TAL .019: Get More Time and Budget for Your Marketing Team

The Arete Letter

You need three things to be successful: time, budget, and competency.

In this letter, I’m going to explain how to get more time and budget for your marketing team.

(This letter is part of a series that started with issue .016 of the Arete Letter, which you can find here.)

1. The Problem

Marketing teams need three things to get good outcomes:

Sufficient time, sufficient funding, and sufficient capabilities.

But too many brands expect unrealistic results from unsupported generalists on shoestring budgets – who are also asked to juggle a host of competing priorities.

That’s a scenario in which you’re set up to fail.

2. The Solution

I’m not an expert in internal politics, so I won’t give you advice about negotiating for more budget/more time.

Instead, I want to focus on something that every marketing leader can control:

The level of efficiency within their team.

There are five ways you can improve your efficiency.

1. Fix process inefficiencies.

Process inefficiencies exist where a given task can be done faster/better with the existing resources.

This could mean automating manual tasks with software like Zapier or streamlining convoluted workflows.

One of the most inefficient processes I see: making decisions and getting approvals.

You can improve decision-making by using OODA loops; for faster approvals, implement frameworks like DACI or DARE.

2. Eliminate resource sinks.

Resource sinks are expenditures that don’t have a positive ROI.

Example: an all-hands meeting where 90% of attendees don’t contribute or learn.

Find them and cut them.

3. Modernise inefficient hardware or software.

Leveraging modern tech like cloud environments seems like table stakes – but plenty of teams still don’t do it.

Regularly evaluate your tech stack to see if there’s room for improvement.

4. Improve information accessibility.

Poor information availability is one of the biggest inefficiencies I see.

When teams don’t document information or share learnings, redundancies get created and time-consuming RFIs/meetings are needed.

Document everything that is likely to be repeated, make it easy to find, and don’t silo different parts of your team.

5. Leverage efficiency multipliers.

These are things you can do to exponentially increase your efficiency.

My four favourites:

  • Tactical Autonomy: Trust your people to make tactical decisions. Dictate the ‘what’ – don’t micromanage the ‘how’.
  • Better Reporting: Want to know which initiatives are resource sinks as soon as possible? Set up automated 90-day reporting and implement hybrid attribution. (Note: you do actually need to analyse and action the data.)
  • Asynchronous Operations: Synchronous marketing operations are often a waste of time that create synthetic bottlenecks. Instead, shift to async operations that let individual contributors maximise productivity.
  • Specialist Support Firms: Help your team achieve more with specialist support firms – external force multipliers that provide strategic and tactical support for your least efficient areas.

3. Implementation

Tech Needed: Varies

Ease of Uptake: Hard

  1. Reflect on the five improvements I’ve talked about.
  2. If you think of any easy fixes you can implement in your team, do so.
  3. Follow our 6S guide to find and fix all other inefficiencies.
  4. Repeat every six to 12 months.

By Duncan Croker

Duncan is a copywriter with a background in editing and storytelling. He loves collaborating with brands big and small, and thrives on the challenges of hard marketing.