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10 simple but powerful ways to ramp up efficiency in the advertising industry

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Credit: Photos courtesy of the individual members.

The ever-changing media landscape demands industry professionals not only work fast but smart. And with new competitors entering the scene, leaders need to be diligent about maximizing efficiency in their operations. What some may overlook, however, is that investing the time upfront to streamline systems can smooth interdepartmental communications, speed up product development, and simplify their decision-making — increasing overall productivity and innovation as a result.

But how can leaders take the first step? Ten industry experts from Ad Age Collective suggest these simple, practical ways to break down an otherwise daunting process.

1. Invest in finding the right buying and selling model.

Leaders need to find buying and selling models that are transparent and efficient and that enable the market to thrive in a capital markets-like fashion. At the same time, we need to continue to push outstanding creativity to the forefront so brands understand exactly what experiences and strategies are driving the most value for their businesses. — Lana McGilvray, Blast Public Relations and Marketing

2. Use a rapid, iterative experimentation process.

While it's counterintuitive at first, adding iterative experimentation speeds up product development, rather than slows it down. Take the time to use data to understand your customers upfront via rapid iteration, and then deliver an experience that truly delights them and saves you expensive fixes down the road. — Brooks Bell, Brooks Bell

3. Remember your priorities — and hyperfocus.

Leaders need to practice extreme focus. Too many of them try to do too many things that aren't always impactful to their business or careers. Instead, I recommend focusing on the top two to three things that can move the needle. — Sujan Patel, Ramp Ventures

4. Switch to asynchronous communication.

Leaders should switch to using asynchronous communication. It has done wonders for our agency — no more "update calls!" By simply using an app like Voxer, we're able to communicate more efficiently and produce more work for our clients. Conference calls take up a lot of time. I prefer in-person meetings when face-to-face is a must and tools like Trello and Voxer for productivity. — Tina Wells, Buzz Marketing Group

5. Train everyone to self-manage their projects.

Business leaders need to ensure that they take the time to train their teams on how to manage projects effectively and profitably so that they can focus on the bigger picture: strategic growth, groundbreaking work and happy clients. — Robyn Streisand, The Mixx

6. Let go of ineffective legacy systems.

Don't let nostalgia ruin your results. It is important that we are able to objectively evaluate whether a strategy is driving results or we're just wishing it still works the way it used to. If we can give up the nostalgia, we can focus on what's actually working today and on what will keep us in business tomorrow. — Shama Hyder, Zen Media

7. Cultivate skills that will round out creative and marketing teams.

Build teams that are experienced with linguistics, immersive content (creating and deploying visual content via VR and AR), blockchain, JSON and IoT apps, as well as web security. They will balance the creative and marketing teams that cover the "bases of the future" in advertising and marketing. — Constance Aguilar, The Abbi Agency

8. Integrate efficiency across multiple teams.

Efficiency is no longer handled in isolation. Previously, agencies and brands may have tried to tackle individual processes or focused on single tactics. However, I think that now is the time where efficiency can happen via integration – whether it's between product and marketing, marketing and technology, operations and communications, and so on. — Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

9. Make data-backed decisions.

Without question, the most important thing that marketing and advertising leaders can do to improve efficiency, productivity and results is to embrace data. Our industry is still largely ruled by emotions, gut feelings and "inspiration." Advertising can no longer be run by Don Draper wannabes. Leaders need to empower their teams with data that can guide campaigns and ideas toward success. — Matt Peters, Pandemic Labs

10. Learn the right way to delegate.

The greatest companies and agencies we've worked with all have a common thread: They hire individuals that are capable, positive and adaptive. Once a strategy and plan are put into place, leaders must relinquish the reins and trust their team to execute. If you hire the right people and they have the necessary resources to accomplish their tasks, they'll consistently overdeliver. — Chris Carter, VideoFort

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About Ad Age Collective
Ad Age Collective is an invitation-only, fee-based membership organization of industry leaders with influential voices. The Ad Age editorial team is not involved in the curation or management of the Ad Age Collective and the content within. The opinion expressed by contributors are their own. Learn more.
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