Ruthless Prioritization

Ruthless Prioritization

Boosting Marketing Success with Focus

“If we had a larger team and more budget, we could have better results.”

Sound familiar? I’ve worked with marketing teams of all sizes with varying budgets, and it’s often the same scenario. Marketing leaders and teams are asked to deliver more with reduced budgets and resources. Phrases such as “do more with less” are heard in almost every conversation.

From my experience, it serves us as Marketers to recognize and accept that this problem is a big part within our control.

This is where ruthless prioritization comes into play. In marketing, achieving success often comes down to a critical factor: making intelligent choices.

As leaders, we need to set boundaries, be empowered to say “no” or “not now,” and prioritize while communicating to the business why some initiatives, projects, and activities will be done and others will not.

If marketing accepts fewer projects or stays away from the wrong projects, its productivity and value to the organization can improve.

The path forward is clear: we must first identify areas to cut back or streamline, freeing up resources for strategic growth. Collaborating closely with the CEO/ Sales VP and peers, we must strategically “place our bets” and align our marketing plan with a few growth strategies – ideally, no more than three. By staying focused, we can see where we shouldn’t waste our valuable resources.

Part of this process involves making tough calls. It means killing programs that no longer serve us and having the courage to discontinue underperforming initiatives or even market segments. Additionally, now is the time to explore flexible agency options that enable us to adjust our spending as needed dynamically.

For every marketing initiative, I like to ask myself these key questions:

  • How much will this initiative impact our results, and can we confidently achieve that impact?
  • Does it genuinely deliver customer value?
  • Does it achieve objectives (or potentially achieve objectives) repeatably in a scalable fashion?

In other words, we need to prioritize wisely. Intelligent prioritization is a simple process that involves:

  • Evaluating every initiative objectively and consistently.
  • Make decisions that everyone on your team agrees with.
  • Evolving and making smarter choices over time.

Simply put, only a few priorities will emerge as truly worthwhile, and this will help your team your team will avoid unnecessary detours.

Breaking the Cycle

We can think of marketing as a road trip. You might make a wrong turn now and then, which is okay. But what if you keep making wrong turns so often that you run out of gas before reaching your destination? That’s how many marketing teams operate – constantly distracted by requests, new channels, and technology.

Intelligent prioritization helps you save time, money, and effort on activities and projects that will only significantly impact your goals. It keeps your team on track and moving forward.

Steps to Prioritize Smartly

Here are four steps to help you prioritize effectively:

  • List all the potential activities or decisions. Write down every idea or project and share them with your team. Encourage open discussions and critical thinking.
  • Create a prioritization matrix. Look at each item based on its potential impact and your confidence in getting it. I would include passion in the mix. Is it exciting for the team? Does it drive motivation and teamwork? Is the sales team excited about the initiative? Make decisions as a team, fostering discussions and consensus.
  • Identify your top choices. Focus on items with high potential and high confidence. Further, filter these choices through a set of rigorous questions.
  • Evaluate and reject options. Ask questions about the immediate need, alternatives, risks, and readiness for each remaining option. Only those options that pass this test become your priorities.

As your team becomes more comfortable with this process, you can develop additional questions to refine your selection criteria further.

Building Momentum in Your Marketing

Intelligent prioritization isn’t just about selecting the right activities; it’s also about learning from your choices. After completing a successful priority, celebrate with your team. If an initiative falls short, revisit the assumptions and data used to prioritize it and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The world of marketing is fast-paced and ever-changing. To succeed, you must embrace this volatility, stay agile, and prioritize wisely.

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