Prioritize Time and Focus Where It Matters | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Prioritize Time and Focus Where It Matters


2024 is here! A new year means new numbers to hit for marketers. As responsible marketing leaders, we've held our strategy and budgeting sessions and identified our 2024 goals. So now that the work is all done, let's take a quick poll:

  • How many of us are being asked to do more with less?
  • How many of us have lower headcount or lower budgets with which to deliver the numbers?
  • How many of us search for more explicit attribution to ensure that our budgets are being spent as efficiently as possible?
  • How many of us are actually solving structural organizational issues with just marketing?

Our 2024 goals are worthy and valid, but so are our concerns. They place us under incredible pressure and in the worst cases, set us up to fail. I know, I've been there many times.

As marketing executives, we learn to deal with a myriad of stresses, and in addition to the external factors cited above, we no doubt also have the gnawing issues that are the result of our own professional awareness and self-expectations.

  • Is my staff spending too much time on low-return tactical tasks that I don't have bandwidth to take them off? I'm aware that I lose junior staff members because they become frustrated doing routine tasks.
  • My team continuously fielding questions from locations and policing brand standards distracts from strategic initiatives.
  • We waste too much time managing difficult to use, self-serving vendor portals that are supposed to help us work more easily.
  • I am always uncertain whether there is better value out there for the services we contract for.

Does all this keep you up at night? I lost many a night's sleep over these concerns, and that's before I even got to big things like AI's impact on our business and competitive response.

And the truth is, some of us are just so busy, we live with these gnawing inefficiencies because we don't know whether there is a better option out there. Or, if we do, we think it's going to be so much work to implement, it won't pay out in the long term.

Let's shift gears and talk about compound interest for a moment. Financial best practices encourage us to remain on the right side of compound interest (interest earned) to achieve wealth. You reap the rewards for a long time into the future. What if there were a similar formula for marketing ROI? In other words, take the leap and break your imperfect model now and fix it, reap the returns for years to come.

Here's a solution: outsource your most time-sucking, tactical, staff-frustrating work and re-assign those team members to more challenging, higher return work that will re-ignite their passion for their jobs. Oh, and what if you saved money while doing so? Sounds like a win-win, doesn't it?

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Steve Thomas is a five-time CMO and a franchise system CMO consultant for HYVE Brand Concierge in Richardson, Texas.