Managing Your Marketing Collateral from Start to Finish

"Can we get a complete suite of digital marketing collateral for the social media launch next week?"

"I need a one-pager for the investor meeting on Thursday!"

Any organization that actively engages with its customers and markets will have a continuous demand for new and updated marketing and communication collateral. This can include anything from one-sheets, used for conferences, to leave-behinds at client calls, and even newsletters or downloadable PDFs for your website. 

As the need for digital marketing collateral increases, there is still a real need for physical, printed collateral. This means that leading companies must create and follow a streamlined process for creating marketing collateral, so the various teams involved (e.g., content, communications, and design) can systematically work on new requests without losing track of other priorities already in the queue.

How can you successfully empower your organization to manage the process of marketing collateral development while still meeting revenue-generating goals and deadlines? The sections below show how to handle marketing collateral management from start to finish.

What is marketing collateral?

Before diving into managing marketing collateral from start to finish, it is wise to define the term.

Marketing collateral is any media material used to promote a company's products or services. Examples of marketing collateral include blog posts, eBooks, landing pages, infographics, brand stories and content, event magazines, corporate brochures, digital reports, product catalogs, proposals and presentations, newsletters, case studies, white papers, and web copy. Marketing collateral can be digital or printed and is easily shared.

When creating marketing collateral for your organization, you should follow defined brand principles that reflect your organization's tone, values, and culture. Marketing collateral should be easily recognizable and reflect a good standard of quality and value. 

The 4 primary keys to producing successful marketing collateral within a team 

The four steps below form a solid foundation that leads to success on any marketing project or creation of communication collateral.

  • Planning: where marketers and teammates align with their tasks.
  • Workflow: where marketers and teammates move quickly through streamlined processes.
  • Collaboration: where intentional and focused teamwork happens.
  • Visibility: where everyone can see into tasks, workloads, and priorities so that a bigger picture is easily attained.

1. Organize the marketing collateral planning phase

"Where did you send the ideas from yesterday's brainstorm session? Email?"

"Nope, I sent it via Slack. I tagged everyone. Didn't you see it?" We’ve all been there. 

If you intend to create an efficient marketing collateral production workflow that is well organized instead of reactive, you must first consolidate information on one platform.

Instead of dealing with requests from emails, hallway conversations, and informal chats, you should funnel all work requests into one system, and manage all work from there. This means being able to prioritize, assign, and plan tasks from a centralized virtual workplace. It also means being able to monitor the progress of any task assigned to any team member from that system.

When all work is consolidated onto one system, instead of in silos, it becomes easier to plan efforts and maintain transparency — even in ad hoc requests.

2. Streamline your marketing collateral development workflows

"I sent the selected ideas as a Word document to your email! Why are you calling me at 6 am?"

"No! The file wasn't attached in the email!"

The problem with ad hoc management of marketing collateral is that on-the-spot planning and work often lead to more work, rework, and putting out unexpected fires. These are the unavoidable effects of doing things without a process.

If you want to lead your team away from such a reactive and frantic culture, you must clearly define each member's roles and layout the foundational rules of each workflow, especially for repetitive tasks or projects.

3. Collaborate efficiently using the right tools

"Are you sure? I'm sure I attached it. Can you recheck your inbox?"

"I've been looking for the last 5 minutes. Just resend it, please."

In a reactive work environment, it's common to lose critical information and spend valuable time looking for lost information. This holds up marketing collateral development and can throw the team into confusion or a rush and waste even more time.

You can avoid such situations by housing work-related discussions on one central workspace and attaching all relevant files, mockups, images, and resources to the same place. This way, every member of the team stays up to date, is organized, and remains clear on priorities. Teamwork is synchronized and can be monitored in real-time.

4. Maintain visibility throughout the marketing collateral development process

"I thought the content team was working on alternative headlines for the collateral?"

"Um, no. We never got your request."

As a marketing leader, how do you tell who's working on what? How can you monitor the progress of your collateral from concept to production? Whether remote or in the office, you need to know where delays or bottlenecks occur.

One way to maintain visibility into your collateral status and your team members' workloads is to implement basic reports and dashboards in a work management tool made for marketers. These will give you actionable insight into progress and expose any bottlenecks in your workflow.

Wrapping up your marketing collateral management

With the four keys shared above, you can lead your team to become highly efficient at creating marketing collateral for recurring and ad hoc requests. And at the end of each project, review the process and outcome to make your next project better. 

It's your job to continuously improve your production process so that it can move more efficiently — from the proposal, through pre-prod, production, post-prod, and distribution. During every stage, bear the following overarching guidelines in mind.

1. The goal of each marketing collateral is its compass

Before you start worrying about how to create anything, you need to ask: "Do we need this? What will it solve?" If the answer makes sense and the requestor can give you a solid case for it, you can begin.

You should have the requestor complete a creative brief to frame the job requirements and specifications of the requested collateral. Make sure the completed creative brief includes:

  • Audience: Who are you targeting? Customize it to specific buyer personas. Make sure it addresses the pain points of the target audience.
  • Goal: What is the primary purpose of this collateral? Decide on one specific goal. Are you increasing awareness of your company? Announcing a new feature? Promoting an event? Don't make the mistake of combining all goals in one collateral.
  • Distribution: How will it be distributed? Will targets receive it via email? Will it be sent in a gift bag? Laying these details out early will inform the specs of the size and materials used for the collateral.

2. Draw out a simple marketing collateral development workflow

Below is a rough guide to an ideal production process for printed collateral:

  • Assign a task to your copywriting/content team to come up with a concept that brings it all together. Then have them produce content for the collateral.
  • Have stakeholders (requestor or managing editor) review and approve the concept and written copy.
  • Assign a task to your design team to create the collateral.
  • Have stakeholders (requestor or creative director) review and approve the design.
  • Send design to the printer for mockups.
  • Review and approve the mockups before final printing.

It's better to get approval during each transformative stage to minimize mistakes and rework. 

3. Enforce checks and approvals in multiple stages

Lastly, as shown in the workflow above, every step in the marketing collateral development process should ideally involve proofing and approval. This is a stable way to ensure the right message is communicated, and the concept created. 

Are you a marketing leader looking to improve and harmonize your marketing collateral production?

You don't need another work management platform. You need an intuitive marketing project management tool you and your team will love.

Wrike’s marketing project management software helps you consolidate teams, tasks, and projects in one space — from scoping and scheduling projects to building dynamic request forms, workflows, reusable templates, and digital asset management. Wrike also integrates with widely used marketing tools, apps, and software. 

Improve your marketing operation and sign up for a free two-week trial today.

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