24 hours. That is all we have to accomplish the one million tasks on our daily agendas. Do you find yourself subconsciously running strategic tests to ensure that you are spending your time efficiently? Whether it is experimenting with alternative routes to work each day or using multiple programs to manage your inbox, task lists and projects, in the end, you want to make sure that you aren’t wasting a minute of your day on a tedious task.
Marketing optimization is the process of improving marketing efforts to maximize desired business outcomes. As an operations manager, part of my role is to improve and advance my team’s business processes to allow them the opportunity to spend quality time on the departments’ goals that will ultimately help benefit our audience.
When optimizing your marketing practices, the first thing you want to consider is the customer experience. If that part of the equation fails, it’s back to the drawing board even if that process works well for your team.
As marketers, the main challenge we face is making the time to define successful practices. Instead, teams tend to simply follow processes as they have always been done. We need to forget the short-term excuse of not having enough time and make time to start thinking about the future.
To optimize your own marketing processes, follow these four simple steps.
Step #1. Understand the process
The first step in the marketing optimization process is to identify and gain clarity on the purpose and vision of what you want to achieve. How are your organization’s current processes managed, and what specific problem are you looking to solve? For example, are your customers not receiving quick turnarounds on products they purchase? If you’d like to reduce cost or move faster in your process, your area of focus would be to adjust your efficiency and agility.
During this understanding step, you want to gather any data that can help support your marketing decisions. Track the process through the eyes of your customer from beginning to end, and map out your workflow. Map out all possible conversion paths, and match them with metrics, such as email opens or clicks on landing pages.
Here is an example of a conversion path: Tweet on blog post > Blog landing page > Newsletter sign-up
What can you learn from the paths? Your data is going to point out potential process changes, whether it is the low generation of leads or the high cost of your campaigns. Think about how the data will affect your desired new vision and what challenges or constraints that you could potentially face along the way.
Common constraints include:
Step #2. Gain organizational alignment
For this step, the key will be collaborating with your team as you identify your stakeholders. Buy-in is required from those who will be working on the team all the way up to the top leaders in the organization. Involving different functional department representatives provides insight to the process and helps to highlight the goals that your team wants to accomplish in the end.
This step doesn’t need to be overly complicated — you don’t have to hold the team hostage in a room until every detail or potential issue is resolved. You want your team to begin to adopt this culture of optimization and committing to this initiative.
Ensuring that your team has a clear understanding of the process and is excited for the new approach can help leadership model the improved process.
Common goals and benefits:
- Minimizing cost maximizing time and/or efficiency
- Allowing individuals to respond quickly to business events
- Enabling individuals to maximize their roles and responsibilities
- Effectively optimizing results in your operations
Step #3. Utilize team capabilities
Do you have the proper resources to execute the newly developed plan? The plan may be excellent on paper, but without the capacity to execute it, you may end up doing more harm than good. While it may seem easy to make several updates at once to the organization, your team must have the time and space to handle all of their daily responsibilities and projects in addition to this new process you are planning to implement.
Be open to prioritizing the processes that your team has in their queue with the projects on their plates. In order for the overall strategy to be effective, time needs to be spent going through the processes and catching any hick-ups and feedback on the value of the new process.
- Fiscal resources
Step #4. Optimize and execute
Testing, testing, testing is key. This new process will become an important asset to becoming more efficient in your marketing efforts. Along with testing, analysis goes hand in hand and your results can further valid your hypothesis.
By previously outlining your goals, responsibilities and refining approaches that your team can take, you’re now ready to use the data to target your challenges and maximize where you can achieve success. So your next phase is building out the strategy for implementation.
In this step, look to see if technology can aid your plan. Automation has the benefit of increased reliability and responsiveness, but don’t become completely reliant on programs. I have personally been too wrapped up in the idea of learning a new program and spent too much time trying to get the program to do all of the work. I had to reanalyze a way to utilize the program to help me manage parts of the process, not 100% of it.
You can also optimize assets in the process, such as your content, videos, landing pages and so much more. Everything that is related to measuring and optimizing your online marketing budget falls under marketing optimization.
But know your limits especially if it includes traffic, because you only have so much of it. And know what is truly worth testing. A lot is going to go into this process, from designing the tests and developing the assets, to execution and analysis.
- Value realized
Now it’s your turn
By devoting time early on to figure out why current processes aren’t beneficial, you are able to correct the issues and provide a better quality product for your customers. Just know that the process won’t happen overnight — it will be ongoing. In the end, with a bit of creative thinking and a well-developed strategy, you too can use marketing optimization to help increase your business objectives, team morale and customer engagement.
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