- The most common cause of poor productivity in modern marketing,
- Exactly how it harms our personal and team results by 40% or more,
- And how to acquire the superpower you need to beat it.
How To Overcome Makeshift Marketing With New Marketing Superpowers via @CoScheduleClick To Tweet
The Many Faces Of Makeshift MarketingIn marketing, we need to move quickly. We need to launch campaigns with speed… Run effective ads the first time around... Publish content that produces results... And do this all to the tune of providing real business value. However, our overwhelming tide of tools and demands presses hard against our mission. The modern marketing stack makes staying organized hard. The reality is that today’s marketing landscape is flooded with single-function tools. You’ve got your planning tools, social stack, tools for content marketing, and then productivity tools to manage your team. Problem is, none of them play well together. This makes your life more difficult and actually costs you results. Around here, we call it Makeshift Marketing, and what we mean is many of the teams we talk to end up adopting a variety of tools just to get their work done… They’ll use one tool for social, and another for task management, and then before they know it they end up adding a spreadsheet to the mix to TRY and tie it all together…
How You’re Losing Productivity + ResultsSo let’s talk about why this actually costs us marketers so much. One of makeshift marketing’s worst effects is called context switching. It’s a way of describing the productivity tax of changing from one activity to another. Psychologically, it involves two stages: goal shifting and rule activation. Stage one is goal shifting, which is a function of choosing a new task to focus on. Stage two is rule activation, which means your brain is turning off the rules of the old task and turning on the rules for the new one. For example, let’s say you’re in a meeting about an upcoming marketing campaign. Your team is walking through the launch brief, everyone’s roles, and those all-important deadlines. However, while Fred is talking about the the key metrics you’ll be measuring, your phone buzzes with an email notification. Your habit of immediately responding nudges you to check it on the sly beneath the conference table. (C’mon, we’ve all done it. It’s NOT like you’re driving.) The email is from your boss, and it’s in reply to an email from her boss asking about the status of a project. The simple question she asked is: “Where are we at on this?” #ugh Is she mad? Does she think the delay is your fault, even though you’re waiting on another team? You reply with: “Have it on my radar for today. Will follow up ASAP.” Then quickly open your todo app and add that to your ever-growing list. You were going to do this later this afternoon anyways, but unfortunately she beat you to it. This project is a killer. And you’re the only conduit of communication between your boss, external stakeholders, internal teams, and of course your own team. Why? Because there is no central version of truth for everyone to check and keep on the same page. But that’s another project for another day... You lock your phone and you’re back to Fred. However, not only did you miss a few details, you’re trying to catch up to the entire thrust of what he was saying to begin with. In fact, you probably forgot all about Fred while reading this little email episode.
What Really Happened While Fred Was TalkingIn this not-so-imaginary example, it wasn’t simple distraction that took place. When you turned your attention from the meeting to read your email, your mind entered goal-shift mode, expending energy to focus on a new task. While you thought you could listen to Fred and email at the same time, your biological limitations said differently — because multitasking is a myth. Next, upon reading and replying to the email, the next stage took place. It’s called new rule activation, meaning your brain crunched all of the parameters of your relationship with your boss, the project, and its multiple stakeholders. This has to happen so you have the necessary context to make decisions. Your working relationships outside of this meeting operate by different criteria than inside of it. Because there are different expectations, and therefore different rules. Even though your brain can make this context switch with incredible speed, there is still a cost. In this interview with Forbes, productivity expert Todd Herman explains this cost in a variety of ways. https://www.youtube.com/embed/T7MCplY_yPc Worse, according to studies by Gloria Mark, an ‘interruption scientist’ at the University of California: “When people are frequently diverted from one task to another, they work faster, but produce less.”
When people are frequently diverted from one task to another, they work faster, but produce less.Click To Tweet
The True Cost Of Context SwitchingDoes working faster but producing less sound like a familiar trend? Here’s the unveiled cost of context switching. Every time we work on multiple projects, we pay a productivity tax.
What About This Superpower?As a marketer, there are myriad factors in beating constant context switching. But the single biggest productivity win you can make is getting organized. While there is a major downside to interruption and disorganization, there is only upside to focus and organization. As Herman points out in the video above, if you change the way you work, you can get dramatically different results. But not by working harder — simply by working more efficiently. While it’s not sexy, organization is actually the key superpower to defeat the impact of makeshift marketing, the cost of context switching, and the mental drain it creates. It’s mission critical because marketing today collaborates with nearly every facet of the business spectrum. We work with developers, designers, project managers, sales, customer support, and even our operations folks. Modern marketing becomes an untethered yarn ball if we don’t relentlessly organize our entire program. The path is simple, focus on just one thing: organization.
Why should organization be the one thing marketers focus on most?Click To Tweet
The Superpower Of Focusing On Just One ThingOne of my favorite books is The One Thing by Gary Keller, founder of the largest real-estate company in the world. He sums up the power of focusing on just thing nicely. “If everyone has the same number of hours in the day, why do some people seem to get so much more done than others? How do they do more, achieve more, earn more, have more? If time is the currency of achievement, then why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others? The answer is they make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach. They go small. Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.” This works in every arena of life, too. Just ask author and leadership coach Peter Bregman, who attributes focusing on just one thing to losing 18 pounds in just over a month to designing better leadership programs for Fortune 100 companies. From your personal life to working at scale in a global organization, focusing on one impactful thing is the most successful driver of change. Here’s why organization should immediately become your one thing (and therefore transform into your superpower):
- The average office employee spends over one hour each day just looking for things. Makeshift marketing is a primary driver of stats like this because of endless spreadsheets, single-function tools, and communication channels.
- Forbes ASAP reports that they typical executive wastes 150 hours per year searching for lost information. By having a single source of truth for your entire marketing program, you can gain weeks of time back… Not simply hours, but weeks!
- The Wall Street Journal showed that workers waste an average of 40% of our work days because of poor organizational skills. As illustrated before, context switching and makeshift marketing alone account for the majority of this time in a marketing context.
Here's how you and your team can stop losing results to the mayhem of makeshift marketing today.Click To Tweet
Where To Start Getting OrganizedStep one is to assess your current state of organization, then ask counterbalancing questions. Answer three questions:
- How many communication channels does our team use weekly? Include email, instant messaging, texting, threaded conversations in software tools, internal memos, etc.
- How many sources of information does my team reference or use weekly? Include reporting documents, spreadsheets, editorial calendars, processes, checklists, workflows, task lists, project roadmap, publishing schedule, etc.
- How many single-function tools does our team use weekly? Include project management tools, social scheduling software, calendar apps, instant messaging apps, shared password tool, etc.
- Is there a way to reduce communication channels?
- Is there a better method to organize our sources of information?
- Can we consolidate our marketing toolstack, removing redundant or ineffective apps?