Speed is a trait that many companies desire from their marketing. Communication is happening in real time, so our marketing teams should as well. But it can be hard for marketing teams to become any more agile if they've accumulated ineffective systems. That can slow down any attempts at an agile process.
You might have read the headline for this article and thought I was going to provide some tactics or new tools that might help teams improve their speed. But I've found that no matter how amazing the collaboration or organizational tool might be, it can't make a difference until you examine your fundamental processes.
A fast-moving marketing team requires streamlined process, from the top down. What follows are actionable tips to help streamline aspects of your business that allow your marketing to move faster.
1. Get faster at figuring out what's not working.
The quicker you can determine whether or not your marketing efforts are working, the better your marketing can be.
Successful marketing is all about allocating the right resources to the right efforts. You only have a finite amount of time, effort and money, and the company that makes the best use of all three wins.
Do you have an underperforming ad? Consider killing it and reallocating resources towards a better performing ad.
Maybe an entire ad platform isn't doing well for your business. It might make sense to stop paying for those ads and use the money elsewhere.
Or maybe your email marketing just isn't effective. You may either want to put more resources into it, or cut it entirely.
The above sounds ruthless and cold, but it's based entirely on logic. The problem with teams is that they're made up of people who have spent time, effort and thought into making these resources. Making the decision to torpedo any person's hard work is hard, but required in the agile process.
The main reason I've seen businesses not end marketing projects that aren't working is because of the time and effort already invested. Your designer may have worked for a week creating email headers, and your copywriter may have spent hours crafting the perfect email content. But if nobody clicked the links in the email, it doesn't matter. The important thing to remember with the marketing agile process is to take what didn't work, learn from it and try again.
2. Improve the review cycle.
If there's a silent killer to speedy marketing teams, it's the review process. There's nothing that can stifle momentum like needing approvals and revisions from multiple inputs.
Take a close look at the review procedures for your marketing team. Is there a way to make the review cycle more efficient? Is there a way to cut out some steps in the feedback loop?
You might be able to bring in stakeholders earlier to speed up this cycle. Any gains in this aspect of your development can help make for a more agile process.
3. Don't worry about real-time. Worry about the right time.
It seems that marketing teams are trying to move at the speed of light, hanging out on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to take advantage of the current meme or trend.
But a problem with this approach is that your marketing efforts can become reactive, not proactive.
Try shifting the marketing focus to things you can control. Instead of focusing your efforts on what a celebrity might tweet, focus on your product or service. You invest in the future when you focus on what you can control. Timing is definitely important, but not at the expense of being reactive. A reactive team is always trying to hit a moving target.
4. Be clear about priorities and expectations.
You might be surprised at the disconnect between marketing teams and leadership. Clear vision and expectation cut down on review cycles, and they also give freedom to employees to think within these boundaries.
While “selling more" is often a priority, giving clear expectations and reasoning behind direction can help make for a more agile process.
5. Get rid of ineffective processes to improve the agile process.
We can never have enough reminders to stop creating silly, insignificant tasks to our workflows. I've worked for small teams, large companies and everywhere in-between. Each organization struggled with unnecessary busywork. They'll send newsletters that nobody reads because “they've always sent them." Or they have to use outdated software because a manager thought it was a good idea six years ago.
There are many reasons companies allow ineffective processes to accumulate, but they all boil down to this: With each task or project created, somebody never asked out loud “Is this truly necessary? Is there a better way to do this?"
Try taking a fresh look at every task, every project and every meeting, and see if it might be beneficial to cut it out. You might be surprised.
If your company can minimize ineffective and outdated processes with your marketing, it could potentially free your marketing team to move faster, creating more agile and nimble results.
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