Efficiency experts are seven times more likely to use a digital tool to manage their marketing projects. And while approval workflow software is offering brands and ad agencies greater control and transparency over their approval process, buyers are not necessarily choosing the right tool to streamline the production cycle.
According to the 2017 Management and Strategy Survey (Content Marketing Institute and Intelligent Content Conference): “Only 18% of respondents feel their organization has the right technology in place to manage their content marketing efforts … Almost two out of five (37%) reported their organizations have not acquired the right tools.”
So what factors lead to people choosing a tool that isn’t the right fit for their business?
1. The requirement list is too sketchy to find a match for approval workflow software.
When the selection process is rushed or buyers forget to consult with other stakeholders about their needs, critical requirements get missed. Perhaps the design team is frustrated with handwritten markups. Unfortunately, the approval workflow tool has already been implemented and it doesn’t have integrated online proofing tools. If you don’t get your requirements right, it’s unlikely you’ll select a tool that assists everyone in the approval workflow.
Tip: Collaborate with your stakeholders to ensure that you include their feedback on your list of requirements. To avoid rushing the selection process, create a project for choosing your software and add it to your calendar so that you set aside time to work on this.
2. People believe that the tool will magically fix their approval workflow process.
While this tool can optimise your approval workflow in many ways, it cannot fix an ineffectual approval process. For example, if you’ve got Legal reviewing artwork too early in the process (which is driving up artwork revisions) or you’ve missed a stakeholder altogether (causing a potential compliance issue), this is human error. The system does not have a magic wand to fix this.
Tip: Before selecting and implementing a tool, make sure you’ve reviewed your approval workflow to ensure that it’s in great shape so that you can derive the maximum benefits from the software.
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3. The software is not comprehensive enough.
One of the key reasons businesses are switching project management tools is they’ve selected a system that is not comprehensive enough. For example, some businesses have multiple sign off levels. If you’re juggling a range of different projects and stakeholder groups, a simple system will not offer tiered approvals where artwork is automatically sent from one group to another once it’s been approved.
Tip: This really goes back to your list of requirements. Make sure you collate a detailed list that will enable you to choose a system that will solve your greatest challenges.
4. The tool doesn’t provide remote access.
According to the In-House Creative Industry Report 2017 (The Boss Group and Cella): “30% Creative Leaders have team members in more than one location … With 65% saying the drawback of the relationship with external agencies is miscommunication.”
Clear communication is key when managing approval workflow. Nonetheless, buyers are still investing in tools that don’t provide remote login, which means that organisations remain dependent on email approvals. So feedback continues to go missing in email trails and stakeholders keep reviewing earlier versions of artwork.
Tips: Select a tool that’s going to allow your remote stakeholders and clients to provide feedback at any time from any location. All you have to do then is review, batch and send it on to your designer. No more trawling through emails!
5. No one championed the benefits of the approval workflow software.
Staff grumbling about a new tool they know nothing about or simply not engaging with it? Oops. You didn’t champion the software. We can’t impress the importance of having someone on board who believes that this kind of tool is going to be a game changer for your business and wants to tell everyone about it.
Tip: Nominate a champion at the very start of the selection process and make sure this person keeps everyone in the loop. Adoption rates are not only reliant on implementing a great tool, they’re reliant on your staff engaging with the selection process and understanding the benefits of the system.
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