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How Marketing Agencies Stay Productive: Michelle Bourke of Artlivemedia

June 8, 2017

This week we feature Michelle Bourke, Founder of Artlivemedia. Artlivemedia is an award winning digital growth agency focused on driving demand and conversion for brands through specialist services in search marketing (organic and paid), conversion optimisation, digital analytics and WordPress website builds.

In this interview, you can read more about her work at Artlivemedia, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as her advice for budding marketers.

Your location: Melbourne, Australia.

Your favorite gadget: Fitbit — to check who is calling in a meeting while still having my phone on silent and without having to look at my phone.

You start your day with: A 10 minute meditation with Andy on the Headspace app.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Learning to say “no”

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: I don’t read blogs, I listen to books on Audible. I like to deep dive! Some of my book list is on Linkedin here:

“The best way to start saving time and being more productive is to say “no” to more things that don’t matter.”

Describe an average day at Artlivemedia?

I’ll describe an average week because I am across a few key areas and I dedicate blocks of time to each throughout the week. Monday’s consists of internal meetings, Tues mornings are sales follow ups, Tuesday afternoons are finance and risk management. Wednesday mornings is marketing, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons have 4 slots for sales meetings, Thursday morning is HR and Fridays are operational. By breaking my week into key activity areas I can reduce context switching throughout the day and ensure meetings happen during those same time slots. I then manage individual tasks within Trello labelled per those core activities and work through as many as I can each each time slot.

As a Founder, what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?

Reduce context switching by breaking week down into time blocks for key department areas. This type of working doesn’t work well for operational roles but works really well for executive roles. Also setting timeslots during the week for meeting times so that you’re not putting meetings all over the place is very helpful. I have spent years figuring out the best way to structure my calendar and this has by far been the best approach (for me at least).

Pomello app for using Pomodoro technique of 25 mins work / 5 mins break. This works particularly well if you’re working from home all day and you have no meetings. By the end of the day you’ve not only done a bunch of work — you’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom and even popped in a mini workout!

I used Airtasker to hire a home helper about 2 years ago. She comes by twice a week to clean, cook and even set out what clothes I am going to wear for the week. She is one of the smartest people I know. She has saved me hundreds of hours that I have chosen to put into my business rather than getting caught up in house duties, and she takes the stress out of me deciding what to wear every day!

Is it weird that we built a whole marketplace around wanting to save time? Because I struggle to stay healthy and doing so often means buying from a 20 different sites from small brands, we created an ethical marketplace called Peachy where brands can connect with customers who share their ethical values and consumers can effortlessly buy ethical and health products all in the one spot. It helps us to support brands who may not otherwise have the budgets to work with us, but it also makes it super convenient to buy healthy things all in the one place which is perfect for time poor people like me.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3–5 tools you use?

Mailchimp — for mass emails and email automation.

Supermetrics — for automated live Google dashboards that we can customise as we need.

Yesware — for automated notifications when people open a sales or other email as well as being able to send later and remind if no response received.

For our consumer ethical products marketplace Peachy we use: Iconosquare for instagram scheduling. Hootsuite for other social media scheduling.

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

For Artlivemedia, we are constantly finding ways to apply learnings from one client to another area. We have regular process meetings to continually refine how we deliver things more efficiently and get more effective results. We use our live reporting dashboard across all clients to continuously make decisions throughout the month.

For our sub-brand, Peachy, it’s all about leveraging customer content whether that be recommendations, or photos and videos of them using the products they’ve bought, or leveraging the brands we work with and all of their content. One of the great things about running a marketplace is that you never have to worry about a lack of content!

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

For our core brand Artlivemedia, it’s about really understanding and connecting with who our target market is: chief marketing officers and digital managers of enterprise organisations

We find ways to get in front of them and showcase visible expertise which is a core component of decision making for professional services firms (see research from Hinge). We do this mainly through speaking at conferences, partnerships with development agencies and in person meetings.

Our website is one part of showcasing our credibility and expertise, but when you have large customers like we do, a great website is just one part of the equation as no cold lead will make a $100k+ decision on the basis of a website alone. It’s all about personal interactions.

What’s important is that we continue to showcase leadership with those who have been in touch with us previously even if we aren’t working together yet. We do that through monthly thought leadership emails and we also distribute that content using our skills in SEO which ultimately helps to drive organic traffic to our website for content that is relevant to our target audience.

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Psychology vs Jargon

Learn about the base principles of human psychology. Forget the marketing jargon for a moment. Read Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” as a starting point.

Say No

Ask yourself “Am I at this meeting / doing this thing as part of someone else’s agenda, or my own?”. If it’s someone else’s, then check whether you really need to be there. The best way to start saving time and being more productive is to say “no” to more things that don’t matter.

Build your network

Spend time building your network and expanding the number of senior industry people you know and can provide value to. Whatever you are, client or agency side, this will become your most important asset in years to come. It takes between 2 and 5 years to build a solid network and you must invest time in meeting people face to face because that is where the real foundations of relationships form.

How do teams at Artlivemedia have fun at work/ make work fun?

‍Colour run at Artlivemedia

Sometimes we’re just plain weird! We make up lots of funny songs and random sayings in the office, as well as funny Slack channels for sharing comedy. We like to feel comfortable being ourselves. The last big fun activity some of the team did was the Colour Run. For those who don’t know, The Colour Run is just a fun run where you have colours, glitter, foam and more thrown at you as you run around a track.

How do you make use of your downtime? Any hobbies, out of work interests that rejuvenate you?

Working in the garden, taking photos, spending time with family and coming up with new business ideas!Here’s an example of what I like to do on my days off! (photos taken with my Nikon D7000)

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A big thanks to Michelle for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out Artlivemedia.

The ‘How Marketers Stay Productive’ series asks marketers their tips & strategies for staying productive. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the tricks that keep them working smart. Know someone you’d love to see featured? Email Us.

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