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CMO Guide: Optimizing your operations

May 4, 2023
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To derive the most value from your marketing campaigns, you need to make every second count. Process optimization is the name of the game. 

Even minor adjustments in productivity, business operations, and the way teams complete tasks can have a major impact on an organization’s overall performance. And by utilizing metrics, optimizing operations, and deploying resources effectively, businesses can save time and enhance their bottom line.

But where should organizations focus their business process optimization efforts?

The CMO’s Guide for Igniting Profitable Growth in 2023 provides marketers with key insights into revenue-generating tactics, including operations optimization. Today, we’ll highlight three critical operational aspects pulled from this guide so that your digital marketing agency or team can learn how to supercharge processes and achieve optimal operation results.

#1 Balance costs with tools, workflows and staffing 

Looking for opportunities to make changes in your operation? 

Here are four areas of concern that contribute to time drain and operational waste:

Meeting bloat 

Meeting bloat can threaten a company’s bottom line. And, as a company operation scales, the business process issue often escalates—there may be more meetings, longer meetings, and more meeting participants. This can reach the point of absurdity when there are meetings to plan for future meetings. 

Inevitably, the question becomes: is this the most valuable use of everyone’s time? 

Meetings may be a necessary part of business operations. Even so, you should aim for fewer, shorter, and smaller meetings to optimize operations, thereby allowing talented specialists to concentrate on value-add activities. To that end, leverage tools like Loom, Step Recorder, Asana or Basecamp to reduce meeting frequency while simultaneously enhancing communication and collaboration, thus ensuring a productive and efficient work environment.

Technical efficiency 

Is your organization operating at its maximum potential in terms of technical efficiency? 

Much like a Formula 1 pit crew, your organization must be a well-oiled machine operating at peak efficiency to stay ahead in the competitive race of today’s business world.

Technical efficiency and operational optimization has far-reaching effects on a team’s performance, with slow internal processes and outdated technologies impeding progress and consuming valuable time and resources. 

For instance, if your team spends substantial time using Excel each week, enhancing their spreadsheet skills through assessment and training as part of process improvement could significantly improve overall efficiency. 

Ultimately, the objective is to optimize operations and transform processes that once took hours into minutes. Better yet, consider exploring opportunities to automate routine, error-prone tasks, such as manual data entry, further streamlining business operations, and enabling your team to work like a Formula 1 pit crew—fast, precise, and efficient.

Staffing and organizational structure 

The traditional approach of keeping all operations in-house has become outdated in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. With the emergence of a specialist economy, outsourcing to skilled professionals can often offer a more cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time employees.

Instead of investing time and resources into searching, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training full-time talent, organizations can now benefit from hiring specialists on a fractional basis. This modern process improvement approach allows for greater flexibility and adaptability, ensuring businesses remain agile and efficient in a competitive market.

That said, there may be cases where the reverse is true. Therefore, businesses must improve their ability to discern when and where to invest when it comes to staffing and structure, with a focus on ROI and profit generation. 

Tools and technologies

As previously noted, a variety of metrics, tools, and automation can significantly optimize workflows or even eliminate them altogether. Furthermore, the market is witnessing a surge in free or low-cost generative technologies capable of creating copy, ad images, emails and more—all without human intervention.

The strategic implementation of these cutting-edge operational optimization tools can revolutionize traditional departments, rendering outdated methods and technologies obsolete. By embracing innovation, businesses can consolidate their workforce, replacing multiple employees with a single specialist equipped with the right tools to drive efficiency and productivity.

#2 Be intentional about where you focus, and do it well 

With limited time and manpower, and a constantly ticking clock, you can’t afford to create process optimizations in every facet of the organization. It’s much better to narrow your scope to focus on the areas that will have the greatest impact on profitability. 

How do you accomplish that? Consider these tips:  

  • Identify key problems and create solutions – Address specific marketing challenges with bespoke strategies rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Recognize that unique, yet interconnected problems require customized solutions for greater efficiency.
  • Conduct root cause analysis – Investigate the core issues behind key problems to uncover the most effective solutions. This methodical and introspective approach helps reveal underlying causes that may not be apparent at first glance.
  • Remove blockers – In some cases, the need for a novel solution is clear, but something stands in the way, preventing adoption. Leaders must eliminate obstacles that hinder the deployment of solutions, even if that means potentially stepping on toes or disrupting the status quo. 
  • Commit to solutions – Once deployed, stick to your chosen solutions until you’ve gathered sufficient data to determine their effectiveness. To that end, avoid making premature decisions, and consider using statistical significance calculators to inform your choices.
  • Focus on minor compounding gains – Aim for incremental improvements that compound over time. Execute marketing fundamentals well and commit to small enhancements, even during challenging periods. A focused, steady approach is more likely to generate profitable growth.

#3 Set goals and foster accountability

Amid economic uncertainty, marketing teams must be agile and flexible, ready to pivot as needed. 

Smart leaders break goals into smaller, dynamic phases for improved preparedness and budgeting. Doing so also makes it easier to track progress and re-evaluate strategies on the fly. 

That said, don’t let short-term objectives overshadow the overall vision. To that end, many teams rely on scenario planning to help prepare for every eventuality. This includes:

  • Worst-case scenario – Be pessimistic, use historical failures as new benchmarks, and compound the losses over time. While it may paint a challenging landscape, it’ll also help you plan in advance to mitigate losses.
  • Likely (conservative) scenario – Use your best judgment to determine what you think will happen and what’s achievable for your team and partners. This is likely what would be presented to executive leadership. What has to happen for this to be a likely occurrence?
  • Best case scenario – Given the economic headwinds, what are the achievable opportunities? Where will you push, and how will you activate if things work out better than anticipated? What are the biggest opportunities? 

Ignite growth and profits in 2023 

Optimizing operations is the final piece of the puzzle for marketing teams that seek to drive growth going into 2023. A crucial piece, no doubt, but just one of the four important steps brands can take to elevate their marketing strategies in light of economic downturns, including finessing your financial model. 

Want to review all four phases? Check out the all-access CMO’s Guide for Igniting Growth and Profits in 2023

And, if you need a partner to implement and guide these marketing strategy initiatives, Power Digital Marketing is here for you. Reach out today for your complimentary marketing appraisal

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