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.
Chapter 3: Digital assets anarchy
Achieve happily ever after with your marketing team