Why is marketing productivity important? By definition, marketing productivity measures an agency’s ability to transform its resources into results, both for clients and for the agency itself. A well-oiled marketing machine completes projects faster, delivers results that delight clients, lands even larger clients, and continues to grow. Perhaps even more importantly, productive agencies instill a sense of excitement and pride in their employees. Employees become stakeholders in the agency’s success and are motivated to drive that success to new heights. Is it any wonder that even the most renowned names in marketing continue to search for strategies to improve productivity?
Unfortunately, when they do, what they find is often unhelpful. Some tips can even do more harm than good. So before you hang another motivational kitten poster in the break room, read this guide to identify your productivity killers and adopt strategies that will deliver real results.
What Affects Marketing Productivity?
Before you can increase marketing productivity, you first need to identify its biggest threats. In other words, you can’t fight an enemy you can’t see. Here are a few of the most common factors:
Strategy. The most successful marketing agencies have a clearly defined strategy, not just for their own business but for each client they represent. Is your marketing strategy clearly defined? Each employee must understand their role in supporting the organizational and client strategies.
Identity. How do employees see themselves as part of the marketing agency? Do they feel valued and empowered as individuals? Each employee should be motivated to increase their own productivity rather than simply doing the minimum necessary to earn a paycheck and stay under the radar.
Health. Over 69 million employees miss work days every year due to illness. When they do, it doesn’t just affect their workload. The ripple effects create kinks in the production chain, stall projects, and slow down productivity as a whole.
Tech. Both hardware and software can have a major impact on marketing productivity. From slow PCs to jamming printers and outdated apps, tech tools that aren’t integrated and updated can sabotage even the most efficient marketing agencies.
Process. How many links are there in your agency’s production chain? Each one presents an opportunity for wasted time. The longer a production chain is and the more employees and outside vendors it requires, the larger the challenge will be to increase marketing productivity.
Regulation. Agencies don’t just have their own rules and guidelines. They also need to follow brand guidelines and industry regulations for each client they represent. Abiding by regulations is crucial, but learning and enforcing specific rules for multiple clients definitely slows productivity.
Communication. Marketing efficiency is nearly impossible without effective communication. Managers, employees, remote workers, vendors, and clients—they all need to keep communication lines open and information flowing to increase productivity.
Not sure what the biggest productivity challenges are for employees at your marketing agency? Ask them! HR reps, managers, and agency owners should touch base with employees often to assess their main productivity issues. Record feedback and identify patterns. Once you do, you’ll be ready to take next step—adopting strategies to increase marketing productivity.
How Agencies Can Increase Marketing Productivity
The easiest way to increase marketing productivity is to fill your agency with intelligent, well-trained staff. However, stacking your deck with the best and the brightest will still only take an agency so far. Increasing marketing productivity often requires some out of the box thinking. To disrupt the status quo and increase your output, try these unique tips:
Clean Digital Clutter
Where can you find the brand guidelines for your latest client? What about a .png file of the company logo or a template for your upcoming Facebook ad campaign? If you gave a different answer to each question, your productivity is suffering. Invest in a Digital Asset Management system and stop wasting time on a digital scavenger hunt. A professional DAM system makes organizing and accessing files easy and fast so projects are never stalled by misplaced files.
Stop Playing Telephone
Have you ever played telephone tag with someone working in another location? Ever been party to an email chain that spanned days, or even weeks? These systems can lead to miscommunication, frustration, and project delays. Adopt an in-office communication tool like Slack to relay important information, organize conversations, and keep employees on track.
These systems also allow employees to check in during the times that work best for them, instead of battling constant interruptions. A study from Florida State University found that productivity reaches a peak during uninterrupted 90-minute periods. So the fewer distractions, the better!
Free Employees to Focus on Marketing Productivity
While multitasking sounds like a good idea in theory, it’s not nearly as effective as applying laser focus to one task at a time. To understand why, consider this lion-taming anecdote by productivity expert James Clear:
“The classic image of a lion tamer is one of the entertainer holding a whip and a chair. The whip gets all of the attention, but it’s mostly for show. In reality, it’s the chair that does the important work. When a lion tamer holds a chair in front of the lion’s face, the lion tries to focus on all four legs of the chair at the same time. With its focus divided, the lion becomes confused and is unsure about what to do next. When faced with so many options, the lion chooses to freeze and wait instead of attacking the man holding the chair.”
Marketing managers should keep this image in mind. Each time you ping an employee for an update or throw another task on their plate, you’re holding up a chair. By reducing unnecessary meetings and messages and relying on scheduled check-ins or project management tools, managers can stay in the loop without slowing marketing productivity.
Improve Green Space for Better Concentration
A University of Melbourne study recently found that a 40-second break spent glancing at green space can improve concentration. “It’s really important to have micro-breaks,” said lead researcher Dr. Kate Lee. “It’s something that a lot of us do naturally when we’re stressed or mentally fatigued. There’s a reason you look out the window and seek nature, it can help you concentrate on your work and to maintain performance across the workday.”
This focus-booster isn’t just useful for rural offices with sprawling lawns. In fact, the Melbourne study was conducted using a rooftop garden as green space. Think of the outdoor areas and shared spaces your employees see and spend time in. How could you “greenify” these spaces to improve concentration?
Cut Design Time in Half
Is your graphic design team using marketing templates? If not, they’re working harder than they have to. These customizable templates don’t just improve brand compliance. They also save designers from having to tackle each project from scratch. Custom marketing templates are just one feature of BlueSky ETO’s Brand Marketing Centers. Add these templates to your toolbox and watch how the productivity of your design department improves!
Adjust the Thermostat
There are few productivity hacks simpler than this one. To boost marketing productivity in your office, set the thermostat between 65F and 70F. Studies have found that office temps outside this range can lead to decreased concentration, low productivity, and even depression.
Boost Marketing Productivity Through Remote Work
Did you know that telecommuters are an average of 14% more productive than their in-office counterparts? While abandoning your office and creating an agency made of completely remote workers may lead to more problems than solutions, agencies can benefit from giving their employees some flexibility. Make remote work an option and track productivity to gauge how each employee’s location affects their output.
Schedule Client-Free Hours
Most marketing experts know what it’s like to have a needy client. While all clients are important, some demand constant communication and updates, even going so far as to call account execs at home after business hours. To avoid interruptions that stall productivity, it’s crucial to establish and enforce boundaries.
Create at least an hour block of time during the workday when you’ll be out of reach to clients. Communicate this clearly, along with the other hours when you’ll be away from the office. Supply a secondary contact in case of emergency, and then silence your alerts during this time. Remember, setting boundaries and insisting clients and colleagues respect your time doesn’t just help you be more productive. It helps the agency and your clients as well.
Automated Marketing Strategies to Improve Productivity
Even high quality marketing materials won’t make an impact unless they’re targeted to the right audience. Creating targeted lists for specific silos is one thing—sending them the perfect message at the perfect time is definitely another. Automated Marketing Campaigns are the solution. With automated marketing, print ads, point of sale displays, email marketing, SMS, social media posts and ads—they can all be delivered to targeted audiences automatically at the right time. Imagine many hours your marketing agency could save with the help of automated marketing!
Which of these marketing productivity hacks do you plan to add to your business strategy? No matter which habits you adopt, it’s important to make changes in a mindful way. What do you hope to achieve by implementing these strategies to improve productivity? How is productivity measured in your agency? What is your current production rate for a specific deliverable and by what number or percentage do you hope to improve? Set a benchmark and measure your results. The less guessing and more tracking you do, the more effective your efforts will be!
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