5 Ways to Take the Surprises Out of Marketing
When it comes to the planning, implementation, and management stages of marketing, tracking all of the moving pieces and keeping up with unwarranted surprises are commonplace industry issues. This is especially true for marketers who lack visibility into resources, budgets, priorities, and timelines, which can cause anxiety when planning fails to run efficiently. Marketers, however, have more options than they realize when it comes to taking the surprises out of marketing and producing efficient, effective results. Here are some of the key steps that marketing managers can take to eliminate unpredictability in their work lives:
1. Plan with confidence.
The thought of assembling spreadsheets, pivot tables, and PowerPoint presentations is enough to make marketers consider giving up before starting. Juggling multiple calendars to schedule messages, sending out email blasts, publishing press releases, and coordinating campaigns can be daunting, especially when each piece of the puzzle lives within a disparate system. Syncing this information can take hours, or even days, and cause unnecessary confusion and unsynchronized efforts within a single marketing team. The answer lies in using a centralized calendar that provides marketers with a complete view of their campaigns, allowing them to visualize important milestones and helping them to adjust planned execution based on other elements of the puzzle. To achieve success as a team of marketers or as an individual, every piece of a campaign needs to live in a single space that is updated simultaneously, allowing marketers to move as fast as the industry does.
2. Maximize budgets.
Things get particularly messy when marketers manage the budget using an outdated spreadsheet system. A marketing budget can be a volatile beast, influenced by data, competition, and even spur-of-the-moment executive decisions. At times, information is so lacking that insight into ROI seems impossible. Flexibility and visibility are paramount to getting the most out of your budget. To increase control and calculate ROI, marketers must be able to track and manage their budgets without leaning on spreadsheets. By automating these processes, marketers can optimize budgets in real time.
3. Effectively manage resources.
Executing a marketing campaign can rely on internal and external resources. From design to review cycles to approvals, tracking milestones throughout the campaign creation and execution processes can cause an overwhelming influx of communications. This leads to a frustrating amount of time wasted on repetitive administrative tasks. Communicating effectively across the team is essential to proper and prompt execution of any campaign. Each team member must have enough information to manage and complete activities and task workflow, without wasting time waiting to be looped into important updates. The vast amount of moving parts makes it impractical to rely on email or phone calls, which would inevitably leave internal or external team members without the latest information. To be successful, marketers need to improve visibility and control over their most important asset—the team—by looking to a single platform to provide updates on the latest tasks.
4. Get a 360 degree view.
Many marketing teams are deeply fragmented, and their decisions are often opinion-driven rather than data-driven. Without a full view into the rationale behind the decisions being made, campaigns will fail, leaving marketers puzzled over what went wrong. To create more effective campaigns, marketers need to establish systems that track costs, standardize and prioritize workflows, deliver real-time analytics, and report their progress more efficiently. With immediate access to data-driven insights, marketers have the opportunity to assess their tactics, reevaluate their approach, and pivot to a new plan that can drive even greater value—all before a campaign is even launched. This 100 percent visibility over operations equips marketers like never before with real-time understanding of their processes, and allows them to make informed decisions when responding to tough challenges.
5. Ensure compliance.
At the end of the day, the easiest way to reduce stress and unhappy (and unnecessary) surprises in marketing is to be vigilant about compliance agreement. Compliance monitoring is not, and never has been, optional. Organizations must adhere to company, industry, federal, and other regulations or face dire consequences. It is imperative that activities and associated sign-off processes are tracked and monitored to capture all audit-related details. Successful and responsible marketers make compliance a top priority in campaign strategy, monitoring systems to ensure all rules are followed and needs are met before moving forward. To maximize compliance and minimize the risk of unknowingly breaching regulations, marketers must establish a clear audit trail throughout the approval process, allowing them to easily meet advertising and company regulations and face audits without any fear of harm.
Marketing is a fast-paced, highly active, and highly competitive business, but the unexpected surprises that seem fixed as an industry standard are no longer necessary. By following the above steps, modern-day marketers can free themselves of extraneous worries and lead more efficient and effective campaigns than ever before.
Jason Rushforth is vice president and general manager of customer experience at Infor.
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