This is exactly what Marie Kondo and her KonMari method aim to solve. Marie Kondo is an organizing guru that claims by paring down and decluttering our spaces, we can improve our focus and begin to lead more joyful and mindful lives.
In the same vein, the life of a marketer is also becoming increasingly cluttered. We've got 53 different tools, endless meetings, projects that are spiraling out of control and a lackluster strategy that focuses more on activity that real results.
Marketers everywhere could use a little KonMari in their lives. Here are three ways marketing teams can leverage the KonMari method to clean up and declutter their strategies, improve productivity and be more focused in their efforts.
1. Does it spark a return on investment?
I know this deviates a bit from the true KonMari method of asking yourself if an item sparks joy, but a return on investment is critical to marketing teams because it helps us prove if what we are doing is impacting the bottom line and truly growing the business. So, I'm taking a little creative license with this one.
Just as Marie Kondo states that neat does not equal de-cluttered, marketing activity does not equal marketing results. We're too focused on filling our "to-do" lists with tactics that don't actually contribute to the bottom line.
Are you advertising on Facebook just because you "need to be there"? Or are those Facebook ads producing real business value and contributing to the bottom line?
Go through your tactics and figure out the return on investment for each one. If it's positively impacting your company's revenue, keep doing it. If it doesn't; give it up. Period.
Your time and resources are too limited to keep wasting on something that isn't producing real results.
2. Improve visibility using the Kanban Method
Marie Kondo has specific instructions for how to fold clothes to maximize visibility. The thought here is that, if everything can be seen, you can quickly locate what you're looking and avoid wasting time.
When things lack visibility and organization, they become overlooked, disconnected and don't add utility to our lives.
Your marketing activities can also benefit from the same increase in visibility.
Marketing teams are often cross-functional and encompass complex collaboration, workflows, and strategies. This complexity, if not managed properly, can easily result in mistakes, duplicate work, and unhappiness amongst team members.
Now, marketers can't use fancy folding techniques to decrease opacity, but we can borrow from another famous Japanese method: The Kanban Board.
The word Kanban roughly translates into "card you can see" and is a popular project management method to help teams get more done in less time.
TheKanban board is a great tool for marketing teams to increase visibility. At its core, a Kanban board is a visualization of a project's tasks and helps team members see the progress of every task.
The standard Kanban board typically has 3 columns: 'To do', 'In progress', and 'Done', but it can easily be customized to your specific team's workflow. Team members move their tasks to the relevant columns as they begin working on or completing them - increasing visibility and accountability.
3. Streamline and organize to end makeshift marketing
Imagine how much time you could save if you didn't have to constantly chase down status updates, sit in planning meetings all day, and hunt for the latest version of documents.
Couple that with about 24 single function tools and a few unwieldy spreadsheets and you've got yourself a mess that is wasting your time and sucking the motivation out of you.
One way to solve this problem is to kill makeshift marketing.
Makeshift marketing is what I call the cobbled mess that most marketing teams are resigned to using. It's a load of single-function tools like social media suites, task management platforms, spreadsheets, and analytics tools that each serve only one purpose and end up hurting overall productivity.
They cause unnecessary repetition and wasted effort.
Marie gets it. She stated in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, "Repetition and wasted effort can kill motivation, and therefore must be avoided."
Gallup estimates that unmotivated employees cost the US economy between $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.
By simply streamlining your toolset to eliminate repetitive tasks and wasted effort, you could improve your team's motivation and productivity in one fell swoop.
After you're done de-cluttering your home, consider taking stock of your marketing projects and give them the KonMari treatment. You might just find a new outlook on your work and get better results on your marketing activities.