Why A Little OCD Can Help Your Marketing Efforts

My wife is a gifted psychologist.  When she was finishing grad school she was learning how to give certain tests.  Guess who was the guinea pig?  I don't remember much of what those tests revealed (she did marry me!) save one phrase.  It was, "You have obsessive-compulsive disorder but it doesn't interfere with your ability to function."  I wasn't sure how to take that and certainly don't want to slight those who fight with OCD every day, but I always thought of my organizational skills as a strength and today's marketer needs to be more organized than ever.

The marketing world we live in requires more organization than ever.  The measurement tools we have and the propensity for using online channels give us more things to manage than at any point in history.  Keeping all the balls in the air is tough and that regularly pushes marketers into a "read and react" mode.  This can leave us rather short-sided about the future or the long-term needs of what our company needs from marketing.  This time of year is the perfect example of this - how much are your looking back at what happened this year and are getting ready for next vs. just trying to get to the holidays?  I bet you're not as far as you would like to be and I'd also bet that if you start to organize your time and efforts your ability to be (and appear to be) more planful and proactive will improve.

Organization can begin in small increments but those small steps can go a long way.  This is where some version of a process comes into play.  Larger organizations can process map and leverage the tools and manpower to deal with their big money initiatives, but that doesn't mean a smaller company can't be just as organized.  I would begin with the big items that are regularly on your list - customer events, trade shows, product releases, planning, and budgeting and put those in a format that shows how they all lineup and back into start dates.  It will show you the amount of work you have and your timelines.  From there you can begin to fill in all the smaller items that will take up the remainder of your time.  Not to go all Chinese proverb on everyone, but if you fill up the cylinder with the small pebbles first the big rocks will never fit.

If you're not very organized, take some time to get your projects and plans in line.  Whether it's implementing a project management tool, using your calendar and tasks or just writing down your goals and what you need to get done, the time you invest in getting your stuff together will help you be a better marketer.