Marketing campaigns can be massive undertakings with the potential for big payoffs. They require cross-functional coordination and a clear goal to work toward. Unfortunately, they also require a lot of diverse and distributed work, which can easily get out of hand — and lead to inefficiency and wasted time. Time is money, especially when it comes to marketing investments, so it’s essential that marketers know how to work effectively and efficiently.
Calendar management is an important part of making sure your campaign delivers in terms of both awareness and revenue. Eliminating waste frees up space to refine your campaign and make sure it matches your vision. Maximizing the hours in a day during a marketing campaign naturally leads to better content, and there’s no shortage of ways to tackle inefficiency on your next project.
How to work effectively and efficiently
Some important things to consider when trying to be more efficient with campaign management:
Think about your minimum viable product
When trying to work effectively, consider the most basic version of your marketing campaign that would still check your key boxes. That’s your MVP, or minimum viable product, which is a helpful tool for getting your priorities straight.
You’d never want your final product to look just like your MVP, but it’s a good place to get the ball rolling. Schedule tasks so you finish the critical things first. Identify the things you’d like your campaign to include but aren’t absolutely necessary, and set those aside at the beginning.
Using an MVP-focused strategy also lets you stay at the bleeding edge of the conversation, and allows for an agile marketing approach to your campaign management. Waiting for every component of your campaign to line up before rolling anything out can cause some of your work to show signs of aging by the time it’s seen. Keeping your MVP in mind ensures only the most important things are on your plate and prevents you from getting bogged down by unnecessary distractions early on.
Utilize time blocking
Meetings, emails, distractions — they can all add up to big time lost. Over an entire marketing campaign, the numerous and varied tasks that need to be completed are a big drain on working hours. One way of getting on top of all of that is through time blocking.
Block sections or certain parts of the day for specific tasks: respond to emails in the morning on Fridays, hold meetings on Monday afternoons, etc. By grouping similar tasks in the same time block, you eliminate the time lost by constantly switching between different activities. A well-planned schedule helps the overall mission remain clear and keeps daily tasks from becoming overwhelming over the course of an entire marketing campaign.
Let consumers do the work for you
One of the most time-consuming parts of a campaign is the content creation itself. Work more efficiently and effectively by executing campaigns that take advantage of user-generated content. This will not only get social media traction, but it can also ease the burden of having to endlessly churn out original work on your end.
One example of this is Starbucks’ 2014 White Cup Contest. The campaign challenged customers to draw on Starbucks cups and share their creations online, with the winning design featured on limited-edition reusable cups a few months later. This campaign has plenty of obvious benefits: social media engagement, strengthening of brand-customer relations, a new cup design at the end of it all. What makes a campaign of this type so valuable, however, is how much of the work was done by Starbucks fans themselves. Including a user-generated content component in your marketing plan can produce big results without putting a drain on your team’s time.
Tip: To work effectively and efficiently, try repurposing your own content for multiple parts of a campaign and ensure a unified message across every touchpoint. Think: re-utilizing the content from a whitepaper and turning it into a webinar or turning video content into a shorter version for Stories on social media.
Embrace automation and campaign management technology
Automation has revolutionized marketing forever, and it’s becoming more and more accessible. Three-quarters of marketing teams now use automation of some kind in their workplace. The most common uses for automation are social media post scheduling and email marketing, yet well over a third of marketers say that audience research and ROI tracking are their biggest time drains. However, simply using automation isn’t enough to make you work effectively; you have to use it for the right tasks.
Using a centralized technology like NewsCred’s content marketing platform can make it easier to manage campaign tasks, calendars, and supporting assets, and automate scheduling social, email, and blog posts — all of which makes collaboration and execution more efficient. Ultimately, you need to identify what takes up the most time for your marketing team, then look for a tech solution that can help carry that load and make your organization work more efficiently. Automating the mundane tasks required during a marketing campaign frees up time for your team to work on more important things.
Look outside your immediate team
Your marketing team isn’t the only group at your company that can (or should) contribute to a marketing campaign. Working together with other teams pays plenty of dividends — like increasing camaraderie and ideating — but it also helps distribute the workload across more individuals. This will translate to your team working effectively and efficiently — as a whole.
Breaking down organizational silos and embracing integrated marketing are increasingly popular trends in the business arena for plenty of reasons. For example, getting your PR team on board with some of your content plans is a good way to complement your campaign strategy, while freeing up time for members of the marketing team to tackle additional high-level tasks.
Marketing campaigns are battles against the clock. The final product needs to feel relevant and up-to-date in order to compel an audience to pay attention or to act. But you can protect your campaign from rushed work that comes across as sloppy and inconsistent by taking steps to work effectively and efficiently. By using the right technology and thinking critically about how to maximize your time — and your team’s — you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your next big campaign.
John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling app that he’s convinced will change how we manage and invest our time. He authored the best-selling book “Top of Mind,” published by McGraw-Hill. John has been called one of the top Motivational Speakers that people should pay attention to.