How to Cut Daily Grind and Get Down to Strategic Planning

16 hours a week marketers spend on routine tasks. Here's how to fix that.

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Sometimes the working schedule of a professional employed in the digital marketing area looks like a living nightmare: juggling myriads of daily tasks at once, prioritizing, arranging, researching and resolving a never-ending list of assignments. In the office space, managing daily tasks and events sometimes referred to as “operations management,” is an irreplaceable part of the work that is wrapped around a certain project. This also includes regular interaction with subordinates or giving an immediate response to all incoming tasks.

“Who else if not me?” If that thought crosses your mind way too often, it’s probably an indication: you’re one gasp away from drowning in routine. According to a survey, the average marketer spends more than 16 hours a week performing tasks of little to no importance.

Task management can bring real benefits only if work is based on a well-thought-out strategy that excludes repetitive manipulations, meaningless operations and leaves enough time for strategic planning and creativity. Here are a few steps that can streamline your daily grind and make your deadlines reachable.

Say hola to standardization

Have you ever noticed the ease and speed that street food employees work with? The same can be said about chefs at luxury restaurants – who else can manage food this quickly and with so much elegance? The thing is, performing your work well is not a talent – it’s a product of a well-defined strategy. All chefs know exactly how many grams of sauce to put into a dish, what burger-making sequence makes them tastier and how to slice the onions thrice faster.

Your workplace can function in the same way. Make job descriptions for every employee. Try to think of a specific function that each person performs in the company; what exactly each employee in your company should do and according to which KPI?

In the sales department, be sure to implement CRM (Customer Relationship Management). In fact, 23% of salespeople consider daily data entry their biggest challenge and 17% lack necessary integrations that contribute to robust data consolidation. After adoption of CRM and tools for marketing automation and standardization, 77% of employees report an increase in conversions and the overall improvement of workloads.

Welcome automation

Identify areas where automation is a must. For instance, when account managers enter data into CRM, they will most certainly replicate this action and enter the same data in Excel or Google sheets in order to share with marketers. You can avoid all these routine manipulations and clear the time for performing more important work by applying data entry automation software. Today, such solutions can be integrated with CRM and systems specifically designed for accounting tasks.

Sometimes the greatest obstacle for marketing professionals appears to be technology overload. More than 36-60 minutes a day is necessary to fine-tune and integrate the technological pool, which typically consists of no less than five different tools designed for marketing workflow automation.

As a rule, a new tool to the marketer’s plate is added spontaneously. The marketers are driven by promises of a brighter and simpler workflow. As a result, they form a whole arsenal that slowly consumes time instead of saving it. If your brand also does advertising, the toughest part of the workflow can be managed by self-serve programmatic advertising. Using such software, the marketer only configures the main conditions for purchasing ad impressions online. The rest of the media-trading is performed by a system that defines the optimal price, bids on impressions and organizes placements on suitable websites.

The professional, typically torn among big data analytics, content, statistics, sales and management, is at ease with solutions such as CRM, and integrating it in a self-serve programmatic advertising platform helps to understand campaign performance as a whole.

Encourage smart delegation

According to numerous surveys, 77% of businesses face problems associated with professional burnout in the workplace. In the small business niche, the situation is even more challenging, where 86% of managers regularly work on weekends, and 53% are busied on federal holidays.

Freeing yourself from a great part of operational tasks should not create another extremum. Do not put yourself in a disadvantageous position by delegating tasks entirely to a couple of well-performing managers. The efficiency of delegation, first of all, will depend on the correct ratio of different functional groups of employees at the company.

Try to divide tasks into different categories: let’s say all financial issues should be entrusted to the finance department and customer calls to the call center. Do not let responsibilities overlap. Delegate things that require detailed work, repetitive assignments and tasks that you plan to make a part of this or that department’s responsibilities in the future. If you belong to the top managerial stuff, remember to leave for yourself assignments related to the evaluation of employees, discipline, sensitive matters, and tasks that have been explicitly assigned to you.

The takeaway

Working under the pressure of a heavy, routine workload is not only stressing, it can also lead to a situation where employees lack the time to take a look at the big picture: the dynamics, trends and, most importantly, the significance of work they do. Inviting into your daily workflow a little more certainty with standardization, automation and delegation will help transform the workplace and let everyone find strengths and inspiration to generate and share valuable ideas.

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