A lean approach to marketing for a healthy industry heart

Simon Ward, CEO at Inspired Thinking Group, looks at the business benefits of outsourcing certain marketing operations

Creativity is the life-blood of marketing. It is one of the main reasons why many marketing professionals are drawn to the industry: a commercially viable way of living out creative aspirations. However, for many marketers at the top of their game, the amount of time available to spend on creative thinking and developing inspired campaigns is hindered by administrative tasks. Bureaucracy, complex procedures, and the necessity to deliver at speed and on trend all drain the resources at a marketer’s disposal.

These administrative burdens are exacerbated by integrated omni-channel marketing campaigns, where every system, supplier and touchpoint must be synchronised efficiently in order to achieve success. Modern marketing is expected to bridge gaps seamlessly and reach customers across a full spectrum of platforms; whether they are shopping online, using a desktop or mobile device, or in a physical store.  

Trends such as these place an incredible amount of pressure on the already stretched resources of the marketing department. And therein lies the problem for marketing professionals—how do they keep a finger on the pulse regarding the latest trends, perform all necessary administrative and operational tasks effectively and still find time to schedule a killer brainstorm, or develop exciting new campaigns?

Strive for simplicity

In order to maximise creativity, a cultural change is required at the heart of the marketing industry. Simplification must lie at the heart of this process. Marketers need to return to being marketers—not administrators, procurement or IT people. Moving towards a simplified marketing strategy should mirror emerging trends in people’s personal lives, where technology allows people to perform tasks at the click of a button, from almost anywhere in the world.

Adopting a lean, strategic approach to marketing therefore involves embracing the global technological evolution and outsourcing dull, administrative procedures. However, that is not to say that a one-size-fits-all approach to outsourcing will be effective. Mass marketing automation solutions are not always the most effective tools for genuinely saving time and allowing people to focus on creativity.

In fact, research from industry expert David Raab, shows that almost 70% of marketers are either unhappy or only marginally happy with their current marketing automation solutions. It is therefore essential to make a wise choice when selecting a solution provider.

For truly effective outsourcing, look for partners who are dedicated to the business needs of marketers, and understand the importance of passionate customer service. To get the best from technological platforms, real human intelligence and marketing experience must form the heartbeat of an operations strategy—delivering speed, efficiency and innovation to brands on a local and global level.

Technology at the heart of your business

Once a cultural change has been implemented, the next stage is to identify the technological solution that is the best fit for your business. Admin may be boring, but it often relies on incredibly complex internal structures—all of which may make simplicity more difficult to achieve than it initially seems.

Ensuring that everyone, from suppliers to in-house teams, can work together via a platform that allows approvals, compliance and supplier touch points to be managed from a single unified interface is essential. All members of the team should be continuously kept up to date with  overarching creative marketing campaigns and projects through an easy-to-use interface.

Technology-led marketing solutions must also deliver significant cost savings and meet changing and evolving customer demands. Once complex administration procedures and bureaucracy have been minimised, marketers are free to reinvest the time they save on brand development and management.

Effective outsourcing via technology platforms and services should leave the marketing department free to create, innovate and inspire. In order to achieve this, a cultural change needs to take place within marketing first. Embracing the evolution of digital technology is the first step towards eliminating time-consuming bureaucratic procedures and allowing marketers to focus on what they do best—marketing itself!