The season of spring cleaning will soon be upon us. For at least 45 minutes I will muster some motivation, shuffling in and out of rooms, lamenting any cluttered areas, and maybe hastily shove some ghosts of fashion’s past into my donation bag.
But then I’ll have to check my phone. Or pop into email because I forgot to send that one thing that person needed. Because that is what modern business life calls for, and that is certainly part of the marketing communications gig.
Whether you’re a small agency owner, a big-name CMO, an industry go-to expert or in your very first job, marketers are maddened creatures at this point, and I’d argue more than even a decade ago.
Too many options; must be artist, scientist, psychologist, journalist and data analyst at the same time; and oh yes, do this all precisely strategic, in real-time, while simultaneously driving sales, building the customer experience and advancing the corporate culture. And…influencers…
I’ll never forget when an industry contact shared his secret fantasy of becoming a driver: “I’ll drop you off...I’ll pick you up...then I’ll go home.”
Other more realistic daydreams take us straight to “IF” land…
When we respond to one IF, there’s another IFFER just waiting to take its place.
The stuff problem. Maybe I’ve watched too many reality shows, but we know that buying a bigger dwelling, or extra storage units, won’t solve problems. The root of the issues is that we are filling a void: a void made by fear. Same thing with marketing communications clutter:
There’s no way around it, so we have to go through it (as least until artificial intelligence takes over all of our jobs).
Try this exercise in your next planning meeting, or when you simply hit a moment of too much.
First ask, what is critical to advancing your organization, brand and people?
Then what do you personally do that’s good, scary good?
Look at the work week, month, quarter or other suitable time parameters of yourself or the team you manage.
Wipe away the time suckers and administrative tasks you can’t avoid. Look at the actual quality production hours you’ll have each week, subtracting the meeting times and travel, and what not. What’s left, and how can you have the biggest impact on your team and business, by giving the best you have to give?
Commit to it, rock it, love it!
(Outsource, Delegate, Automate)
What remains critical and that you still have to do that doesn’t fall within your precious productivity blocks?
Or what do you want or need to do, but don’t have the skill set or bandwidth to perform personally, nor the prioritization, budget or interest in hiring or training more bodies.
The perpetual answer: why don’t you outsource? Well, effective outsourcing takes an A-player on the inside to drive the process, maximize the partnership, and overall dedicate the focused and productive time needed to see the results. I’ve been on both sides; I know this reality far too well.
When you are considering what to move to the donate column, factor in:
(or better put, Step Away, Shelve, Recycle)
Major disclaimer here. Unless you have a strong case of saving money or driving sales/growth, if your company, boss, board will not let you throw something away, then go back to Keep or Donate.
Maybe you’ve given your all to something — or someone — that simply hasn’t worked. Maybe the money or patience has run out on an endeavor. Maybe your gut is telling you to run and don’t look back.
Something has to give. When a tactic, campaign or an entire service area is all kinds of wrong, it’s worth at least stepping away temporarily to gain fresh perspective before final decisions. You may find something worthy of recycling or repurposing.
Shelving something is not the same as forgetting forever, and just like fashions, everything seems to come back around. Give yourself permission to step away to find out.
What Will You Keep?
A ridiculously and increasingly complex marketing communications ecosystem calls for a simple way to make sense, and make haste, not waste, with the time at our disposal.
How do you help yourself and teams keep organized and prioritized? What will you hold dear, and what's up for discussion?
Christina Capadona-Schmitz (@ChristinaCS & @DownWithSpitUp) leads marketing communications for Oswald Companies, a risk management and financial services company in Cleveland, Ohio. She is on the clock 24/7 with her parenting resource blog www.DownWithSpitUp.com, among other creative pursuits and community endeavors. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinacapadonaschmitz.