Building Scalability In Your Digital Marketing
The February 2013 Highlights and Insights from CMOSurvey.org revealed that marketers in general are more optimistic about the economy. In August of last year, they rated the economy a 58.4 on a scale of 100. In February 2013, that rose to 62.7. The number of those surveyed who were more optimistic about the economy rose from 29% to 56.4%. They were even more bullish when it came to their own businesses. On a scale of 100, the average rating rose from 69.6 to 72.4.
To take advantage of the spike, marketing leaders are being entrusted with larger budgets to convert that optimism into revenue. Results of the Gartner 2013 U. S. Digital Marketing Spending Survey shows that digital marketing budgets were 2.5% of revenue last year but will increase to 9% in 2013. Overall, companies expect to increase spending on digital marketing by 10.4%.
While increased budgets are always welcomed, there is increased pressure on your marketing group to deliver on the aggressive goals you’ve been assigned.
That’s where scalability comes into play. You need to decide where and how you’ll invest your resources for maximum effect.
Rethink Your Team
Start by rethinking your team. Do you have enough internal resources to achieve your marketing goals or will you require outside marketing resources? According to Gartner, companies outsource up to 50% of their digital marketing activities. There are advantages to outsourcing, especially in a fast-paced competitive environment. By hiring an outside agency, you eliminate the slow and costly ramp up period while immediately increasing your marketing expertise. From a financial standpoint, you avoid taking on fixed cost overhead and can maintain your flexibility with a variable cost model.
What can you outsource to specialists or those with unique capabilities beyond your internal team? Where can you partner with complementary firms targeting the same audience? Which Influencers can you work with to help expand your reach?
What would happen if you forgot about geography, and simply worked with the best people you could find, whether in San Francisco, Boston or Albuquerque? Those individuals who appear super human (always seeming to get the work of two or three people done) are worth it, no matter where they are located, and can help you dramatically increase your output and results.
Rethink Your Infrastructure
How do you get done what you need to get done?
The answer should be SOFTWARE. To borrow a phrase from Marc Andreessen, software is “eating” marketing. Whether file management, project management, scheduling, design, development, content management, testing, competitive intelligence, or campaign management, software enables your team to accomplish more. There’s software for lead nurturing, display advertising, retargeting, paid search marketing, A/B landing page testing, multivariate landing page testing, social media management, email marketing, attribution measurement, communicating among a virtual team, business intelligence, dashboards, and analytics. The list goes on and on.
Use the cloud to scale your infrastructure. There are three main benefits to this. First, your infrastructure is infinitely flexible and scalable. Second, the cloud provider takes on the costs, time and resources dedicated to maintaining the infrastructure. Third, the cloud provider has a development team working continuously on updates and improvements to the software. You can spend all of your time leveraging the software to generate marketing results instead of on the software itself, plus you can cover more ground, get more done and achieve much better results by leveraging software in your activities.
In addition, to increase the scalability of your infrastructure, enable mobility whether at home, in the office or on the road. The technology is there to communicate seamlessly with others regardless of physical location, through online platforms for project management, scheduling, testing, analytics and communication. So empower all of your team members with as much mobility as possible.
Rethink Your Time Management
What if you could double your productivity with the resources you already have? Of course you’d do it. But the odd thing is that many marketing departments don’t manage their time in a way to drastically improve results.
Often times, marketers are too distracted to take the time to think of the breakthrough ideas that would produce exponential results. How much time do you allocate weekly or monthly to less “urgent” yet critical tasks such as thinking, brainstorming and re-imagining the future?
An enterprise software company’s marketing department felt the need to create a Pinterest strategy, simply because the CEO was asking about it, when the reality is that Pinterest would probably never result in a dime for the company and there were critical areas of their marketing, such as PR, which were ridiculously unattended. It’s wasteful distractions like these that keep you busy, but don’t get you anywhere. Learn to say “No” to distractions like these and to be extremely smart with your time.
What are the top three things you need to be doing to increase your marketing results? Are they crystal clear? Is your entire team aligned? Is your team spending 80% of its time on these three things? If not, it’s time to start re-prioritizing your time and to start learning to say “No” to more requests. Learn to focus, and you’ll see better results.
Finally, set aside dedicated time in your day to work undistracted on your most important marketing initiatives. This means turning off email, not answering your phone, and not checking Facebook. It means hunkering down and getting your work done with a singular focus. You’ll achieve more, faster, and with higher quality.