According to the Asia Pacific Content Marketing Report 2016 by HubSpot and Survey Monkey, 63% of businesses stepped up content creation in 2016. Still, 56% of marketers surveyed revealed that creating quality marketing content was one of their top challenges.
In one way or another, the quality of marketing output has always been reliant on how effectively you manage your creative approval workflow. When marketing projects are running smoothly, quality and expediency go hand in hand. When they become riddled with problems, it’s no surprise you see a decline in the quality of output.
Here are some of the top issues getting in the way of management your marketing projects.
Top issues hampering marketing projects:
- No one has full visibility of current marketing projects on the go
- Communication between stakeholders is confused or minimal at best
- Projects are managed on the fly with no clear milestones and deadlines
- Resources are overloaded and no one knows what they’re doing from one week to the next
- Artwork revisions are high because of incoherent feedback or constant change requests from stakeholders
- Marketing compliance is at risk because stakeholders get missed in the creative approval workflow process
- Marketers are bogged down in emails for a good part of their work day
- Marketers are juggling multiple project management tools at once or using none at all
How to solve these project management issues
With more thought and planning, you can immerge from the chaos of your workday and improve the quality of your marketing content.
Here are our Best Practices for solving your marketing project management issues.
1. Open and clear communication is key.
Are you drowning in an email trail of too many opinions at the start of each project. If so, take stock now. Call a meeting and invite all of your stakeholders so you can plan the important elements of your project. Make sure that everyone is on the same page by the end of the meeting and that you have an action plan. Your marketing team needs to understand their roles in the project so that you have the right people on the right tasks. Schedule a weekly, fortnightly or monthly meeting to keep everyone in the loop moving forward.
2. Create a project plan that leaves no stone unturned.
Create a project plan that maps out the stages of work, who needs to be involved and the projected start and finish dates (and other important milestones in between). A digital marketing calendar that can be accessed by all stakeholders, even remote workers, is a great way to keep everyone abreast of project milestones and deadlines.
3. Streamline your approval workflow process to eliminate errors.
Your approval processes should clearly indicate the way in which tasks are checked off and how work flows on to the next person, which will eliminate repetitive tasks, errors and plenty of headaches. In addition, a clear process on how feedback is provided to the creative team and how artwork is approved is critical to your workflow.
4. Eliminate repetitive tasks with document templates.
While most marketers create a range of marketing content, the cycles within each are typically the same. Make sure you’re not wasting precious time creating a new document every time you need a brief for, say, a print advertisement. Having one document that captures everything you need for a particular campaign (even if on occasion not all segments on the template are required) will dispense with repetitive administration.
5. Plan and schedule your marketing resources carefully.
There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve double booked a resource for two projects with competing deadlines. However you manage your marketing resources, be sure to use a tool that provides full visibility over your resources. This way you can better plan and allocate tasks to avoid overloading your staff and missing important deadlines.
6. Consider implementing marketing project management software to streamline your projects.
A digital tool that provides a central platform from which to plan your projects, and manage your resources and creative approval workflow, might just be the remedy you need to solve your marketing issues. Marketing efficiency experts wouldn’t be without their trusty project management software. Just don’t fall into the trap of having one tool for managing projects, another for resources and another for proofing artwork, all of which will only impede your operations.
7. Manage risk like a pro.
Be prepared for potential issues like bottlenecks, stakeholders who drag their feet on approvals and projects changing scope - and have a backup plan! Address issues as soon as they become one because putting your head in the sand won’t make them magically disappear. Save an audit trail of marketing work. You don’t know when you might need it for a marketing compliance issue.
Have a robust feedback system in place. Debrief with your team about any project that just didn’t go to plan. Where did it go wrong? What were the major issues? How can you improve upon the way in which you work? Be open to feedback about how your operations can be refined. Then get up and do it all again. And do it better this time.