7 Life Hacks for Marketing Leaders
Life hacks are an increasingly-popular form of tips we can share with each other for making life easier and more successful.
Marketing leaders stand to benefit greatly from learning useful life hacks. As much as any profession, our daily jobs are often chock-full of stressful schedules, lofty expectations placed on us, a laundry list of new technologies to learn, and a high degree of ambiguity about what is actually working.
MindEcology to the rescue! Here are 7 life hacks for Marketing Managers to make life easier:
1. Spend 5 minutes each morning self-educating: To cope with information overload, most of us just try to shut down the flow. But the key to your ongoing education is moderation and consistency. Hack: time-block just 5 minutes in your schedule each morning – at the same time each day – to read a favorite daily e-newsletter or blog from your topic of interest.
Or, subscribe to 5 weekly newsletters and skim one each day, round-robin style. Find one useful tip in each one, then spend 1 minute more deciding if you can implement it at your organization. That’s 6 minutes a day – and think what you could learn in just a month.
2. Prioritize your daily tasks in terms of value and importance: The book “Sustainable Edge” by Ron Carson and Scott Ford advocate that as a manager you should map out your “Essential Six” items to be tackled the following day. Hack: write your own Essential Six to-do items at the end of each work day so that you can hit the ground running with your most important tasks when the sun comes ’round again.
3. Time block to knock out key tasks daily: Time-blocking is nothing new, but so many marketing professionals fail to engage in this helpful practice. While scheduling a time block is fairly easy to do, having the will power NOT to check your e-mails or answer calls (or visits to your cubicle) is the real challenge. Hack: let your co-workers know that you are time-blocking 90 minutes each morning and 90 minutes each afternoon. Give them your schedule. Set your e-mail to auto-responder or just respond later. You can make a huge dent in your Essential Six before you know it.
4. Set clear expectations to employees, colleagues, boss and customers: Everyone with whom you come into contact each day expects something from you. And usually, you expect something from them in return. This often takes the form of information (e.g., ideas, data, feedback, direction, etc.) and approvals. Hack: at the beginning of each new business relationship, set the tone by letting your employees, colleagues, boss and customers know what they can expect from you.
Spell out these expectations in an e-mail or other written document. And, remind them often. This will reduce confusion and disappointment – making your office a happier place in which to work.
5. Require your Marketing Partners, Employees and Vendors to speak “Data” when reporting to you results: When hiring internal or external talent to help you get the job done, you have a goal in mind. Why not quantify that goal? That way, everybody knows in detail whether that goal is being met. Hack: ask every vendor and partner to quantify the results they deliver for you. Turn it into data. Set goals and metrics. Then, ask them to report regularly using those goals and metrics as a baseline.
6. Empower employees to think and act for themselves: The hit business book “Work Rules” by Laszlo Block, SVP of People Operations at Google, encourages managers to entrust their employees with more real responsibility, rather than micromanaging.
In fact, Block insists that this is the ONLY way to get the best out of your employees. Sure, mistakes will be made now and again, but in the long run this is the only real choice for success. Hack: make a list of all those who report directly to you. For each person, decide 1-2 areas of responsibility that you currently tend to micromanage and write down a concrete way to give them more decision authority. Then make it happen and watch the creativity flow into your office.
7. Become an expert on the make-or-buy decision (i.e., when to outsource): Successful people want to be able to “do it all themselves” – or to hire somebody in-house who can. We managers will go to great lengths to petition our colleagues, directors or CEOs to hire new personnel for tasks that don’t justify the expense. Or, we try to re-train existing people to do things they are just not suited for. At those times, outsourcing should be seriously considered. Hack: next time you consider hiring in-house, look into all of your options first.
Comparing the costs of hiring personnel to outsourcing is called a “make-or-buy” decision. Whether to tip the scales one way or the other should boil down to dollars and cents, NOT just your personal preference or gut feeling.
Become a life hack master in your place of business. You’ll save yourself time, be more successful, and be seen as a marketing rock star in the eyes of those around you.
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