By Mark Grainger
How can you improve your organization’s marketing effectiveness? Are you getting the most from your team and your unique proposition? You probably have a marketing team in place, or at least a marketing professional working full time, but there may be ways to drive effectiveness and efficiency that you have yet to discover.
Your marketers should be living and breathing your company’s brand, services and products in order to better increase marketing effectiveness. They should know the business inside and out and be passionate about sharing that knowledge across as many channels as possible. Whether you are engaging with your customer or client base by using more-traditional methods or you are relying on the multiple platforms and benefits of agile, digital marketing, it is important to make sure that you are getting the most out of your efforts. That means getting the most out of your marketers by maximizing their effectiveness and efficiency in marketing
So, what can you do to focus on and improve efficiency? Amy Thompson, the Digital Marketing Manager at Winn Solicitors, believes the key is collaboration.
“We are a team of three and, as such, this makes for a tailored work culture,” clarifies Amy. “Although we each have our niche areas and expertise, our work will often intertwine, and we find that collaborative working produces better results. Our meetings are kept to a minimum and in its place, we consistently communicate and evaluate our work to each other as we go, making sure it remains cohesive with one another and to a high quality.”
Training is also highly important to the team at Winn Solicitors, as it allows Amy and the company’s C-Suite to get the most out of the marketing team and boost efficiency.
“We try to tailor training and development to each person’s interest. Listening to and noticing passions in someone’s work makes for a natural step for development and ultimately boosts productivity, quality of work and job satisfaction. Our ethos as a team is to be supportive and open; our efficiency and success is simply a result of that.”
Amy raises several points that can easily transfer from Winn Solicitors to any business to help you increase marketing efficiency and effectiveness. Here’s what you should be doing.
Evaluate your briefing process
In order to maximize efficiency in marketing, your marketing professionals are going to need clear instructions with a well-defined brief that stays consistent. It’s no use changing the parameters of what your team needs to achieve once they have already begun work, as that will lead to muddied communications, frustration, and mixed results. Far better instead to have the brief and your goals nailed down before passing it to marketing.
Have a clear idea of what you or your team needs to achieve, or the marketing problem you need solved, before you write the brief. That way you can be explicit about what goals are expected, what metrics will be used and what the deadline is and make sure that everyone is on the same page from the beginning.
Be clear on strategy
Embedding a well-defined strategy within your marketing team’s mentality is one of the best ways to ensure a strong marketing efficiency formula. Everyone on the marketing team should know what the approval process is for any piece of work, as well as what to do in the event of approval not being available for any given reason (if, for example, the marketing director is unreachable). The team should also be aware of the deadlines they are up against, as well as the nature of those deadlines. Knowing which projects are more flexible and which have a looming deadline that is set in stone will help each member of the team to prioritize their workload.
The way in which the marketing department works should also be well established. Working to an agile marketing dynamic, where flexibility and proactive response to change are encouraged, has been shown to increase marketing efficiency and improve the quality of work through teamwork.
Find a work management tool that works for you
Of course it should go without saying that your marketing team should be trusted to get on with the task at hand at any given time, but by implementing a work management tool (such as Basecamp or Microsoft Project) you can actively keep the whole team in the loop.
Check out Hubstaff’s resource on Work Breakdown Structures in project management.
Using a project management program allows the team to make comments, jump in or out of any active work, and generally keep track of progress. It’s also a great tool to help you avoid any confusion that can potentially arise from having a large team working on a number of projects. If each member of the team can see what the other is working on then there will be no overlap or confusion about project responsibility. It will also lead to better accountability, something that should be considered when it comes to increasing effectiveness.
Make meetings as quick as possible
Meetings may be an essential part of the communications stream for any business and its internal teams, but a meeting that runs over or leads into another meeting is a sure fire way to dent efficiency in marketing. Far better instead to keep your meetings direct, focused, and to the point with an established agenda and fixed time frame. It also helps to make sure that everyone involved is there for a reason and not being pulled away from more pressing concerns.
You should also try to end each meeting with a list of tasks and activities that need to be actioned by each individual in attendance. This way, everyone who leaves the huddle will know what is expected of them and when, as well as being able to see the immediate benefit of the meeting and not scratching their head wondering why they were pulled away from their desk.
Listen to your team
Marketers are communications professionals, but as well as talking to the client or customer, they need to know that they can talk to leading figures in the business. If your team does not feel able to raise issues and potentially make positive changes then you will quickly foster a negative, often resentful environment. Needless to say, that is an environment which will adversely affect efficiency in marketing. A happy workforce is a productive, efficient and effective workforce, so it is important that they are heard, listened to, and that they know their views and thoughts are taken into consideration at all times.
Create a positive company culture
If you really want to get the best out of your marketing team then you need to provide a positive working atmosphere for them to operate in. A company culture is not something that can be dreamed up and implemented over night, but through a steady stream of team exercises, reward schemes, social events and other practices (as well as listening to your team, as we have established) you will eventually end up with a culture that promotes efficiency and effectiveness in marketing. If your team is happy and proud to work for you then the work that they do and the results they get will be of a much higher quality than it would be otherwise.
It’s a strategy that the team at Lookers PLC knows all too well. The brand has grown steadily over the past few years, both in terms of sales and reputation, and a large part of that success is down to a strong company culture.
“At Lookers, it’s important for us to have the right people in the right roles and that is especially true of the marketing department. The company culture that we have developed over the years is of the utmost importance, and that’s why we always recruit for attitude over aptitude. The way we look at it at Lookers is that we can teach abilities and help our staff and colleagues to develop their existing skills, but attitude is something that you walk through the door with on your first day.
“We’ve built a strong culture of putting the customer first, of going that extra mile to create a memorable customer journey that encourages repeat business, whilst having a fun, collaborative and open office at the same time. We need to be sure anybody joining the team can embrace that culture and slot in immediately. That way they are much more likely to be able to work to the standard that already exists within the business.
“Another aspect of having that strong culture is being able to always put the right message to the customer at the right time. To do this, and increase effectiveness, each member of the team absolutely has to know the ins and outs of the Lookers brand; what we stand for, what our unique offering is, why we do what we do. Everything that we associate with ourselves. Through a consistent message and tone of voice we have reinforced the brand, increased customer trust and maximized the effectiveness of our team and the work they produce.”
Clearly defined roles
Clarity is an important part of building a team which promotes marketing effectiveness. As well as being clear on the company’s messages and target audiences, definition of individual roles within the team is also vitally important. Without well-established and set out responsibilities and remits, your team could end up tripping over itself on the way to getting even a fairly standard piece of work out of the door.
If, instead, every member of the team knows what it is that he or she needs to be doing, and who they need to report to, then they are far more likely to take ownership and responsibility for their tasks. That can lead to a far more consistent, stronger quality of work.
Speaking of ownership, encouraging responsibility to a project is another way to improve the quality of marketing effectiveness within a team. This is not to say that team members should be singled out and reprimanded should an idea not work in the way that it was intended, but rather the opposite. While a team is always greater than the sum of its parts, recognition for work brought forward by the individual can go a long way to instilling pride. With pride comes ownership, and if that work is rewarded then it should not be long until more and more strong ideas to improve marketing effectiveness start to come forward.
Outline the customer journey
How can you expect your marketing to be effective if your team doesn’t know the journey that they need to take the customer on? Knowing what is important to your customer or clients, how to speak to them, and the overarching customer journey that you wish to engage with is another way to clarify your marketing department’s task. Once they know the end goal and the route to get there, your team will be far more equipped to generate ideas and tactics for increasing marketing effectiveness.
Provide regular training
Perhaps the most obvious way to build marketing effectiveness into your business is to be certain that your staff have the relevant training they need. It’s one thing for a team member to join from education or another company, but when the industry moves as quickly as marketing does, they need to be kept on the sharp end of current thinking and techniques. That’s where training comes in.
Encouraging team members to attend conferences, join webinars and generally increase their knowledge base regularly may take them away from their desk for a while, but it can pay dividends in terms of equipping them to take your business forward with new ideas and methods.
For more hints and tips on how to get the most out of your marketing team, subscribe to the FRG Technology Consulting blog.
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