From Deadlines to bottom-lines, I put my marketing department under constant pressure to show ROI. This means every project and every process must be evaluated and prioritized based on the resources available and the return it will generate. In short, you need to get the most out of your team at all times. Basically, success comes down to productivity.
Any time you’re discussing productivity, processes should be front-and-center in the conversation. Processes can make or break productivity. For example, a recent survey conducted by Ask.com says 40% of respondents named impromptu meetings as a major office distraction. Such occurrences are often the result of a breakdown in processes or, as is often the case, highlight the underlying inefficiencies of a particular process.
So what can businesses do to improve marketing processes? One of the simplest things a company can do is optimize through automation. There was a time when marketing automation technology was very cumbersome, and even caused more problems than it was worth, but those days are long gone. Automation systems now, such as marketing resource management and creative production management systems, can help marketing teams increase productivity significantly with minimal risk to the quality of their work. Here are three areas where automation and technology can have a huge impact:
Workflow – This is “process” at its most basic level. Who’s doing what and when does it need done by? Automation helps in the delegation and management of projects. Specific processes, like creating a brochure, can be defined and uploaded into a creative production or collaboration platform and tasks are automatically moved through the chain of command. Everyone attached to the project is notified when one element is completed and the next contributor’s turn to jump in. It puts a proverbial box around processes and helps everyone on the team stay up-to-date.
Cost/Budgeting – This element really concerns both marketing and sales. Marketing resource management systems can be utilized to keep tabs on how much of a particular asset, such as a sales flyer, is being used and set how much financial leeway a sales person has for ordering more campaign materials. This gives marketing a better understanding not only of how to manage its own finances, but how to budget its time as well.
Collaboration and review – This addresses the issue of impromptu meetings stated earlier head-on. Online creative production platforms allow users to collaborate and contribute on their own time, meaning they don’t have to interrupt one project to go have a 15-minute meeting about something as simple as the font color of another project. Automation of the review and approvals process also means creatives don’t have to track down managers and executives to get them to sign off on something. When a project is uploaded, it is automatically sent up the chain of command for review, revision and approval.
Technology has come a long way in simplifying marketing processes and improving productivity, but marketing teams can still be doing more to maximize its effect. Incorporating technology and automation gives marketers the agility and flexibility they need to be effective at their job versus focusing on details and distractions that often come with everyday processes.