You probably recognise the scenario. You’re hard at work on a marketing campaign when an urgent piece of work comes in. Someone needs a brochure updated ASAP.
Then a Sales colleague asks you to help find a case study to include in a proposal.
And someone else needs you to write some new web content.
You take a deep breath…and abandon hope of completing your original task so you can get these new demands off your desk.
If this sounds familiar, read on.
There’s no shortage of tips to help you manage your conflicting priorities, from ways to manage your time better to technological solutions. We curate some of the best advice here.
Talk openly with colleagues and your manager to make them aware of the deadlines you’re facing. If there are other stakeholders involved – other people in the business who have landed these tasks on you – let them know that you’re already working on other projects, to give them an idea of your workload.
Get an idea of the relative importance of each piece of work – one person’s ‘urgent’ might be different to someone else’s. Make sure you’re not just responding to the person who shouts the loudest, but genuinely tackling the main priorities.
Working with others, both within and outside your team, is essential when competing deadlines threaten to push you off course. Read more about why collaboration is the key to better marketing and how you can improve marketing team collaboration.
2. Have a plan
Although incoming work may disrupt your plan, if you don’t have one in the first place, you have no hope of achieving your aims. A plan helps to prevent your marketing projects getting out of control.
Planning out your projects enables you to see your workload at a glance, and communicate it to your manager and others. It clearly shows how much time you have to take on any projects that fly in from leftfield – which will help you to manage stakeholder expectations.
If you’re at risk of missing any deadlines, your plan is a good place to start discussions with your manager, enabling you both to see your current projects and identify priorities.
3. Reduce the paper mountain
If your desk becomes overwhelmed by the work people throw at you, take back control!
Rework and editing can take a huge amount of your time. And managing edits and reviews is made far harder if you are facing a mountain of scribbled changes and dog-eared mark-ups.
Look at solutions that can help. Managing the review and approvals process online can make it far more efficient. Online approvals and workflow solutions have been identified among the four essential B2B marketing you need to be using.
4. Ask for help
If you’re struggling to manage competing deadlines, see if any of your colleagues can help. Of course, they can’t be expected to do all your work for you – and you should be prepared to help them out in return – but often, team members are happy to shoulder some of the burden if someone is overwhelmed.
Too often, we’re tempted to show we can cope with whatever’s thrown at us – but there are times when it helps to share the load. And some aspects of marketing – producing quality content, for instance, aren’t just down to the Marketing team but should be everyone’s responsibility.
5. Make it easier to find what you need
Conflicting priorities may be unavoidable, but deal with them efficiently and they will be less of an interruption to your flow.
If you make it easier for others to find what they need, they will be more self-sufficient.
You can tackle both of these by ensuring you, your team and the wider business can easily access brand assets, marketing content and company information.
Create a searchable online library of pre-Compliance-approved wording, data and other content to enable people to find the information they need without coming to you. Ensure that on-brand templates, with correct fonts and imagery, are readily available.
Do both of these and you will spend less time correcting and reviewing materials; less time acting as a conduit between Compliance and the business to get non-compliant financial promotions approved.
And of course, having access to all this material yourself also makes your own role easier, simplifying the process of producing correctly-branded, accurate, compliant marketing documents.
Conflicting priorities may be an inescapable fact of life for Marketing teams. But there are ways to manage and minimise their impact on your productivity. The tips here hopefully help.
And if you want to read more about how automating parts of your marketing project management can increase your efficiency and reduce your workload, you can download a copy of our free whitepaper on The benefits of automated workflow systems. You can read it here.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.