A marketer’s life is nothing but a big load of frenzy. A typical day for them is quite crazed, if you ask me — they answer a pool of emails that never stop piling high in their inbox, they address customer queries, collaborate with sales team, tech guys, graphic designers, and copywriters to see if things are running as planned; deal with operations team and sit on strategy meetings with them, lead the product development team’s efforts, collaborate with the C-suite folks who keeping hounding them for topline and bottomline growth, and just so many more such things. (phew!)
If anything, every marketer in such a position only prays for one thing (apart from a relentless desire for a moment of peace) — a way to breeze through these daily chores as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.
So I looked up what marketers with such hectic schedules do to stay on top of things and remain productive. Quite honestly, this is a personal pursuit in a bid to understand how marketers stay on top of their game and handle it all. Here’s what I found:
1. Proactive planning goes a long way for them
Now I, too, am a firm believer in planning ahead but marketing heads take it to an insane level. They plan not only for activities for a financial quarter, but schedules for entire months, broken down into task deadlines for every week, further defined in terms of daily checklist of things-to-do.
At the start of every week, they review their planner to check for deadlines and schedule important meetings. And often before they start their day, good 10 minutes are dedicated for reviewing and organizing the task lists for that particular day. And on some fun occasions they are armed with not just a to-do list but a MUST do-list.
Bottom-line: Proactive planning is the key to ensuring you have a productive and resourceful day.
2. Single-tasking trumps Multi-tasking
Professional word has come a full circle. We started from humble times when people would focus on doing one thing at a time to somehow evolving into these super humans who were supposed to manage multiple priorities and deadline in one go. Finally, that day has come (again) when focusing on one-task at a time makes greater sense than juggling between multiple ones.
The reason is simple. In marketing, good enough is not good enough anymore. And every task requires dedicated focus, planning and a strategic effort. I personally tend to focus on completing one task at a time, and work on it until it is fully finished. Unless I am satisfied of having done a good job, I wouldn’t move on to the next. If at all something comes up abruptly, I schedule it in my planner depending on the urgency of the task.
3. Adopting technology for driving consistent progress
From to-do list apps to editorial calendars marketing guys have their hands in pretty much every productivity boosting technology there is. And it makes a lot of sense to invest in such technology. They enable you to plan ahead, review tasks in real-time, and even allow you to collaborate efforts across a team on a common platform. They are rightly dubbed as the ‘virtual assistants of the modern day’ because that’s precisely what they do — help you organize and manage your professional (and personal) life with a touch of a button.
Imagine having a project management app that records, updates, reminds and reports on upcoming tasks such as social media activities, schedule for blog posts, a timetable for email marketing campaigns and even sends reminders for when your newsletter is due — doesn’t it make your life so much more relaxed?
4. Delegate and Manage, not Micro-manage
One of the hardest things for a marketer — new or seasoned — is to let the reins loose. And delegation really helps ensure productivity in a marketing organization. Surprisingly this act has remained quite underrated, especially when talking about productivity. But I do believe it deserves a spot-light and a moment’s worth of thought.
It calls upon a marketer to evaluate the strengths and potential of his/her team members and allot tasks relative to each. When you delegate, you allow yourself room to think on new ideas, revisit old ones, and get a bird’s eye view of the whole scheme that you have taken under your wings. If a marketing manager devotes too much time trying to manage each and every task, that’s just such a waste of energy.
In my marketing department, including the head, everybody works on things they are best at. This way, our efforts reap better results, we do things we are seasoned for, and we manage to have time to engage in a little bit of collaborative brainstorming. Imagine trying to do everything. Doesn’t that remind you of the case where too many cooks spoiled the broth?
5. Stay tuned to the happenings of the world
Marketing myopia is a real thing and one too many marketers suffer from it. There is a fine line between being an expert at a brand and being preoccupied with it. The latter makes you suffer from a myopic vision where all you see, hear and breath is that one brand.
It’s true that often inspiration doesn’t arise from your own brand. Often it is derived from looking at something interesting that somebody else did — even if they are not from your domain. By keeping yourself updated, reading new blogs and op-eds, you allow yourself intellectual and creative stimulation. And you know how important both these things are when you are a part of /run the marketing function.
6. Getting an early start to the day makes all the difference
You will be surprised how much this particular factor (a lifestyle choice, actually) can help you become a more productive marketer. Top business leaders and marketing heads swear by getting an early start to the day. And there’s a simple logic behind it — when they start their day early they are free from distractions of the world. The hours they spend between waking up and getting to work are usually spent attending to more cognitive activities, such as strategic thinking, research, planning, writing and the likes.
7. Always, always track progress
The best way to ensure you remain productive is by investing time and energy into evaluating your efforts up until a particular moment (say, a month). Unless you know how you have fared with a certain plan-of-action there is no empirical way to determine whether your methods are working or not. Reviewing outcomes — quantitatively and qualitatively — is a great means to evaluate your productiveness as a marketer.
Meeta Sharma is an independent writing and editing professional from digital marketing domain. Loves marketing and everything about it.