Anne Leuman

4 Marketing Productivity Tips from Workfront’s Mike Riding #DSMPLS

Anne Leuman on Aug 15th, 2019     Digital Marketing, Digital Summit, Marketing & PR Industry

Mike Riding of Workfront at Digital Summit Minneapolis

Does work follow you home?  When was the last time you had a work week that was actually 40 hours? 

Marketers often feel pressed for time and overworked. In fact, according to recent Workfront research:

  • 64% say they’re being asked to come up with new ways of working
  • 58% are so swamped, they don’t have time to think beyond their daily tasks
  • 56% they’re completely overwhelmed. 

Mike Riding, Workfront’s Director of Digital Marketing, came to Digital Summit Minneapolis with the sole goal of helping marketers get more work done. While organizations typically turn to technology to solve the productivity problem, Mike offered four actionable, process-driven ways marketers can modernize their work and become more productive. 

Read on to discover Mike’s work world where marketers don’t just put out fires and juggle last minute tasks. Sounds pretty great, right?

4 Fast, Easy Ways to Boost Marketing Productivity

1. Provide the Right Structure 

According to Mike, there are two schools of thought when it comes to structure and process. You either think:

  1. Process kills creativity and innovation.
  2. A lack of process kills creativity and innovation.

Which school of thought do you fall into?

Do you think processes complicate work, create too many steps, and are irrelevant to the task at-hand? Or, do you think a lack of process leads to juggling whatever is thrown your way and leaves you wondering what the next step is?

If you picked one over the other, you’re in the wrong camp. Mike explained: “You need to have a balance between the two. Too much process and too little process are both problematic. Just enough process unlocks creativity and innovation.”

Too much process and too little process are both problematic. Just enough process unlocks creativity and innovation. @Michael_Riding #DSMPLS Click To Tweet

To see how many processes your own organization leverages, Mike suggests carefully examining your workflow, understanding it, and slowly improving it over time. This step should also include documentation. “You’ll only get to this point if you have the discipline to sit down and write your processes out,” he said.

With documented processes, you can easily template them and make small, iterative changes that significantly improve how you work.

2. Make Collaboration Easier

“Why do we have meetings?” was a question Mike posed half-way through his presentation.

“To crush our souls!” one enthusiastic attendee shouted back. 

In reality, meetings exist for five reasons:

  1. Give information
  2. Get information 
  3. Develop ideas
  4. Make decisions
  5. Create warm, magical human contact

Marketing isn’t a one-person job. Even if you’re the sole marketer in your organization, you still need to work closely with sales, service, and other teams across the organization to do quality work, on time. These relationships within your own department, and with others, need to have easy collaboration between them. And meetings are a great way of bringing those parties together for sharing, brainstorming, alignment, and more. 

But 62% of workers say meetings are the No. 1 thing that gets in the way of work. We aren’t making use of our time together. 

To make meetings count, Mike suggests making objectives and agendas clear and upfront in the meeting invite itself. He also asks marketers to be better about not meeting. Shave your meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. Decline invited for meetings that don’t have an agenda. Stack your meetings back-to-back so there aren’t odd, unproductive gaps between them. And, lastly, block out time for real work:

“I love teams that say, ‘Every Thursday we’re going to be at home,’” he shared. “It’s hands-off time so they can get important work done and not be disturbed.”

3. Streamline Review and Approvals

If there was one point in Mike’s talk that had me shouting “Hallelujah!”, it was when he proclaimed: “Trim the approval chain!”

As Mike pointed out from Workfront’s State of Work Report:

  • 60% of marketers go through 5 or more rounds of review
  • 14% of marketers endure 10 or more rounds

That’s an insane number of revisions and a massive time suck. There’s a reason why he chose the word “endure”: over 10 rounds of edits is torture.

“What this tells me is that ‘We don’t have the structure to give the stamp of approval.’” he said. “It’s a Merry-Go-Round effect.”

How do you get off the Merry-Go-Round ride? 

“Proof in one place and document the process. It creates an audit chain where you can see where the product has been and how it got into the state it’s in now,” Mike suggested. 

With a clear audit chain and proof history, you can see where common bottlenecks are and where optimizations can be made. 

4. Measure What Matters

Just like measurement is important for your campaigns, it’s equally as important for your work. But how do you measure something as broad and all-encompassing as work? 

Luckily, Mike shared five Work Performance Indicators (WPIs) that will help you get started: 

  1. Mix
  2. Capacity
  3. Velocity
  4. Quality
  5. Engagement

Mix is the type of work that you’re doing. Are you doing maintenance work that keeps the engine running? Or, are you doing growth work that creates new opportunities? Know your current mix and your ideal mix so you can make room for the type of work you want to focus on.

Capacity is the amount of work your team can perform. Are you operating over capacity or under? Knowing this measurement will help you determine if you can take on more work and when.

Velocity is the speed at which you can complete the work. This measurement is extremely helpful for anticipating the time needed to complete projects. 

Quality is how you (and others) feel about the work that is being completed. Are your clients happy with the finished product? Is the team proud of what they’ve accomplished?

Engagement is a measurement of how engaged your employees are with the work. People do their best work then they understand their role, believe their role matters, and are proud of what they do. To make sure your team wants to get the work done, you need to measure their level of engagement in the work that they do.

With these five WPIs tracked, you’ll get better insight into what you can do and how you can do it better.

Workin’ 9 to 5

Preach, Dolly. And with Mike’s tips from the floors of Digital Summit Minneapolis, maybe we’re not so far off from that 9 to 5 dream. It just takes the right amount of process, easier collaboration, streamlined approvals, and measurement to get there. 

For more marketing tricks and tips, stay tuned here for updates from Digital Summit Minneapolis (#DSMPLS). For real-time insights, follow @annieleuman, @azeckman, @dfriez, and @ElizabethW1057 on Twitter.

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