Analysis to Help You Stop Wasting Valuable Time

How useful would it be for you to know exactly where your time was best spent? How would it improve your productivity if you could quickly and reliably determine which customers were most lucrative for your business, and which ones were costing far more than they were worth holding on to? Fortunately, the ability to determine exactly that was established more than 100 years ago.

Back at the dawn of the century, an Italian economist realized that he could mathematically calculate the fact that 20% of Italian citizens owned about 80% of the nation’s wealth. This equation proved to be valuable in analyzing far more than just the wealth distribution in Renaissance Revival-era Italy. In fact, the so-called “Pareto Principle” has been (and continues to be) used as an effective method of measuring distributions of wealth, effort, sales productivity, and countless other applications. This is because there is a fundamental truth — what some might call a philosophy — associated with the 80/20 equation discovered by Vilfredo Pareto.

What is the fundamental philosophy of Pareto?

At its core, the philosophy of the Pareto Analysis is based on an understanding of the fact that a relatively small percentage of input is responsible for a significant amount of the output. More specifically, that 80% of output can be attributed to 20% of input. This, of course, works when analyzing wealth distribution (as it was originally used by Pareto), but it also works in a number of other applications as well.

Perhaps the most compelling application — at least in our entrepreneurial and capitalistic society — is the use of the Pareto Analysis when assessing productivity. More specifically, a business can usually attribute about 80% of their profit (or sales volume) to about 20% of customers. On the other hand, about 20% of customers often take up about 80% of available bandwidth.

The Pareto Analysis can be applied to any number of things:

  • Customers – both the time demands and their profitability
  • Daily tasks – where your time is spent productively and unproductively
  • Wealth – where the majority of your wealth is coming from, and where the majority of your expenses are derived
  • Anything else you can think of!

Use Pareto Analysis to become more productive

In order to use Pareto Analysis effectively, you must first be willing to accept a couple of facts: The first is the fact that some of your clients or customers may not be worth your time. The second thing you must be willing to accept is all work is not equal.

  1. Not all clients are worth keeping.
    Many businesses are reluctant to turn down any work that comes their way. Sometimes, the opportunity costs associated with highly-demanding or unprofitable clients may be preventing you from gaining more worthwhile clients. These customers demand a disproportionate amount of your company’s time and can ultimately prevent you from developing new, more profitable business elsewhere. You can use the Pareto Analysis to determine which clients are taking a disproportionate amount of your time (so you can try to phase them out) while also helping identify which clients are producing the vast majority of your revenue (so you can nurture and grow those clients as well).
  2. Some of the work you do isn’t worth the effort.
    The bottom line is that you simply cannot do everything, and you certainly cannot do everything well. As such, you should use the Pareto Analysis to determine which specific aspects of your day are producing the majority of benefit, then work to eliminate or delegate/outsource anything that does not fall into that category.

Try using the Pareto Analysis yourself, and see if you can make your day more productive by eliminating the time consuming, unproductive tasks and focusing on the high-yield tasks.

Categories Operations, StrategyTags , , , ,

5 Simple Ways to Increase the Productivity of Your Marketing Team

Over the years, marketers consistently cite lack of time as the top challenge that they face.  Marketing leaders are aware of the demands that their groups face, and managing this ever-increasing workload successfully is a challenge.  Below are five tips for greater productivity and increased motivation.

  1. Set Goals

    Establishing clear and specific marketing goals and KPIs is one easy way of balancing these demands. As a minimum, the marketing team should have quantifiable metrics for revenue generation, customer experience improvements, brand strength and return on investment. Putting these performance measures in place not only helps you determine the effectiveness of your programs but also allows you to course correct and maybe ax ineffective programs. The resources decked against ineffective programs can then be allocated to launch new programs or enhance existing ones.

  2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

    Create a clear method for prioritizing marketing support, and include your partners in the process. While the methodology should be based on marketing’s KPIs, it is important to account for metrics that go beyond addressing day-to-day support, but also include key KPIs that special projects and newly formed business units will influence. Otherwise, your team could be choking the next breaking product or service by considering only day-to-day metrics.  With a transparent process for resource allocation and project support, all teams can focus on the collective goal:  COMPETING TO SUCCEED.

  3. Establish formal marketing processes

    Once a project is prioritized, utilizing a formal (read: documented) process for marketing support will minimize some of the unproductive back and forth that sometimes happens between cross-functional teams. Begin by creating request templates and a formal meeting for cross-functional collaboration. The template should be brief and include the project goals (revenue generation, improvement of NPS, other KPIs) and a brief overview of the background and support needed. While it may seem bureaucratic at first, this reduces potential miscommunication between teams as well as the number of iterations that the marketing team will have to cycle through before “getting it right.”

  4. Allocate tasks and accountability

    Once a project is ready for execution, proper and clear delegation is one of the easiest ways to increase productivity while allowing each team member to exercise his or her distinctive skill set will strength overall team success. Assigning tasks and accountability achieves multiple positive ends, such as:

    • Giving team members personal ownership over the successful completion of their responsibilities, avoiding the “follow the ball” syndrome often seen at toddlers’ soccer games
    • Allowing convenient tracking against soft and hard deadlines, so you can reallocate resources accordingly
    • Encouraging collaboration by specifically identifying the people working on particular tasks
    • Keeping team members focused and engaged
  5. Try New Things

    There are many exciting trends to explore in the world of marketing. Exploring trends keeps marketing teams informed about industry developments, task automation opportunities and provides opportunities for skill development. (For instance, implementing marketing automation software can open up new avenues of productivity by streamlining and automating various labor-intensive processes.)  All of this can increase the human capital of your team and make it increasingly successful.

Categories OperationsTags , , , ,