Two years ago, educational insights partner Frontline Education was in the middle of a rebrand. New logo, new website, new messaging.
The marketing team’s previous project management software didn’t make those massive changes and mountains of work any easier. Folders were lost inside folders. Collaboration suffered. Line workers struggled to manage tasks.
Sean Amster, Frontline’s Digital Strategy & Operations Manager, was responsible for the operations of launching the company’s new website. With so many pieces to manage—from wireframes, to coding, to QA—he turned to Wrike. The rest is history.
We recently caught up with Sean to learn how the Frontline marketing team has established a single source of truth for the entire organization, calculates the ROI of its efforts, and takes on 80 more projects per quarter.
Tell us a little bit about your role and the marketing team at Frontline.
Under the Frontline marketing umbrella is our Research and Learning Institute brand, which is supported by all aspects of the Frontline marketing team. I manage operations, technology, and data for the department. My team is composed of marketing analysts, project coordinators, and some developers. All together, we have a product marketing group, a demand generation group, content marketing, corporate communications, events, and our design team.
How was work managed before Wrike?
We used Workfront, which didn’t meet our needs and the deeply collaborative nature of our team. Previous to Workfront, the team used Asana. We realized we need a little bit more project management and not just task management, but at the time our system was overly-complicated and not designed with the end user in mind. Wrike is a good blend. It’s easy to use for individual contributors but powerful enough for managers and executives.
What else influenced your decision to switch to Wrike?
The ability to customize our workflows for specific processes was huge. With Wrike, we're able to create statuses that are really meaningful and tell us a story of where a task or a project is. Ultimately, that allows us to better communicate to management and leadership.
The other thing was organization. With our previous system, it was like folders inside folders inside folders, which was really hard to keep track of. In Wrike, I can tag a project to my own specific folder where I can keep track of it. I can have widgets to monitor my work more easily, which are kept totally separate from someone else who might like to manage their things really differently.
Going from Workfront to Wrike means we came from a really rigid system to a more flexible, easy-to-use system. We really like this because we are a marketing department—we have very analytical people, and we have very creative people, and those people don't often operate the same way. Wrike brings them together in one tool that works for everybody.
How has Wrike been received across the team?
I actually introduced Wrike to my company because we were going through a rebrand, and I was leading the process from a website operations perspective. We eventually had the rest of the marketing team use it to QA the website, and everyone really loved it. Marketing was the first department to implement Wrike, but that has transitioned to basically our whole company.
From CS to IT operations to our security team to finance, we're all in Wrike now. We currently have about 180 Wrike users and around 160 collaborators. This is huge for us because now I can get a request from CS about a project, for example, and I can comment back-and-forth in Wrike for clarifications or approval. We now have an all-in-one project management system, which has been transformational for our company. It’s been able to bring finance, marketing, CS, operations, and IT all together in one system.
How does Wrike help facilitate collaboration between these teams?
I think this might be one of the most simple things, but being able to @mention people and comment back-and-forth has been very helpful. We love the ability to attach different items like emails, Word documents, or pictures to tasks, and comment on them and mark them up right in Wrike.
All of our project communication is in Wrike, so we know right where everything is if we need to track something down. It's not in Slack. It's not on email. It's in Wrike. Having clarity around what's really going on with a project is the best. We know everyone who should see a project has access to it, and everyone who needs to comment has commented. If you need to tag someone or mark something up, you can do it very quickly.
How does your team manage requests?
We use Wrike’s Dynamic Request Forms. We have a general marketing intake request form that changes based on the type of request. So say it’s a customer service email request, you will get one page. If you need a piece of collateral, it takes you to a different page.
Dynamic Request Forms really help cut down on people emailing our project coordinator or requesting items over random Slack conversations. They help us make sure we have everything we need to actually start the project. Wrike functions as the single source of truth for what projects need to get done.
Has Wrike helped your team be more productive?
It has made people less stressed by helping them understand what work they need to get done and what work they have ahead of them. We are at least 1.5x more productive with Wrike. The types of things we have done since implementing Wrike have been just incredible, from a rebrand, to new websites—we even do our acquisitions through Wrike now.
It has been amazing. We do more, and we do it faster. Projects that used to take us eight days now take us only five. We’ve also been able to handle about 80 more projects per quarter since implementing Wrike. That’s a 20% increase in workload that marketing can take on because of Wrike.
Do you use Wrike’s reporting capabilities?
Yes, we do. We're actually going through the process of integrating Wrike with our marketing business intelligence tool, Microsoft Power BI. Over the last month or two we've really been able to dive pretty deep into some of our front-end analytics to address bottlenecks and training opportunities. We’re looking at workload, which types of projects are normally delayed, which types of projects are behind, which owners of projects are typically delayed, and those types of things.
ROI is our end goal. We're being challenged as a company and a marketing department to be even more analytical with our decisions and justification of resources. We don't want to be just a department that's busy. We want to be a department that's doing meaningful work. And Wrike combined with all of our other business intelligence allows us to focus on the things that add the most value to our department and to our company.
We’ll eventually be able to identify what type of efforts generally contribute to what leads, and what amount of revenue these leads typically generate. Before long you'll be able to say, “If we do more of these projects, we can reasonably expect to have this much more revenue this year.” That's our end goal, and I would say we’re maybe a month or two away from it.
Is your company missing a single source of truth? Want to increase your team’s productivity by 1.5x? Curious to know which efforts drive the most ROI?
Wrike can help transform your business. Start a free trial and and see why the world’s most innovative companies like Frontline choose Wrike.
And to learn more about how Frontline Education uses Wrike, check out the full case study here.