Marketing teams battle chaotic workflows, long review & approval processes, and poor cross-team communication, not to mention changing priorities and ever-growing workloads. Read our cautionary tales of killer marketing catastrophes, and learn how to avoid them yourself.

Chapter 1: Bad process purgatory

Vague requests, muddled processes, and confusing priorities kill Kate’s genius marketing campaign stone dead.

Everything’s due yesterday and it’s all mission-critical priority — that’s the typical day in the life of marketing manager Kate. Deadlines and priorities change hourly, as if someone’s purposely testing her just to see if she can keep up.

Kate’s pretty capable, but she’s so constricted by red tape and convoluted business processes that it’s impossible for her to juggle incoming work, meet every changing deadline, or jump on fleeting opportunities. Even though her team has great ideas, they’re not able to execute them into a functioning marketing strategy or fulfill their campaign’s potential because they’re so restricted by the marketing machine.

Don’t make the same mistake!

Tip 1: Simplify and standardize all your work processes. Requests, planning, tracking, reporting — everything should be streamlined and straightforward. Agile marketing methods create a truly collaborative environment that enables teams to perform efficiently, deftly manage heavy workloads, and quickly respond to changing customer needs.

Tip 2: Set up templates and recurring tasks to make your team more efficient, clarify roles and responsibilities, and create a reliable workflow. Everyone can forget the process and just focus on being creative. To set up workflows for your team, start by:
- Listing your major project types
- Documenting the steps, responsibilities, and necessary approvals
- Creating those steps in a work management tool
- Using the tool to monitor progress and get status updates via notifications
- Eliminating unnecessary status request emails and meetings so you can get more done.

Tip 3: Save your sanity with a shared digital workspace. Real-time messaging, file sharing, task management, and an accessible knowledge base free you from searching for project information and sending time-consuming emails — which can be easily lost, overlooked, or buried in an overflowing inbox.

Chapter 2: Work requests roulette

Marco frantically tries to respond to every new request, and ends up totally losing sight of top priorities and deadlines.

Marco’s a brilliant marketing manager, and he’s just landed on a genius idea for a new paid ad campaign. He’s pumped to roll up his sleeves and dig in… when he gets a new email notification. And then an incoming Skype message.

Marco understands that it’s all about teamwork — and his colleagues are wonderful designers, developers, and product marketers. But when they need something from him… well, they quickly start to resemble children begging for candy. Soon, he’s fielding a swarm of incoming requests, shifting gears to accommodate new priorities, and scrambling to meet changing deadlines. His own high-priority projects are suddenly being pushed farther down his to-do list.

Don’t make the same mistake!

Tip 1: Give your teammates an easy tool for submitting new work requests, so that even the summer intern knows how to initiate new projects, and no one can submit a vague request that requires you to chase them down for clarification or redo completed work. Use Wrike Request Forms, Google Forms, or Wufoo.

Tip 2: Consider implementing Scrum. It's a popular Agile project management methodology with defined work sprints, daily standup meetings, and a public “to-do” list Backlog where new tasks and requests are logged and prioritized. While it takes effort and patience to implement, you'll soon wonder how you managed to survive without it. It could save your time, resources, campaign deadlines — and nerves.

Tip 3: Schedule, prioritize, and adjust your entire campaign plan to ensure you stay organized and focused on your most important projects, even when new requests come in. With online Gantt chart software, you can quickly adjust your plan to accommodate inevitable surprises and incoming tasks while making sure you'll still hit important deadlines. Gantt charts visualize your project schedule, display the sequence of tasks and milestones, note task dependencies, and show when work is on track or overdue.

Marketing Screw Ups to Learn From

Chapter 3: Digital assets anarchy

Nadia is about to send the final, fully designed campaign files to the printer for production. But which document is the latest, approved version: “complete-Final(V8).jpg,” or “final-draft-campaign-Oct-17.jpg”? 

Stefan, the marketing director, feels like banging his head against the wall after receiving yet another “final” design that completely disregards both the creative brief and his latest round of edits. 

Nadia, the designer, nearly strained a muscle rolling her eyes at Stefan’s vague feedback. She can’t understand why he insists on needlessly complicating the original design plan.
Creative collaboration inevitably involves rehashing and revising work, resulting in dozens of files and a complicated mess of drafts, mockups, and version histories. Keeping everything organized so old, unapproved versions aren't used accidentally in final deliverables can feel like an exercise in futility. 

Don’t make the same mistake!

Tip 1: Improve your creative briefs. Add all the relevant details, including clear objectives and full context so that designers understand your marketing goals and can support them. The creative department should know exactly what you expect from them and when, with no guesswork. Provide examples of similar projects or samples of your likes and dislikes: share Behance portfolios and/or Flickr images to create a clear picture of what you're looking for and save designers from producing work that misses the mark.

Tip 2: Simplify review processes by limiting the number of revision rounds your teammates can request. Start by listing all your current steps, then decide which are truly necessary and which you can eliminate. Then build a repeatable workflow that your team members can follow every time they start creative asset production. Don’t compromise your productivity by not having a defined approval process in place.

Tip 3: Name your files properly — let drafts stay drafts, and mocks be mocks. Then make sure your teammates can access all the files they need in one place, ideally a shared work environment or file repository that supports file editing and versioning. That way you'll achieve one 'Final' file nirvana across the team.

Achieve happily ever after with your marketing team

Share your tales of marketing madness in the comments below, then start a free trial to see how Wrike can help your marketing team coordinate efforts, adjust to changing priorities, and keep every campaign organized.