Budgeting can blindside even the best of us. Take an artist for example. It’s easy to calculate the cost of the tools necessary to create an art piece, but it’s far more difficult to account for the time and energy that goes into creating it. In fact, the latter is easily overlooked.
Producing marketing collateral is not dissimilar. It’s easy to see the straight up costs like production and media on your project, but what about the “blind” costs that are pushing your budget into the red?
Costs that are generally overlooked are incurred during the marketing approval process, which means your current process might be costing you more time and resources than you think.
You will be surprised, possibly even shocked…
The next time you see an approval with a high revision count, let’s say greater than v5 – which our research indicates is common place in marketing approvals – stop and do a quick exercise of how many approvers it has touched and how much of their time it has absorbed. Using rough maths multiply their time by their hourly rate and you will be surprised to see that often the approval costs are more than the production. Brands are using procurement tactics to drive down production costs when there are immediate savings available by simply reducing the number of revisions before final approval.
If it’s time to review your approval process, here are some factors to consider:
Are your approval touch-points defined?
If your current approval process does not outline definitive touch-points that involve the right stakeholders at the right time, you risk doubling up on or potentially missing feedback and really just wasting time. After all, seeking approval from senior management too early in the process could mean repetition if they have to sign off on the final artwork anyway. Taking it to them too late runs the risk of a complete overhaul. Likewise, seeking approval from legal too late in the process might eventuate in critical edits for legal reasons being completed under duress when deadlines are looming.
Stakeholders - need to know or approve?
Before planning your strategy for each new project, ask yourself whether all the stakeholders involved are required for sign off. It’s vital that everyone who provides feedback adds value to the campaign otherwise it becomes costly in terms of human resources as well as ineffectual if feedback is superfluous. Any efficient approval process should allow you to nominate each stakeholder who needs to approve the artwork.
Are you completely satisfied that your email approval is offering your business a streamlined approval process? Take a minute to consider these potential issues: a stakeholder reviews an earlier version of the artwork because he/she hasn’t rechecked their email, which results in a delay; or, as stakeholders send their feedback separately, the email thread becomes overwhelming and you miss a vital piece of information. When a process becomes confused, work inefficiency results so the time you budgeted for resources is blown out of the water.