Marketing has increasingly become a technical specialty. Beyond our traditional digital channels, TV is now connected and Outdoor is also digital. And thanks to the Covid era more consumers are online than ever before.
Marketing has evolved from suiting a predominantly qualitative skillset (social and behavioral understanding, creative and strategic mindset) to include functions requiring greater quantitative abilities than ever before (the use of technology, analytics, automation, and integration).
Which means, if marketing teams want to remain innovative and function optimally, they need to divide their tasks purposefully to qualitative and quantitative team members.
The WorkReduce business model was developed in response to these changing needs. Every day we saw avoidable inefficiencies creep into advertising teams and become magnified. We saw avoidable errors occur that cost companies millions and personally impacted their team members who were unable to make their bonuses. We saw brands lack the agility to scale efficiently because their operational process was too sluggish.
And the reason behind it all was an ineffective division of labor where tasks were not correctly assigned to the right talent.
The Division of Labor
The desire for business efficiency is not a modern goal. In fact, the division of labor concept was created more than 400-years ago. The premise of the concept is to assign a worker or group of workers to a specialist task to increase workflow efficiency. It uses the basis that an individual worker’s output is most optimal when they specialize in part of the production process that they do best.
The division of labor forms a proven operational structure that directly impacts the economics of all businesses and ensures consistent high quality of output. What business doesn’t want that?!
The restaurant business relies on the concept to function efficiently and ensure quality output. Consider the set-up of any Michelin star kitchen. You have the top chef, the sous chef, lesser skilled kitchen hands, cleaning staff, etc. All focused on specialized, repeatable tasks that work together to create a well-oiled culinary machine.
Henry Ford famously employed the division of labor into his automotive manufacturing plant in the 1920’s, creating the first of its kind automotive assembly line to increase the efficiencies of his car production so they could be more affordable to a large working-class market.
Ford and his team were inspired by other industries (the meat-packing houses of Chicago and a grain-mill conveyor belt he had seen). He and his team found four principles that would further their goal: interchangeable parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and reducing wasted effort. The latter three principles are equally relevant in the greater division of labor across marketing teams.
The way Ford went about it was to break down the assembly of the Model T automobile into 84 distinct steps. Each worker was trained in just one repeatable step. Additionally, by understanding the time it took to perform each task, Ford’s team were able to accurately predict the time expected to assemble an entire vehicle and could easily identify where any delays were occurring so they could be fixed before they adversely slowed production.
Teams should work to their strengths for optimal output
In 1776, Adam Smith published a book on the study of economics, The Wealth of Nations. Smith’s theory of the division and specialization of labor implied that: a worker skilled in engineering will yield economic output that is suboptimal if they were employed in something other than an engineering-type function.
Essentially, Smith noted that output is ideal when workers specialize in the part of the production process that they do best. He offered three reasons for this:
1) Specialization in a particular small job allows workers to focus on the parts of the production process in which they have an advantage.
2) Workers who specialize in certain tasks often learn to produce more quickly and with higher quality.
3) Specialization allows businesses to take advantage of economies of scale, which means that, for many goods, as levels of production increase the (per unit) production cost reduces.
So, if we apply this to a marketing team where we understand the requirements of tasks within a job function -and can assign the right specialist to perform that task repeatedly – we’ll have faster, happier teams, who make less mistakes.
In this scenario, you can also consider our WorkReduce talent as the (predominantly quantitative) specialists who can be plugged into your team to cover any of the gaps you may identify in this process. This will also free up your qualitative team members to fully focus on the aspects of your business where they can excel.
Why is the division of labor even more relevant for in-house digital marketing teams?
Many people in marketing today came onto the ad scene as a Comms graduate. Although analytics and technical aspects were included in this degree, it’s primarily targeted to those seeking qualitative training and suits a more creative and strategic student. However, many digital advertising functions still require someone with a strong micro mindset – where most Comms graduates have strength in thinking macro.
That’s not to say that a Comms graduate is unable to use Excel or follow a technical process –but they will never be as effective or efficient at these tasks as someone purpose built to perform it. Correct assignment will reduce production time, minimize errors and any additional time required to fix them.
It’s more common in an agency to find a level of division of labor around tasks, which is why it’s often faster for an agency to augment their team with WorkReduce specialist talent whenever they have a gap in headcount.
However, on the brand side, in-house teams are less likely to have the headcount available to divide their existing team in this way. And as such, they’re more likely to have job descriptions which require their team to support both qualitative and quantitative tasks. Which means there’s an element of inefficiency already built into the in-house process.
To overcome this, our brand partners are more likely to distribute these quantitative tasks to our WorkReduce Service Desk specialist support to maximize their operational efficiencies. The result of this division of labor has enabled the in-house brand teams to have greater focus on activities that have helped innovate and scale their business faster and more efficiently than ever before.