Are you bogged down by too much email and too many meetings?

This post is triggered by seeing this headline in the excellent Utalkmarketing daily bulletin

Brand managers are frustrated by admin

Being weighed down with administrative duties is the chief obstacle facing today's brand managers, according to a new survey from Sun Brand Technologies. The survey revealed that 92 per cent of brand managers spend between one and three hours a day on these inward-focused activities including reporting, chasing colleagues for information and dealing with missed deadlines. Half of all respondents felt that the higher up the management ladder they progressed, the more time they spent on administration, leaving fewer hours for research and new product development (NPD). 
This is a common issue that we hear about.  How often do you hear the statement "I have had so many phone calls, emails, admin work or meetings today that I have not had time to get any work done".  But is this right?  Is it such a bad thing to be talking with and communicating with colleagues..  Our marketing team effectiveness work suggests that spending time on this is a good thing for brand managers who aspire to be successful and effective.
The mission of a marketing team must be to champion the customer throughout the business.  Clearly this does require time spent on generating insight, creating new product ideas and great marketing campaigns.  However our own work on effective marketing teams and how to increase the customer orientation of the business suggests that time spent on internal communication and getting the organisation aligned with your aims is extremely valuable.
Arguably, this is the role of the marketing team in a larger organisation.  The marketing job is not just to come up with great insights, fantastic campaigns and wonderful new products.  Marketing needs to harness a wide range of skills ideas and resources to get the business focus on delivering products and services that customers want to buy.
The most successful customer orientated businesses have marketing teams that are well regarded by the rest of the business.  We discovered through our own research and reviewing studies by leading academics that these marketing teams were characterised and distinguished by three things:

  • Spending time communicating with all functions in the business
  • Talking in a language that the business understands (not marketing speak)
  • Using robust tools for measurement and tracking what is going on
Less effective marketing teams in businesses that were less customer orientated spend less time on these things.
So maybe spending one to three hours a day on these inward-focused activities including reporting, chasing colleagues for information and dealing with missed deadlines is not such a bad thing after all!
Is this still relevant in a downturn?  There is plenty of evidence from previous recessions that businesses who stay customer orientated are more likely to survive and will eme rgr in a stronger and healthier condition.

If you want to read more about how marketing teams can help businesses stay customer orientated.  Please read our marketing influence report which you can download here.