Around the world, marketers are overwhelmed.
The job descriptions keep expanding, and the task lists keep growing. Activities and disciplines that used to be the responsibility of other departments are increasingly moving under their purview, like media buying, conversion optimization, customer success, employer branding, account-based marketing, and the list goes on.
At the same time, the landscape against which they work is constantly changing. Digital transformation uncovers new possibilities for marketers, but it also poses new and unexpected challenges. Marketers are locked in an ongoing search for the best tech. Budgets, skills and tools are continually being updated, revised, and switched out. Consumers are more distracted and more demanding than ever, and personalized messaging is becoming non-negotiable.
Social media channels regularly alter their algorithms, requiring marketers to develop new strategies to keep up, and new channels keep appearing. When it comes to reaching best-fit buyers, the top challenge among marketers is to identify the best channels.
It’s no wonder that marketers are exhausted. Fortunately, there are tools and strategies that can revive you once more. When you set clear priorities and stick to them, you don’t have to be overwhelmed.
Here are three ways to use data for keeping your marketing sights in focus, no matter what changes.
1. Build a Priority-Based Task Management System
It’s easy to end up with your tasks and assignments scattered across multiple places. You receive requests and assignments through a number of media, including e-mail, internal communication channels like Slack, and word of mouth when someone stops you in the hall to ask a favor. You might be collaborating with people across various project management platforms and sharing resources through many apps.
Begin by restoring order to the chaos. Move all your tasks to a single master location, whether that’s a calendar or notes app, a task management tool, or a large notepad. What matters is that you can see all your tasks at a glance.
Now you’re ready to set up a priority-based task management system. Run through your task list and remove anything that you can delegate to someone else. Keep a separate list of anything that’s just busy work or a nice-to-do that you don’t have the time for, and force yourself to ignore it. And anything that you can do in under two minutes, just take care of right away.
Source: Stephen Covey
That leaves you with a list of important tasks. Use a task management app, Word doc, or sticky notes on your white board to place them all in order of urgency. You might want to use Steven Covey’s famous priority matrix to help you identify the top-priority tasks for today (the ones in the Urgent and Important boxes.)
If you’re really overwhelmed, make a list of only those tasks which must get done today, and then order them according to priority. Anything that can wait till tomorrow doesn’t need your energy today. This way, you’ll be free to focus on the most urgent and most important jobs.
2. Make Your Dashboards Work for You
Interactive visualization dashboards have changed the marketing world, but it’s up to marketers to apply them in an efficient way that makes task management simpler and smoother.
Use marketing dashboards to show data that helps you identify top-priority tasks that bring the most bang for your buck of time. Examples of marketing dashboards that help inform your decision-making include SEO and PCC dashboards that reveal the impact of every dollar; marketing campaign and leads-to-win dashboards that identify bottlenecks in your funnels and help tie targeting tactics and messaging iterations to ROI; and A/B testing dashboards that attribute performance to competing variants of your content.
With customizable dashboards that pull in data from several sources, you can build blended views that combine metrics and reports about different aspects of your marketing efforts into a single view. This way you’ll be able to see the highest-impact, biggest-value items at a glance.
With the right data easily viewable, you can find the channels, tactics, messaging, creatives, campaigns, and audience segments that are delivering the best results, so that you know which tasks and workflows to focus on most.
3. Include Non-Marketing Voices
Marketing can’t exist in a vacuum within the business. The definition of great marketing is something of a moving target – it changes whenever business strategy changes.
It can help to measure ROI, but that’s easier said than done for some tactics, and while attribution models can be useful, they are also often still under development. It’s worthwhile establishing regular meetings with key stakeholders who have a vested interest in marketing success.
You’ll want to meet quarterly, at least. Stakeholders will appreciate being kept up to date on your campaigns, tactics, and results, as well as the opportunity to share their preferences and primary goals.
These meetings help you out in more ways than one. When you keep all the company’s important players in the loop, they’ll be more invested in your work and more willing to help you succeed. Checking in with other stakeholders is your chance to investigate their needs and priorities, so that you can tweak your strategies and priorities moving forward.
When you know which metrics they want to see, you can deliver them quickly and keep everyone happy. For example, board members might want vanity metrics like Instagram follower counts, or seek reassurance that you’re maintaining a greater market share than a high-profile competitor. You know these aren’t necessarily significant for marketing ROI, but when you please your stakeholders, you’ll gain you more freedom to experiment with activities that actually do drive value.
Data Can Rescue Overwhelmed Marketers
In 2020, marketers have to keep a huge number of balls in the air without dropping any of them. Setting the right priorities by organizing your task management system, putting marketing dashboards to good use, and checking in with non-marketing stakeholders can help you to streamline your to-do list and build more efficient work practices which benefit you all round.