Along with this framework, asking these seven questions can help optimize costs to improve efficiency:
- Eliminate: Can the cost be cut entirely from current or future spending?
- Simplify: Is it possible to reduce complexity by removing duplication?
- Utilize: Can existing resources offer expanded use or value?
- Standardize: Can common tasks and processes be defined or combined?
- Centralize: Can centralization help achieve economies of scale and improve leveraging of resources?
- Automate. Can manual procedures be reduced or eliminated?
- Renegotiate: Can the organization rationalize partner or provider portfolios or recalibrate business relationships?
The seven-question structure can be applied to people, process, technology and partner relationships. Applied to talent, it enables marketers to focus on better ways to use existing resources or standardize certain tasks to create capacity. For example, the questions can reveal opportunities to:
Eliminate overlapping roles and responsibilities. Now that you may be reassigning teams to a wider range of projects, determine exactly how much capacity you need to deliver the overall portfolio. Balance people’s roles accordingly: Although versatility can be useful, avoid excessive overlap and duplication of skills.
Standardize to reduce variability. Balance job components that can be standardized — such as performance objectives and measurements — with variable elements such as flexibility and creativity. Try to standardize skills across the team to reduce the need for specialist roles or support from external agencies.
Centralize critical skills and capacities. The key question to ask is where centralization can deliver better performance at lower cost. Marketing analytics is a great example of a skill that can be centralized by pooling analytics resources and building a unified approach across the business.
Automate manual or low-value work. Look for ways to leverage technology to automate processes, freeing up people to provide higher-value contributions.