The productivity of knowledge workers is low, with much time wasted on non-value adding tasks. Research suggest that productivity can be boosted with as much as 20% by being able to identify these tasks and either drop, delegate or outsource them. Where we have optimized, streamlined and consolidated the manufacturing process that are the backbone of our industrialized societies, the knowledge worker in general roams wild and free – no requirements (or measurements) for productivity, output nor throughput times. This leads to a limited identification of waste.
Yet – every marketer is busy as ever. How come marketers are allowed to be busy-bees, without creating added-value? Why is this not considered waste? Well, it is because marketing in general has traditionally been seen as being a creative role. Creative is fun. Projects are fun. Processes are boring. Marketers don’t want to work with boring stuff. Admit it – as you are reading this, you are shying away from the thought of being a cog in the wheel, a process owner, a process optimizer. It is just not the reason why most people got into marketing in the first place.
With forerunners like Panasonic stating an output increase of 10x over three years (from 80 campaigns a year to 800 campaigns a year, with similar resourcing), the question most CMO’s should be asking themselves is: How can I achieve that? And the best answer to that would be: talk to your production manager and learn from how manufacturing has developed over the years.
As a reference, consider the car manufacturing process. The first cars were manufactured in the late 19th century, and back then each production team was responsible for building each unit from scratch until finished. When the assembly line (and later on the moving assembly line famously introduced by Henry Ford) was introduced, the nature of work changed. Now each team was taking care of a smaller part of the manufacturing process. This enabled significant efficiency improvements.
Today the people at the assembly line are increasingly replaced by advanced robotics, increasing the output even further. These robots are automatic parts of the process where creative problem solving and agility is not required. This is what marketers should replicate.
Most marketing organizations are still in the unit-by-unit mode. To achieve not only an incremental, but a significant improvement in productivity, marketing needs to become a process organization. It is not saying that creativity isn’t needed anymore – it is saying that everyone needn’t be doing it. It is time that top management started demanding significant increases in output, also in marketing.
Do you have any question about how to optimize efficiency of your marketing efforts? We will shortly release a blog-trilogy on how to transform B2B Marketing in 9 steps. In the meanwhile please feel free to reach out or take a look at our B2B engagement tactics gallery!
Emma Storbacka, (firstname.lastname@example.org) | CEO