"Am I spending too much time on this?"
For marketers, this isn't an uncommon question to struggle with. And after questioning myself one too many times, I decided to conduct some research to determine how much time it takes the average marketer to complete a routine task like creating an email, building a list, organizing analytics, etc.
Turns out, the data was lacking. So I conducted a simple survey to get a rough estimate of how much time marketers spend on the following five routine tasks:
- Building and maintaining marketing list
- Monitoring, responding and analyzing social media
- Creating and sending email
- Building landing pages
- Collecting, organizing and analyzing marketing data.
Let's take a look at the results ...
How Much Time Do Marketers Spend on Routine Tasks?
According to the survey, the average marketer spends around 16 hours a week on routine tasks. Assuming a 45-hour workweek (because what marketer really works a 40-hour week), the average marketer spends almost a third of their time completing repetitive tasks.
The two biggest offenders? We found that creating and sending email takes marketers an average of 3.48 hours a week, and collecting, organizing, and analyzing marketing data from different sources take an average of 3.55 hours a week.
While much repetitive work is unavoidable, that doesn't mean you shouldn’t try your best to reduce it. Let’s say you make routine tasks one forth of your time each week as opposed to a one third. The time savings would look something like this:
Yearly Time Savings = [Current Time Spent - New Time Spent] * 52
YTS = (16 Current Time Spent - 11.25 New Time Spent) * 52
YTS = 247 hours
Nearly 250 hours saved a year. Imagine what you could do with 250 additional hours. Whether that's a website redesign, a new AdWords strategy, hosting an event, or just getting some R&R, a small reduction in time spent on a routine task can have a huge impact on your performance.
3 Tips to Help Marketers Save More Time
Every marketer is different. The demands of the job, the technology available, and the size of the team all have a huge impact on how you can save time. But if you focus on simplifying, delegating, or even removing some routine tasks from your day-to-day, it's very possible to work a little smarter.
Since reporting and email are the biggest offenders, we're going to focus these tips there.
Tip #1: Identify the most important metrics.
Want to reduce the amount of data you're forced to collect? Stop watching any metrics that you, or your team, don’t make decisions based on.
If “average time on page” is an interesting stat but has virtually no effect on your weekly decisions, then remove it from your reporting. Looking at unnecessary metrics takes time and energy that could be better spent focusing on more important indicators.
Need help identifying and organizing key performance indicators? Take a look at our handy KPI tracking spreadsheet.
Tip #2: Invest in reporting software.
Disparate marketing systems cause a huge pain in terms of reporting. Invest in software that makes reporting easy or take the time to master integrations that pass data between systems.
The end goal of any data and analytics program is to achieve more accurate, closed-loop reporting. Closed-loop marketing is when you can tie every single lead, customer, and dollar back to the marketing initiative that created them. If you are new to closed-loop marketing or need to identify issues check out this introductory guide.
Tip #3: Get less creative.
The next big offender is the workhorse of most marketers: email.
My big time-saving trick here? Get less creative. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. Clone successful email templates, reuse text from the landing page in the email, and stick with subject lines that work. If you are ever debating between two options just use an A/B test and move on.
Email is essential to get right but make changes slowly and thoughtfully. Don’t reinvent the wheel with each send.
In the past couple years, there has been an explosion of different marketing software that can help solve almost any problem you run into. But finding out which ones are worth the investment can turn into a time waster, too. To help, try my "back-of-the-napkin" formula:
Is this software worth it? = [Time Saved *Hourly Rate (Salary / 2080)] - Platform Cost
If you decide to start evaluating different marketing platforms use this marketing automation RFP (Request for Proposal) kit to help you think through the various components of a successful solution evaluation.
How to Leverage Your Extra Time
I have often struggled with managing my time. That is, until one of my mentors gave me the following chart to help me prioritize tasks.
Waste of time
More often than not people end up just working on what’s urgent, not what’s important. Weekly routine task often end up falling into the category of urgent and not important. This chart helps to prevent that.
What tasks do you spend the most time on? What would you do if you had 250 extra hours a year? Share your thoughts below.
Originally published Dec 28, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021