In a post-pandemic world, where the customer is at the heart of the customer journey and the market is becoming increasingly competitive, it?s easy to see why marketing is now more important than ever. In turn, this requires that marketing teams be as efficient and productive as possible.
This can be a challenge in itself, especially when the team needs to manage several projects. To solve this problem, it?s necessary to design and create a marketing approval workflow that allows teams to deliver high-quality work consistently.
But what exactly is a marketing approval workflow and how do you create one? In this post, we?ll look at these questions, and more, in more detail.
Why You Need a Marketing Approval Workflow?
Before discussing how you can design and create your marketing approval workflow, it?s important to understand why you would want to. In other words, why do you need a marketing approval workflow?
Simply put, it streamlines your marketing approval process and gives you the consistency you need to get projects done quicker. As a result, you basically have a roadmap that your team can follow for every project. This means that everyone knows exactly what needs to happen, by when, and whose responsibility it is.
Because of this, your marketing approvals become more efficient, your team members more productive and your clients happier. In addition, you?ll eliminate missed deadlines and you?ll reduce the likelihood of going over budget. So, ultimately, your team will perform better and you?ll have less stress.
Elements of a Marketing Approval Workflow
Now that we?ve recapped why you need a marketing approval workflow, let?s look at the elements of the marketing approval process a bit closer. Keep in mind that the elements might differ depending on your organisation or team?s specific needs and requirements but generally, it encompasses the following elements:
Briefing. This is commonly the point where the entire marketing approval workflow starts and lays the foundation for the remainder of the process. After all, your team wouldn?t know what to do or create without knowing what the client wants from the project. So, the briefing stage gives you all the information you need to define and plan the project, decide what approvals you need, and which team members will be involved.
Milestones. Once you?ve defined what work needs to be done and approved according to the client?s requirements, your workflow will need to set out the milestones that you?ll have to reach as the project moves from the briefing phase through to completion.
Creation. The next element in the workflow is the creation of the relevant asset, be it a piece of content, a social media campaign, video, or another piece of marketing collateral. This phase of the process also encompasses the submission of the work once it?s completed.
Review. After the creation of the work, the next element is the review process. This element requires that the right people review the work at the right time, so it?s vital to ensure that the necessary measures are in place for the reviewers to get the work when they need to. Here, it?s also important to remember that there will typically be both internal and external review processes that you?ll need to coordinate to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
An important aspect throughout the entire marketing approval workflow is that you identify the relevant stakeholders. In other words, you?ll need to identify exactly who will be involved in the creation, review, and approval of the marketing assets.
How To Design and Create a Marketing Approval Workflow
Now it?s time to take the elements of the marketing approval workflow described above and design and create the process. Remember, your workflow needs to be the roadmap that your team should follow for every project, so you?ll need to define the following steps:
Marketing brief. As stated earlier, the marketing brief kicks off the process and lays the foundation for the steps to follow. Here, it?s worth it to use a creative brief template that ensures that you get all the information you need upfront which reduces any follow up for missing information. In addition, with a template, you?ll use the same brief for every project which saves your team a lot of time and effort. Based on the brief, you?ll know what the client expects and you can plan your project and which team members will be involved according to this.
Content creation and first draft. Once the brief has been approved, the next step is the creation of the asset and delivery of the first draft for review. Here, it?s worth your while to decide what exactly constitutes the first draft and, as such, what will be delivered for the first round of reviews. It?s also important to set exact deadlines, based on your planning, for the delivery of the first draft.
Review. Once the first draft is done, it should be reviewed by the relevant stakeholders. These will, typically, be internal reviewers on the creative team. Here, it?s important to ensure that the right stakeholders get the asset at the right time because it?s these reviews that ensure the project moves forward.
Revisions. Based on the reviews above, any revisions should be carried out within the deadline specified for them. At this stage, it?s important to decide how many reviews will be done to get to the final version of the asset. This not only ensures that the project moves forward, but also that the final version is delivered within a reasonable time. It?s also important to decide on the way the different versions of the asset will be dealt with, in other words how they will be stored, labelled and compared to prior versions.
Final version. Once all the revisions are complete, the final version of the asset can be delivered for the round of final approvals.
Creative team approval. The penultimate step of the workflow is where the creative team approves and signs off on the asset. The reason for doing this before the final step is to completely approve the asset internally before any outside feedback is received.
Non-creative approval. Once the creative team has approved the asset, it?s time for external approval. Depending on the circumstances this can include approval by subject matter experts, legal and compliance teams, customer management or sales teams and, yes, the client.
To illustrate how your marketing approval workflow will look for different assets, we?ll briefly look at two examples.
For the first, let?s assume you?re dealing with a digital marketing team that manages a digital ad campaign. In this case, your marketing content approval process will follow these steps:Brief . Here, you?ll get all the information you need from the client including their goals, budget, and when they want to launch the campaign. As mentioned earlier, here it?s best to use an online brief template to make sure the team gets all the information it needs. Based on this information, the team will be able to define the project and develop a clear project scope that contains specified milestones and deadlines.
Creation of ads . Once the scope is set, the relevant team members can start creating an ad or a set of ads. Depending on the nature of the campaign and how many ads there are, they can be created from the outset or staggered over time.
Review and revisions . For every ad, once submitted, it should go through a predetermined number of review and revision rounds. Here, your marketing approval workflow should determine exactly who needs to review the ads at what stage. This ensures that the right team members review the asset when they should and that the project moves forward.
Final approval . Once the final versions of the ads are ready, they can be approved by the creative team, whereafter legal teams, sales teams, or other experts and the client can give their final approval. Once approved, the ads are ready to be published.
It?s important to remember that there are a few things you should keep in mind when developing a marketing approval workflow like this. For one, because the team will be dealing with an ad campaign, it?s a definite possibility that the ads may be staggered for delivery at certain times.
As a result, after the briefing stage, it could be that the different steps are followed for every ad and that the steps for the different ads could overlap. For example, the first ad can be at the review stage when the second enters the creation stage, and so on.
Also, after the final approval is given for each ad and it goes live, it?s necessary to monitor and track its performance. This gives the team the ability to see if their strategy is working or not and if not, they?re able to make improvements to the ads that follow.
For our second example, we?ll look at the approval process for a marketing video production. Here, the briefing and final approval steps will remain largely unchanged, but some changes will be necessary with the creation, review, and revisions steps. This is simply because video, in contrast to print or web content, is challenging to revise.
As a result, more planning will need to be done in pre-production and production to ensure that everything needed is in place. This eliminates revisions and the need to schedule later shoots. When done with pre-production and production, the raw footage can be edited to the final version in post-production.
How Approval Workflow Software Can Help Streamline Your Process
As you can probably understand from the processes described above, managing a marketing approval workflow can be challenging, especially if a team works on several projects simultaneously. The solution to this challenge is using approval workflow software.
Because it allows you to eliminate old-fashioned and less-than-optimal tools and manage all aspects of your marketing projects from one central hub, it?s simply the best way to streamline your marketing approval workflow.
With this in mind, let?s look at Admation. It?s the all-in-one solution that allows you to manage your marketing projects from start to finish. As such, it contains projects management, resource management, online proofing and approval workflow, and digital asset management modules.
It lets you brief creative projects, streamline approvals, manage digital assets and versions, and manage resources all from one place. Ultimately, it allows you to manage your marketing projects better, makes your team more productive, and ensures that your projects are done on time and your clients happy.
If you?d like to learn more about Admation and how it can help your team become more efficient, book a free discovery session today.