No-one would argue that producing marketing content is easy. And yet many marketing professionals still rely on traditional tools to manage their approval workflow.
According to Adweek, “the traditional back-and-forth process of getting ideas developed, presented, refined, re-presented, refined again, approved … is time-consuming and expensive.”
Fortunately, with the recent boom in marketing solutions and workflow management software, attitudes are changing. In a 2017 report by Content Marketing Institute, 66% of marketers indicated that their greatest educational requirement was to learn “how to better use technology to manage content as a business asset.”
If you’re yet to find and make the right change to a marketing approval workflow solution, here’s 10 ways to know that your team is well and truly ready for it.
1. Your approval workflow is still paper - and email-based.
Project briefs and documents are submitted to your marketing team on print-outs or handwritten notes, so the task of processing jobs is manual and slow. Typically, briefs are incomplete or documentation is lost which means you have to do a number of follow ups before you kick off the project. Likewise, approvals are managed via email which results in a never-ending cycle of feedback. When feedback is sent on to your design team, there are always late changes which means artwork is constantly being updated.
2. Staff cut corners in the approval process.
Even though your approval workflow process is mapped out, there’s nothing that keeping your team accountable for it. A perfect example: final feedback is provided on artwork, the changes are implemented, and the content goes live instead of going back for final approval. Unfortunately, the updated artwork is incorrect and you’ve got to recall the campaign or simply wear it.
3. Tracking creative projects is time consuming.
You need to get an update on how your marketing projects are tracking. You locate the spreadsheet that outlines your projects, but realise it hasn’t been updated for a few days. Now you have to spend time asking around and making a number of phone calls to find out where your projects are at. This unnecessary task has already cost a few hours of your work day.
This might also interest you: http://blog.admation.com/5-reasons-why-agency-resource-management-software-is-better-than-excel-spreadsheets
4. Approvals stall at various touchpoints.
You notice that approvals regularly grind to a halt at various touchpoints. At the briefing stage, invariably a stakeholder hasn’t provided all of the critical information so now you have to spend the next few days tracking it down. You’re waiting on already belated approvals and then discover that a team member forgot to follow them up. At the design stage, feedback is dribbling through forcing the designer to keep updating the artwork.
5. High artwork revisions are a regular occurrence.
Typically, artwork goes back for revision multiple times because of a range of factors: stakeholders provide conflicting feedback but a lack of transparency means they slip through; a stakeholder is overlooked early on in the process so their feedback is late; errors were made on the artwork because someone made assumptions about handwritten feedback; the list goes on.
This might also interest you: http://blog.admation.com/start-the-year-by-reviewing-marketing-workflow
6. Resources are floundering under chaotic processes.=
Your department doesn’t have clear visibility over your resources, so they’re being pulled from one urgent project to another delaying deadlines across the board. If someone calls in sick, it’s too much of a hassle to reassign the task, so you leave it until they’re back - meanwhile work is backing up. Resources are constantly staying back late to deal with the high volume of artwork changes, and mistakes are made because everyone is rushing tasks under too much pressure.
7. No one has visibility over anyone else’s work.
Other departments do not have a clear understanding of your department’s workload, so stakeholders keep briefing projects and nominating unrealistic deadlines. Team members are uncertain about what others are working on, so there’s no clear objectives about tackling work effectively.
8. Brand assets are often difficult to locate.
It’s not uncommon for your marketing department to re-work a previous campaign. But where do you find the final artwork? Projects are saved across different folders and, when you do finally locate the right one, you see the artwork has eight different names with no clear indication of which is the final, approved file.
9. Your department is under pressure to deliver on poorly executed marketing campaigns.
Campaigns are going late to market, the quality of output has decreased, you’re over budget again and you have no resources to assign to upcoming projects. Your projected profit is down and now there’s more pressure than ever to perform.
10. You know it’s time to invest in approval workflow software.
One of the greatest truisms in life - you have to accept that you have a problem before you can fix it. You’ve seen the signs and understand that your current way of managing approval workflow is costing you time, money and good staff. You’ve read up on the benefits of approval workflow software and you realise that there’s a better way to manage your approval workflow for you and your marketing team..