, automated management and financial reporting tools frees up marketing managers who instead have more time available for strategic and creative thinking. Implementing a data-driven approach to marketing is essential, as it allows goals to be defined, and performance monitored in quantitative terms. This in turn makes it possible to experiment scientifically with different elements of your marketing plan until you find the right marketing mix.
Expert members can download our new guide to learn more about marketing operations management.