Standing out from the crowd takes more than executing programs on time and on budget. Marketing needs to do more with less. More leads, more brand awareness. But with smaller budgets and fewer people. Proving your value to the department, and to the brand takes innovation and insight.
Just telling yourself to be "more insightful" won't get you far. It's too vague a goal.
Insight comes from discipline around the things you already do each day. From a little extra digging and documenting the processes.
1. Suggest Process Improvements - And Document Them
Efficient processes let you get more done, and stand out for all you've accomplished at the end of the year. But getting more done doesn't have to be about working tons of extra hours - it's about working smarter.
Look at the processes that are holding you back today. Do creative approvals take a long time? Is there a budget decision you've been waiting on for weeks? Document the current process to reveal
- How many people / touchpoints are there?
- Are there holes where mistakes are made? Are their key team members that aren't always informed?
- Who is affected- brand marketing, digital marketing, IT, accounting? There could be ones no one thought about and that you can identify
Now take the existing process, and formalize it.
Look for time efficiency. Is a director's approval holding everything up? Could someone else make that approval? Does everyone on the touchpoint list need to be there?
Could something simple, like a calendar deadline, get everyone to move along on time?
Take the existing process, and your suggestions for improvement, to your director. Ask to implement your improvements.
Senior management is often unaware of the complex day to day processes. Formalizing it can improve things for everyone.
2. Document As You Test Ideas
"Launch and iterate". To move fast in business, you can't wait until something is perfect. Launch an idea and improve it with live feedback.
It's something you're probably already doing on a small scale today. Locked in a battle with your creative team about which ad copy or image to use in online or offline media? Try both. Document why each was considered a valuable, on brand choice, and think about how you'll test which performed better. Is it about which drove the most sales leads? Or which drove the most visits to the company website?
- Formalize your hypothesis and the test start and end dates in a powerpoint document so that you can re-visit it later and will have something you can present to your team. It's amazing what a little documentation will do to make an idea take shape. It forces you to be specific and really think about what you're testing.
- Put a date in your calendar - whether 7, 30 or 90 days in the future to go back and look at the results. Open up your test document and fill in your conclusions. Take the time to add in how this will impact future decisions you make.
- Present the outcome to the team and share your learnings.
Apply this approach to many of your day to day decisions around customer facing marketing, as well as internal sales incentives, content marketing and more. A/B testing in this way will help you stop deliberations to get more done faster and allows you to validate success with real feedback.
3. Challenge Assumptions
Most companies these days have access to more data than they can reasonably action, through web analytics. But rather than looking at volume and conversion by page and all the day to day metrics you likely already have a dashboard about, use your analytics platform to see which marketing activities are paying off. Connect all that data to your real world activities. If you have to do more with less, the things you are doing need to work.
For example, you may be able to make a case for stopping a time consuming newsletter email, if that email doesn't drive traffic and conversion back to your site. Perhaps that time is better spent on blog content, which does drive visits and downloads which lead to sales.
- Review your analytics over a 3 month period for the few days after a marketing communication is sent. What happens to site traffic? To new visitors? Are visitors driven to a blog page or a pricing page more engaged? Who is more likely to dive deeper into the site?
- Consider using the annotations feature to help you start to connect offline activities as well. Add a note, by date, when you have an offline marketing campaign on radio or print, or when a direct mailer goes out. Later on, you'll be able to go back and compare months where you had activity to months you did not, and see what impact that had on your site, new visits and sales. You'll know if it was worth the time and budget, and you can present those findings to your team.
Unfortunately, it's easy to get caught up in the flurry of executing projects and getting them out the door. But by bringing a little discipline to what you're already doing day to day, you'll find opportunities to prove value to your team, and in turn help your marketing team prove its value to the wider company.