Every seasoned marketer has been there. Whether due to a dip in the market, a miss with a product release, or simply an adjustment of the goalpost by leadership, when pressure ramps up for a company to more aggressively track toward goals, marketing feels the heat. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, fast. Next time you find yourself in that position - feeling like there’s more to be done than you can possibly do - use this list of tips to organize your plan of attack.
TIP 1: Identify the most important KPI(s)
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics you use to track how your business is doing (and/or how your marketing team in particular is performing). It’s common for a company to have whole slide decks full of them:
Customer activation rate
Customer retention rate
Cost per acquisition
Lifetime value of a customer
Return on investment
Return on ad spend
Marketing qualified leads
Sales qualified leads
Social media engagement
In moments of overwhelm, it helps to identify a north star. For yours, choose 1-3 of the KPIs that matter most to your leadership.
TIP 2: Prioritize work ruthlessly for those outcomes
Now that you’ve identified the metrics that are most important to focus on, take a look at your team’s workload. How much of it will have an effect on those KPIs you identified above? Can any of the work that isn’t driving those outcomes be deprioritized, postponed, or at least slowed down? If you can free up your team of the less critical tasks right now, they’ll have more bandwidth and zeal to tackle the projects that do.
TIP 3: Make the most of your existing content
The cleverest marketers know that using one asset to create multiple is a surefire way to create immediate scale. There are two ways you can think about repurposing your content:
You can leverage content in multiple places. A blog post may have a great paragraph that can be used to hook readers on social media. A newsletter article can be posted to your website as a blog. A podcast can be transcribed into a one-pager. You get the point - use your existing content in more than one place to get the biggest return on the time taken to make it.
You can re-send content to people who didn’t see it the first time. One of the easiest examples is sending a newsletter a second time to subscribers who didn’t open it in the first round; throw a new subject line on it and chances are, they won’t even realize the content they’re reading is recycled. Content on social media can usually be shared more than once, too, considering a small portion of your audience only sees your posts when they’re shared. Sales templates can be repurposed seasonally or for new events, ads that run on Facebook can be copied directly to Google; you get the point. It’s all about achieving more reach, more impressions, more wonderful outcomes, without doubling up on your work.
TIP 4: Learn from past performance (double down on what works).
In times of overwhelm, marketing teams can easily fall into an execution-mode crisis. Orders from the top are all about driving results, and everyone goes into launch mode. The hustle is great, to be sure. But so often in all that frantic looking forward, folks forget to also pause and take a look back. Every campaign you launch should bring learnings and insights. Whether it’s a subject line that worked particularly well, a messaging point that really didn’t, or an audience that converts higher than average, slowing down to sift through your data is likely to mean the work you do next will drive even greater than usual impact.
TIP 5: Get scrappy with your operating model
If doing more with less is the name of your game, taking a peek at the way work happens is definitely worth your time. Here are a few places to start:
Use AI for first drafts. Every copywriter today gets asked if AI’s taking over their job, and while technology is a far cry from capable in that, it’s not bad for generating an outline, brainstorming ideas, or writing some messy first drafts. It can be used to help beat writer's block at least.
Hire freelancers. Need more content but don’t have the budget for more hands? Check sites like Fiverr, Upwork, FlexJobs, Scripted, and Indeed to quickly assign out your freelance work.
Embed an Independent contractor. If your scope is more suited for a full time employee, but budget just isn’t in the cards, consider an independent contractor. Short term agreements and a lack of company benefits alone can save your company big bucks while still getting your team high quality expertise.
Hire an agency. If your workload is truly an all-hands-on-deck situation, or you want to hand over (most of) the reins to capable pros, contract with an agency. Oftentime for less than one full-time employee, you’ll have a whole team of experts at your beck and call. (Read more of our thoughts on hiring agencies here and here.)
TIP 6: Take a deep breath and adjust your sails for sane passage.
Moments of overwhelm - though they rarely feel it - are fleeting. A good attitude, a level head, and frequent reminders about priorities in and outside your office walls provide the only real hope of making it through without collateral damage. And while I don’t want to discount the importance of our role as marketers, I know when I’m finding myself swept away in a work crisis, it helps to remind myself that lives aren’t dependent on the success of my next marketing campaign.
Is your team going through a moment of marketing overwhelm? Wheels Up Collective is a full-stack boutique marketing agency with a senior-level team capable of adding instant bandwidth to your org. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any help.