It seems as though productivity experts are everywhere. Many offer valuable tips on how to become more efficient and make better use of your time. For example, from the moment you get up in the morning until the time you shut it down at night, you’re offered advice on how to increase productivity and be more effective in whatever you’re doing.
But what about when it comes to marketing your business, or the business you represent as a distributed marketer, brand manager, or marketing agency? What can a business do to improve its productivity? Do you simply apply the same principles? The answer is both yes and no. Here’s how to increase productivity for your brand.
Business Productivity: Setting Goals
You’ve likely heard the adage: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Benjamin Franklin is credited with this time-honored phrase, and it applies to how you market your brand.
You need a marketing roadmap, of sorts, that clearly details what you want to achieve and how you intend to achieve it. After all, your goal is to not only win customers, but also keep them. To do that, you’ll need a plan of action. As you discover how to increase productivity, this is an ideal place to start.
Be SMART with Business Productivity: List Your Goals
The popular and widely publicized Harvard MBA Business School Study on Goal Setting revealed that written goals and a plan for attaining them work. In the study, a graduating class was asked if they had goals and a plan. It was determined that 84% had no goals at all, 13% had written goals but no plan, and only 3% had written goals and a plan. The results showed that the goal-oriented 13% were making twice as much money as the 84% that had no goals. And the 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan were making 10 times more than the rest of the class.
So, write down your goals and develop a plan to achieve them. But make sure they’re SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely).
For example, are you hoping for a 15% increase in sales per quarter this year? That’s specific and measurable, but is it achievable? If you don’t have a realistic chance of achieving the goal, you’re less likely to find success—and more likely to get frustrated. Also, make sure the goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to go in. Naturally, increasing sales is a typical goal for most businesses, but does it also relate to your other goals, like increasing your brand’s awareness or hiring more staff? Look at the big picture and make sure the goal is relevant.
Finally, you’ve got your deadline. A 15% increase in sales per quarter is a timely goal. What you don’t want to do is wait until the end of the quarter only to find out you’re nowhere near your goal. That’s where benchmarks come in.
Set Benchmarks Along the Way
You can take the SMART process a step further by setting benchmarks. This is a great way to know if you’re on the right track. If you want to increase sales by 15% over a four-month period, set monthly benchmarks to see if you’re heading in the right direction. That way, you can make adjustments if you see you’re not moving toward that goal. If you increased sales by 3.75% or more during the first month, you’re on the right track.
How to Increase Productivity: Work Smarter, Not Harder
When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want—and you’re burning the midnight oil to check the next item off your to-do list—consider a new plan. By implementing a few simple techniques, you’ll discover how to increase business productivity and free yourself to do more in less time.
- Work in blocks of time. According to an article from Inc., our brain is only able to stay focused for about 90 minutes. Then you need a minimum of 15 minutes of rest from whatever you were doing.
- Avoid distractions. When you’re hard at work on a specific task, avoid the things that will easily distract you, like the “ding” of an incoming email. Set aside specific times to check and reply to emails, like the beginning of the day. Others like to wait until they’ve completed a priority task or two, like Hannah Morgan of Career Sherpa.
- Take productive breaks. When you take a break, make it a productive respite from the tasks at hand. Go for a walk, take a quick power nap, or try a meditation app like Headspace to help you recharge. Another option is to try looking at a “green space” for about 40 seconds to improve your concentration.
- Conquer your most important tasks. Career guru Adunola Adeshola identifies her highest-priority items each day and conquers them first. This not only gets those tough tasks out of the way, it also provides a sense of accomplishment.
- Delegate authority. There’s no law that says you have to complete every item on your to-do list. Maybe someone else can do it. Think about those tasks you can outsource and hand them off.
- Clean off your desk. Sometimes desk clutter can serve as a distraction. Disorder overloads your senses. Clean up your desk (and your computer desktop) and you might clean up your mind to tackle those harder tasks.
- Save for later. When you happen upon an interesting article you’d like to read, don’t let it distract you. Use a service like Instapaper to save it to read later.
OK, Work Harder, Too
In your search on how to increase productivity, there’s nothing wrong with hard work. Oftentimes, there’s too much emphasis on ways to get around hard work when that’s the precise prescription for getting something done well. Find a balance between working smarter and working harder to reach your business productivity pinnacle.
In an article for the Huffington Post, technology marketing leader and TEDx speaker Ian Khan said:
Working hard or working smart cannot be separated from each other. Even when working hard, you have to make smart choices. You cannot just wake up one day and say to yourself, ‘Today I will make smart choices.’ No, you should be saying that to yourself every day and work ‘hard’ on it.
Embracing technology doesn’t mean using email instead of the telephone to communicate. By all means, use both whenever it’s appropriate. But think about adopting a marketing strategy that focuses on how to increase productivity, creating ways you can become more efficient in the process.
Picture this scenario. A local marketer representing your brand needs marketing collateral. Let’s say it’s a localized brochure. Rather than taking a request and having a graphic designer create this individual piece for them, you’re able to provide a customizable template they can work with that meets brand standards. The design of the brochure is complete and approved. All they have to do is “fill in the blanks” with their local information. The end result? Your entire marketing team is more efficient and your designers can use their time more wisely.
BlueSky ETO provides brand marketing software for distributed organizations. You can enjoy the benefits of a brand marketing center, digital asset management, and automated marketing campaigns. Combined, they form an efficient and productive method of marketing your brand.
Marketing Automation Tools
Let’s say you have an email to send to a diverse audience. Instead of creating each message separately, marketing automation software automatically generates and sends these messages for you. Consider the time savings. You don’t have to create thousands of unique email messages. You can use marketing automation and variable data printing to create customized materials for each audience. Now that’s business productivity.
Business Collaboration Tools
Playing phone tag with your co-workers or stretching an email thread from days to weeks is not a productive way to do business. A team collaboration tool like Slack brings all your communication messages together into channels. The channels split into teams, projects, clients, or any other method that’s relevant to your organization. And unlike long chains of emails, team members can join and leave channels as needed. It’s an efficient and productive way to communicate with your marketing team.
Make Continuous Quality Improvement a Priority
No matter what plan you have in place and no matter what method you use to increase your marketing productivity, you need to be sure you’re not stagnating. A commitment to continuous quality improvement will help to ensure you’re always on the right road to success.
Continuous quality improvement—also known as CQI—is a management philosophy. Businesses want to reduce waste and increase the efficiency and satisfaction of their customers and employees. It’s an ongoing process that examines how an organization works and then finds ways to improve upon it.
What Can a Business Do to Improve its Productivity?
It’s a simple question. And for all intents and purposes, there are simple answers. Yet, business productivity eludes us. That’s why we search for ways we can improve upon it. By applying the recommendations mentioned above, you’ll streamline your marketing efforts and become a more productive marketer for your brand.
As you discover how to increase productivity, get your entire marketing team on the same page by incorporating a brand management software solution that’s customized for your organization’s specific needs. Schedule a free consultation to learn how to increase your business productivity.
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