Some of the biggest challenges in marketing include lack of resources, tough competition, inconsistent quality, and more. Couple this with the rising costs of digital marketing and you have a situation wherein marketers need to make a focused effort to drive positive marketing outcomes.
The above figure clearly illustrates the rising costs of digital ads, which proves online marketing is becoming a costly exercise. The need of the hour, therefore, is to ensure your marketing processes, a part of the marketing strategy is implemented seamlessly. This will make sure that your marketing campaigns will achieve results and marketing investments will deliver sustainable and enhanced marketing ROI.
So, how do you go about streamlining your marketing workflows to improve marketing outcomes?
Take a close, hard look at your existing workflow and identify the gaps that are holding your marketing strategy back. Find out what is working and more importantly, what is not. The whole idea here is to spot inefficiencies so that you can take effective steps to make your marketing process more efficient.
Conduct a SWOT analysis that not only helps you identify strengths and weakness, but also threats and opportunities. E.g. one of your weakness might be the fact that you are not leveraging the right tools to drive your efforts, which in itself is an opportunity. This opportunity can be exploited by choosing a comprehensive tool that aids your digital marketing efforts.
It’s important that you cut marketing clutter, that is those activities that create chaos and do not contribute to marketing efforts. For this to happen, you need to make a list of every task that needs to be done and also create sub-tasks that will help you achieve a specific task.
E.g. Blog writing is a critical task. This needs to be mapped with your strategy but, getting it done involves your writer completing a series of sub-tasks, as under:
Confirm the viability of the idea
Workout WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)
Coordinating with the SEO guy to identify the right keywords
Creating an outline
Validating outline with the marketing team
Identifying blog sections
Writing a blog post
Getting feedback from key marketing stakeholders
Updating post with feedback
Coordinating with the designer to identify images or creating custom images for the blog
Delivering blog to the team for distribution
This is the simplest form of a ‘blog creation’ workflow and you are mapping the essential tasks that can help you create a successful blog. You are thus able to focus only on the essentials and ignore useless tasks that are eating into your time and resources.
This needs to be done for all marketing tasks, so that all your marketing workflows for content marketing, email marketing, social media, paid search, SEO, and more are managed seamlessly.
Automate tedious and repetitive marketing activities. Automation is critical to your streamlining efforts as it improves the productivity of specific tasks and also their accuracy. Another important benefit that marketing automation brings to the table is it frees up your time and resources that can be invested in other strategic marketing tasks that require human intervention.
Below are some of the tasks that marketers believe consume a majority of their time:
Don’t let the figures give you the wrong idea. Yes, 67% of marketers believe content creation takes a lot of time, but this is an activity that cannot be automated. However, ROI tracking is an activity that can be automated.
Other tasks that can be automated include content scheduling, event-based emails, drip emails, lead qualification, A/B testing, and more. According to Social Media Today’s State of Marketing Automation Survey, 75% of marketers said they use marketing automation tools. So, automation is delivering returns from a marketing perspective.
Automation helps you get better results as automated tasks don’t need hands-on management; they only need to be monitored for their efficacy. Automation also reduces costs, so that you can continue a particular activity over the long term, without worrying about increased overheads. This gives you a bigger window of opportunity to focus on specific marketing activities that deliver strategic value.
All the automation benefits put together will help you streamline your marketing workflow.
What are my goals?
Get an answer to this question and make sure that you convey these goals to your marketing team members. All marketing stakeholders must have clarity on what the workflows are trying to accomplish, the life cycle of every workflow, and their timeline.
By adopting a goal-based approach towards a workflow, you can put in place the right strategy from the word go, wherein every action you take moves you one step closer towards the goal.
Take for example the case of guest blogging. Your identified goal, in this case, is ‘increased brand reputation’. This is done by identifying industry-leading blogs, and asking for an opportunity to publish articles on these blogs; if and when you get the go-ahead, you pitch an article idea, which goes well with the blog’s inherent purpose, and if the idea is greenlit, you go ahead and develop an article around this idea, send it and if approved, the article gets published.
There are two critical aspects to guest blogging – outreach and content creation. The latter’s success is based on the former – in this case, both have just one goal: enhance brand reputation. You will find that goal setting smoothens the workflow in such a fashion that teams are not working at cross purposes to each other. They have a shared vision, which ensures they work together seamlessly to achieve desired goals.
Too often workflows are hampered by one person taking the onus for multiple jobs. However, multitasking can prove to be detrimental to tasks on hand. You want people to maintain focus on one task and do it well, rather than thinking of the diverse tasks that are assigned to them. The mark of a perfectly streamlined workflow is that people who are a part of this workflow are achieving desired objectives. This is because each task is in the hands of an expert.
A person wearing two-hats that of a writer and an SEO person seems to be a really good idea, from the cost perspective, but think about it? You are saddling a person with two key responsibilities that have the potential to make or break a workflow. Is the risk worth it? This can result in a lack of productivity, a fact proven by specific studies conducted on the efficacy of multitasking.
So, don’t risk it. Put the right people to work on the right task to take care of one workflow component, so that they can focus all their attention on it and do it well.
If you want to streamline your marketing workflows, it is imperative that you adopt a macro and micro outlook. Don’t overhaul entire workflows, but identify problem areas and see how they can be improved upon. Task mapping, the use of automation, goal orientation, and working with the right people, will aid your streamlining efforts. Give these a try!