Applying the KonMari Method to Marketing | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Applying the KonMari Method to Marketing

March 5, 2019

By Matthew Schwartz

Nadia Snopek/

Marie Kondo is all the rage. The organizing guru is getting her fifteen minutes of fame — and then some.

Her best-seller, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" has been published in more than 30 countries while "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" premiered on Netflix earlier this year to favorable reviews.

Having conquered home tidying with the KonMari method, Kondo has set her sights on the workplace. "Joy at Work: The Career-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," which is slated for release next year, extends Kondo's mantras to the office.

Our guess is "Joy at Work" includes recommendations to purge your email inbox of spam and/or dated messages, organize all the folders on your desktop and declutter your office area.

That's all well and good. But what if CMOs and brand managers could channel Marie Kondo to sharpen their day-to-day marketing tasks, boost their communications both online and offline and improve work flow?

Don't laugh. The rewards for adopting a Marie Kondo mindset could be more effective advertising campaigns, bigger marcomm budgets and an increasingly valuable reputation among marketing executives in-house.

Inspired by the KonMari Method for tidying — which is based on multiple lists — we thought we would offer a few tips for how CMOs bring more "joy" to their work, starting with their overall marketing strategy.


1. Data Management

  • Data hygiene is key. It's not necessarily a matter of having too many data points, but managing the entire portfolio more effectively and knowing when it's time to update the numbers and/or purge information that's no longer relevant. Sounds pretty basic, but it's amazing how many brands give their data sets short shrift. More sophistication when it comes to connecting the dots is paramount.
  • When you crunch the numbers commit to a regular set of KPIs and, where possible, break down business silos that are prone to share data and information, as opposed to other departments.
  • Bake cybersecurity into the process. Having a robust computer defense is the ultimate in corporate tidiness. That's because if you fail to inoculate the company against cyberattack and your company gets hacked it's going to be a real mess trying to clean things up. Don't suffer from a "It can't happen here" mindset. Hackers don't discriminate. Having a solid cyber defense gives marketers the peace of mind they need to focus on their top priorities.


2. Sales and Marketing Alignment

  • Urge both sides to beef up communications. Seems like half the battle with improving sales and marketing alignment is engagement. Fill the vacuum by having sales and marketing executives meet more frequently, whether in person or via conference calls, and get both sides more conditioned to how the other half lives.
  • Schedule "ride along" trips. Sales executives share oodles of data with their marketing counterparts regarding sales pain points and vice versa. But that pales in comparison to marketing executives accompanying sales executives into the field and getting a feel for what customers truly want. Walking in someone's else's shoes goes much further than trying to explain customer behavior via a spreadsheet.
  • Get buy-in from the C-suite. Admittedly, the sales-and-marketing schism has a Groundhog-Day quality. We've seen this picture before, of course. But if brands are to stay viable in a post-digital age, the loggerheads between sales and marketing executives may be a luxury companies can no longer afford. To make things tidier between sales and marketing, the onus is on the C-suite to alter compensation levels and/or revenue goals among both sales and marketing executives so their success depends on working for the greater good.


3. Creative Asset Management

  • Develop a system to track all your creative assets, including corporate logos, print, radio, TV and digital advertising. Creative assets come in all shapes and sizes. You need protocols to ensure that the creative meant for a digital media outlet doesn't end up on running on your social platforms. The more creative assets to manage the more potential for confusion regarding execution.
  • Give creative assets a shelf life. Marketers often get tripped up by their creative assets because they've left them open-ended sans an expiration date. That's a recipe for stale marketing. The solution is for marketers to have a good idea when to start to phase out or eliminate the creative altogether. Knowing when to say when regarding the shelf life for existing creative frees up marketers to focus on new creative and better manage their time.
  • Choose your asset management systems carefully. The number of digital asset management (DAM) programs continues to proliferate at a rapid clip. The selection(s) should depend on your most pressing asset-management needs, whether that's the ability to upload mega files, integrate assets with commonly used applications or keep most of the assets in the Cloud. If you sign with too many DAM solutions, things might get too unwieldy — and there's nothing KonMari about that.

(This is the first blog in a series regarding how marketers can apply the KonMari Method to their job. Next up: content marketing.)

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