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Why Can't I Get Things Done?

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

You know the feeling. Every Monday morning you sit down with a coffee and a ToDo list, motivated to check boxes. By the end of the day the list is depressingly lacking in ticks. So what are the barriers to productivity in a hard working marketing department?

Obviously, there are the 200 emails offering stuff you don’t need, invitations to connect etc, but that is just general admin. That stuff is not marketing specific. I made a list of the type of things I need to do in an average day for an average client. You will notice some of them are in red and some are in black. See if you can work out why?

  • Check sales revenue, volumes and SKUs from the eCommerce site

  • Confirm revenue orders against logistics and inventory, monitor margin, PTP and logistics charges from the Accounts package

  • Look at the Analytics and Ads to check stats and see which campaigns are performing, monitoring the referrals and acquisition path to show which channels are delivering traffic and conversions

  • Check social media analytics to see which content is delivering traffic, update content having decided what is working

  • Having got a handle on which channels and campaigns appear to be delivering traffic and conversions, set about deciding what new content to run as Challenger, to test and exploit this perception and consider how the information can drive SEM

  • Deal with issues of returns, abandoned baskets, logistics failures, quality control issues

  • Compile and analyse ongoing reports for management and Board

  • Put together collateral and schedule presentations, tenders and meetings in diary

  • Try to keep up with best practice, new products, events, R&D, product updates, systems software upgrades and maintenance, training and evaluation

  • Assess messages from suppliers and research price and quality against budget

Got it? The items in red all involve opening an application and extracting data and interpreting it. Sometimes that just means visually identifying patterns and trends, but often it entails checking data against another source or adding data from one application into another. Sometimes the analysis you need cannot be done on a dashboard and you have to copy and past data from several sources into a spreadsheet in order to get a meaningful interpretation.

It is natural, because each new application creates a silo of information. Whenever you access a dashboard for eCommerce, Performance Marketing, PPC, Analytics, logistics, warehousing and stock control or budgeting you are accessing a different set of tools.

How long does it take every day to complete the red tasks, switching from window to window, page to page, screen to screen, exporting, importing, checking, confirming and formatting the ever increasing amounts of raw data before you can use the information they contain to power decisions? Add it up, ten minutes twelve times a day, perhaps? Then there are the tasks in black which break your focus and disrupt your concentration.

It wouldn't surprise me if two hours of each eight hour working day were spent doing unproductive data wrangling. The benefits messaging for marketing software always boasts of performance gains, but each new bit of Tech you implement with the aim of increasing productivity is actually costing you time.

Creating your own dashboards to give you the information you need without looking for it is the Holy Grail. It allows functions like Exception Reporting, which brings outlieing data to your attention and ensure you don't miss the important stuff. It allows you to schedule campaigns and activities based on criteria such as stock levels, rather than just dates. In short, it frees you to become a marketing professional instead of a data entry clerk.

Think about it. It could stop you seeing red and help get those tick boxes checked.

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