According to Benjamin Franklin “if you want something done, ask a busy person”. He may well have been talking about a marketer or indeed a whole marketing department.
Though I work with organisations of all shapes and sizes, in this age of constant communication, I've come to the conclusion, that all marketing departments now fall into one of three categories of ‘rushed’.
These groups are driven by fear. They feel they can't afford to switch off in case they fall behind. That risk of not being able to catch up again, means that they're likely to be the only ones with 20 days holiday still to take on the last day of the year. Other symptoms include the compulsion to reply to an email that woke them up at 3am.
To do list rush
It might be an excel spreadsheet, a computer monitor smothered in post it notes or a series of panoramic white boards ramping up the pressure. To do list marketers are driven by achievement, although they never really stop to enjoy their success because there is always something to add to the list and there are never enough hours in the day to complete everything.
Put out the fires rush
I recently spoke to a head of marketing, who had brilliant ideas for their product line but never got round to implementing any of them, because of all the urgent things which ate the well meaning hours of each day. Such marketers are driven by the need to control, though their hurry blinds them from making any real progress. Sound familiar?
In truth we all have our moments in each camp. We won't stop being busy people, but we can take steps to make sure our efforts are more fruitful.
Know what you're trying to achieve by understanding what success looks like in your company
Is it a certain number of leads by the end of the quarter, a capacity crowd at your next webinar, a 100% positive rating on ebay? Set goals for your marketing so the rest of your business understands your contribution. This also helps justify your time and budget spend, when multiple projects are competing for your attention. If you aim at nothing, you're bound to hit it.
Make time to stay up to date
There's something new to learn every day, but the good news is we're all struggling with the same volume of content (email, social media, press, events etc.) and no-one knows everything. Set up google alerts for those terms and phrases you really need to stay on top of. Log articles to your reading list (that little pair of glasses icon on your dashboard). Bookmark pages and download ebooks. Anything that helps you self educate, will make you feel more confident and efficient.
Make marketing a business driver not a cost centre
What are your company objectives this year, or even this quarter? Measuring your marketing so that you can show how you're supporting the overall organisation, helps colleagues and customers alike. Every social media tool now comes with analytics and even the simplest website can provide a host of metrics. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it, so take control and see where your time is best spent.
If you're still struggling, remember Neil Young once sang ‘it's better to burn out than fade away’. Perhaps he was a closet marketer?