‘Tidying Up’ your marketing for 2019

The start of a new year is a great reason to declutter and reorganize all aspects of your life, from your closet to your career. One of Netflix's hottest new shows is Tidying Up where Marie Kondo, the New York Times best-selling author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, helps people part with their clutter and find joy in their belongings.

The same principles she uses to clean homes can also help you take a fresh look at your marketing efforts. Follow these steps to tidy up your marketing in 2019:

1. Commit yourself

Kondo says the act of tiding up has to take place in one shot. Dedicating the time and energy to go through everything and get your entire house in order will deliver better results than trying to do it in bits and pieces.

Similarly, you need to reserve some sacred time for yourself to review past performance, evaluate your marketing plan, and sort through your current assets. Trying to squeeze this effort in between meetings and as part of the daily grind will probably not be successful.

2. Pull everything out

Kondo starts her tidying efforts by focusing on clothing first and she says that you should gather all your clothes and put them in one huge pile. She shares that this “shock moment” where people see all their clothes piled together ultimately helps them get rid of more unwanted items.

When evaluating your marketing spend, put everything on the table. You need to see the whole picture when it comes to your campaigns and budget, so drag out your entire annual plan and analyze each category of spending in turn.

3. Determine which items spark joy

Kondo’s keep versus toss method is to take each item individually and see whether it sparks joy when you hold it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Her definition of “joy” can include many things, like something that is useful or necessary.

Your marketing items need to be measured to see if they are delivering value. Each activity or spend should bring something to your organization — website traffic, referrals, sales leads, media coverage, new hires, improved customer, or employee satisfaction scores, etc.

If a marketing tactic is not bringing “joy” to your company by delivering some sort of value, it’s time to take a hard look and possibly eliminate it as busywork.

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4. Organize things so they can be seen

Kondo’s unique way of folding allows clothing to stand on end so that all items in a drawer can be seen individually, instead of stacked on top of one another.

So, too, should you have a comprehensive view of all your marketing efforts. An editorial or marketing calendar is a great way to see upcoming deadlines and share plans with internal teams and external partners.

Your marketing assets also need to be organized. An easy-to-navigate filing system like a Marketing Resource Center can help. End users should be able to find the items they need in a logical category within a few clicks or by using a search box.

5. Thank your discarded items

Kondo advises her followers to say “thank you” to each item before it is discarded. The psychology is that this makes it easier to let go of the item after you have recognized the service it provided to you.

Similarly, make sure you recognize the marketing activities that are being discontinued as you move forward. Maybe a piece of marketing material delivered a lot of value in the past, but after a collateral audit you found it to be underperforming or irrelevant now. Thank the piece for its service and then send it to the archives.

The major benefit seen from tidying up is that you can face your job and the future with a fresh and renewed sense of purpose.

Maeghan Nicholson is the marketing manager at Suttle-Straus.

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