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How to Improve Marketing & Sales Team Alignment
Collaboration 5 min read

How to Improve Marketing & Sales Team Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment should be the goal of your organization, meaning that collaboration between teams is crucial. Luckily, Wrike can help.

How to Find the Right Marketing Agency for Your Business
Marketing 7 min read

How to Find the Right Marketing Agency for Your Business

As an entrepreneur, you pour your heart and soul into your business and do everything you can to help it grow. Building your product, team, service models and customer base takes all your focus, and it can be difficult to know what to prioritize. But whether you’re a brand new startup or an established business, continuing to build your brand is always of vital importance.     At amoCRM, we rely on marketing efforts to cut through the fierce competition within the Bay Area. Finding the right marketing agency, however, turned out to be a challenge. We needed an agency that tended to each and every lead, like we do with our own customers. We’re sharing the lessons we learned on our quest to find the perfect marketing agency, to save you from conducting your own wild goose chase.  Starting Our Search Living in the Google era, we started our search for marketing agencies online, selecting 20 agencies with the best Google Ads. We knew we’d ultimately have to narrow our search to 5 agencies, but selecting 20 to start with gave us a nice pool of options. We began with Google Ads for a very pragmatic reason: agencies that allocate funds to quality Google Ads are more invested in pursuing every lead.  We reached out to each and every one of these 20 agencies, either by direct mail or via their web forms. We provided them with a short introduction to our company and shared our brand strategy and development plan. We had a very rough notion of our marketing timeframe, goals, and budget, but we were far from a concrete marketing strategy.  30% of the agencies we reached out to never replied, either because they didn’t consider us a valuable lead, or they simply hadn’t invested in CRM software to help them track potential leads, we’ll never know. But that helped us narrow down our search and come one step closer to our perfect partnership. We also disqualified one agency due to the fact that their web form was disabled, and their contact details were difficult to find.  Evaluating Marketing Agencies The remaining 70% of agencies that did answer our inquiry actually responded pretty quickly. Within a week, client directors and CEOs were reaching out to us, which really fluffed our feathers, so to speak. They all wanted to set up phone calls or face-to-face meetings. No generic proposals attached to a price list were thrown our way—we were genuinely impressed by their desire to get personal and find out all the details of our business goals before coming up with a plan. They all demonstrated the detailed attention to leads that we were searching for.   In our own business, the follow up is as important as the first contact. Unfortunately, we never heard back from four of our “impressive” agencies. We can’t be sure if they forgot about us, lost track of their leads, or simply deemed us unworthy of future efforts, but as the saying goes, every kick in the butt is a step forward.     The next step involved a lot of phone calls, talking to each and every agency that was still in the race and even meeting with some of their representatives. We wanted our vision to be perfectly reflected in the brand strategy and development, and after all our questions were asked and answered, we were able to move forward with 6 agencies. This number represents 30% of our initial “Google Ads” list.  Each of these agencies presented us with an exceptionally creative and well-executed marketing proposal, Three out of these 6 actually pursued our decision within a week. This is the level of dedication and attention that we were looking for. Two agencies followed up more than twice to learn our decision, and soon after, we found our perfect match with one of these agencies.  4  Tips for Finding the Right Marketing Agency for Your Business  1. What’s their track record? Past results say a lot about a business, so the more you can find out about what the marketing agency accomplished for others, the more you can envision what they can do for you. A marketing agency that’s proud of its work and results should make case studies, analytics, or other metrics available to potential clients.  2. Communicate your budget from the start Marketing is a creative industry, and developing a marketing plan without a clear budget in sight can be the downfall of any partnership. Don’t be ashamed of your budget, not matter how small it is. You never know where lighting might strike! You could always be referred to another agency that turns out to be your diamond in the rough.   3. Get ready to talk …and talk and talk and talk! Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to enabling a marketing agency to design a proposal customized to your needs and goals. Look for an agency that’s just as curious about you as you are about them.  4. What’s their commitment?  A marketing partnership is not a short-term relationship. Therefore, you don’t just want to partner with an agency that you like and does great work, but also an agency you can rely on to take your calls, answer your questions, and address your concerns about your marketing strategy plan. You can evaluate their level of commitment by paying close attention to the effort the agency puts in during the sales process. Are they quick to respond to inquiries? Do they follow up with you?    Finding the right marketing agency can be a lengthy process, but remember: settling for less is not an option. Your brand is the key to your business’ success and what distinguishes you from competitors, which is why you need a marketing agency that understands where you’re coming from. Finding the right agency might just be the most important business decision you make. Author Bio Jen Anders is a marketing manager at amoCRM, a web-based CRM tool for small businesses. 

Marketing Calendar Software to Streamline Your Campaigns
Project Management 5 min read

Marketing Calendar Software to Streamline Your Campaigns

It’s time to leave marketing spreadsheets in the past. Choose the best marketing calendar for your organization and increase productivity and collaboration.

10 Elements of a Successful Content Marketing Engine (Infographic)
Marketing 3 min read

10 Elements of a Successful Content Marketing "Engine" (Infographic)

Content marketing is critical component of many companies' marketing strategies. For those who are trying to build up what I call a "content engine" or for those who are looking to do a tune-up on their marketing vocabulary, this infographic provides ten areas that need to be addressed. Use the infographic below to understand the areas and to assess your company's situation with regards to content marketing. Which areas need the most attention? You can share this infographic with your team! Share this post, or copy the embed code below to put it on your site: Infographic brought to you by Wrike Which areas are the hardest to fix? Let us know in the comments!

25 Top Collaboration Tools to Power Your Marketing Team
Marketing 10 min read

25 Top Collaboration Tools to Power Your Marketing Team

Marketing teams are constantly evaluating and adapting—which can make managing campaigns and working together hectic and haphazard. Tight deadlines, tighter budgets, and higher expectations means marketers are always on the hunt for new technologies to help them streamline and scale their efforts. The problem is, there are literally thousands of creative collaboration tools designed to help marketing teams perform better. Scott Brinker’s infamous Marketing Technology Landscape now includes over 5,000 tools, up nearly 40% from last year. So, we’ve compiled a list of 25 top marketing collaboration tools, based on reviews from real users. From ideation to execution, these marketing collaboration tools will help your team work better together. Brainstorming Apps Stormboard A real-time virtual whiteboard where your team can generate new ideas, organize, and prioritize them in one tool. Top feature: Every idea has its own comment thread, where you can riff off and refine ideas as a team. Pricing: Free for up to 5 users. $5/month for Startup and Business plans are also available at $8.33/month. Coggle This collaborative mind mapping app makes it easy for your team to visualize and organize ideas quickly and easily. Top feature: Every change you make to your mind map is automatically saved, so you can go back and make a copy from any point, or revert to a previous version. Pricing: Free for up to 3 diagrams. $5/month for unlimited diagrams and image uploads, $8/user/month for individual workspaces, data management, and branded diagrams. Notism Share, edit, review, and approve both images and video with this online app. Your team can see each others cursors, making it easy to collaborate and ideate with fellow marketers and designers. Top feature: Sketch directly on the work to spin off a new idea, and to make feedback more precise. Notism also features version control, so you can easily compare ideas and decide which to pursue. Pricing: $7.65/month for 5 projects and collaborators and 2 GB of space; $20.40/month for 15 projects and collaborators and 10 GB of space, and $41.65/month for 40 projects and collaborators and 40 GB of space. Brainsparker When your team needs a little help to inspire some imaginative thinking, try Brainsparker. The app contains 200 creativity prompts. Just shake your device to shuffle the deck and see a new thought-provoking word or phrase. Top Feature: Find creativity journals, templates, and training programs in the Brainsparker Gym and Academy for even more inspiration. Pricing: Free app for Android and iOS LucidChart Store and organize ideas with this easy-to-use mind mapping software. Great for matching your content efforts to your marketing funnel, visualizing your SEO strategy, creating video storyboards, or tracking all your email campaign tracks in a single view. Top feature: Dozens of pre-built flowchart templates make it easy for your team to get up and running quickly. Pricing: Starting at $4.95/month for single users and $20/month for teams. Campaign Management Solutions Wrike Wrike’s work management software helps you coordinate work across teams, collaborate on creative assets, and get better visibility into progress and performance. Top feature: Automated, custom Requests bring order to the chaotic work intake process, and ensure your team gets all the details they need up front to get the job done right. Pricing: Wrike for Marketers starts at $34.60/user/month, or start a free trial. ActiveCampaign This digital marketing automation tool lets you build campaign workflows to send targeted campaigns, nurture contacts, and streamline sales and marketing processes. Top feature: The software notifies you of any potential mistakes that could negatively affect your workflow, like forgetting to specify a time delay between two steps. Pricing: $17/month for up to 3 users and basic features, $49/month for up to 25 users and additional features, $99/month for up to 50 users and advanced features, $149/month for unlimited users and all features. Net-Results From lead generation and nurturing to email marketing and social media management, Net-Results makes it easy for your team to create, manage, and collaborate on campaigns, as well as measure results with shareable dashboards and reports. Top feature: Drag-and-drop builders let you quickly create responsive emails, forms, and landing pages. Pricing: Starting at $800/month for 10,000 contacts. Flow A simple teamwork app that lets your team prioritize to-dos, delegate tasks, clarify priorities, and collaborate with both teammates and freelancers. Top feature: The app’s simplicity makes onboarding your team quick and easy. Pricing: Starting at $17/month for a single user, with unlimited tasks, projects, teams, and file storage. Flow Pro pricing available upon request. Communication & Chat Apps *Everyone knows about Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts, so we'll skip those tools here and feature a few other chat tools worth checking out.  Microsoft Teams A Wrike project added as a tab in Microsoft Teams.When you need to outline a campaign strategy or discuss a new proposal, Microsoft Teams channels help your team not only talk about work, but get work done. Write quick chats, a full wiki of documents, or longer messages, complete with a subject and importance indicator. When it’s time to hold a meeting, create a new chat room to jump on a video call, share your screen, and take down minutes. Top feature: Integrations with Wrike let you create and manage projects within Teams. View tasks, update details and due dates, and view your project schedule. Pricing: Included with Office 365 plans, starting at $5/user/month. Flock Flock lets you chat with your team, connect Google Drive to share files, and host video meetings. Load your shared to-do list in the sidebar, add tasks, and assign teammates for a quick way to reference what needs to be done, who’s responsible, and how it all connects. Top feature: In-chat polling lets you quickly take your team's temperature, or hold a vote on what to do. Pricing: Free for unlimited users at 10k message history. $3/user/month for unlimited messages, history, and integrations. Discord Designed for gamers, Discord offers voice channels: always-on phone calls that let you talk to anyone in your team at the push of a button. Keep your mic muted, then tap a key to start talking and join the discussion. Discord works on both your desktop and mobile device, so you can keep the conversation going from anywhere. Top feature: Quickly add a colleague from another team to your conversation with an Instant Invite link. Pricing: Free, or $4.99/month if you want custom emoji, GIF avatars, and larger file uploads. ChatWork If you frequently work with outside agencies or freelancers, it can be tough to manage all that communication via email. ChatWork makes chatting with people outside your company easy. Create a profile and you can message anyone else with a ChatWork ID, and access all your conversations from the sidebar. Top feature: See mentions across all your teams in one place, including a comprehensive to-do list. Pricing: Free for single users and up to 14 group chats, $4/user/month for unlimited group chats, $5/user/month for user and file management. Ryver Use Posts to organize ideas and conversations. Select messages, add a subject, and include a message with details, instructions, action items, or follow-up. Ryver saves all your Posts to a tab for easy reference. Top feature: Click the Set Reminder button on each chat and longform post to have Ryver send you a notification reminder. Pricing: Free. Unlimited users, teams, guests, search, storage, and integrations. Coming soon: Ryver Task Manager, pricing TBA. Digital Asset Management Systems Canto Flight Tag, search, collaborate and report on all your company’s digital assets. Make it easy for your team to follow established brand guidelines with a clear approval processes, copyrighting, and watermarks features. Top feature: Smart albums automatically assign images, videos, audio files, and presentations by type. Pricing: Contact Canto for plans and pricing details.   MediaValet A central library that helps your marketing and creative teams easily manage, collaborate on and distribute marketing visuals and content, improving productivity and increasing ROI on marketing investments. With unlimited users, support and training, teams worldwide can access the content they need, whenever and wherever they need it.     Top feature: Audio/Video indexing using Microsoft’s best-in-class AI to leverage searchable transcripts, text and object recognition and sentiment analysis for a game-changing search experience for DAM users.     Pricing: Contact MediaValet to request pricing details.   Bynder A central hub for all your creative assets that offers real-time collaborative edits and approvals, auto-formatting for channels and file types, and clear version control. Auto-tagging powered by artificial intelligence identifies thousands of objects within images and automatically generates the appropriate tags. Top feature: Create a shareable, interactive style guide with Bynder’s brand identity guidelines to ensure a consistent customer experience across all channels and communications. Pricing: Contact Bynder to request pricing details.     IntelligenceBank Sick of searching messy shared drives? Categorize all your creative assets by file type, keyword, or metadata. Set permissions to specify which content individuals can access. Top feature: Custom brand guideline pages displayed within the app make it easy to keep guidelines up-to-date, and ensure your team knows exactly which assets to use. Pricing: $9/user/month for 10+ users, or $19/user/month for 10+ users and advanced features like workflow and approvals. AssetBank Upload, preview, and search for assets easily with AssetBank. You can create and share lightboxes both internally and externally, create user groups, and define what users can view, upload, and download. Top feature: Edit assets before you download, including cropping, resizing, reformatting, and masking. Pricing: $430/month for 50+ users and basic features, $700/month for 100-500 users and advanced features, or $1,120/month for unlimited users and all features. Widen A truly collaborative DAM that lets you view an activity feed of user uploads, downloads, shares and comments, plus comment threads, custom statuses, favorites, and ratings. Top feature: The Asset Engagement tool lets you see each asset’s popularity score, and quickly compare with your other creative assets to see what’s working best. Pricing: Start a free trial, or request a demo for detailed pricing information. Marketing Analytics Dashboards SEMrush What keywords are your competitors targeting? What are their ad strategies and budgets? SEMrush can help your team keep an eye on rivals and adjust strategies accordingly, so you come out on top in search engine rankings. Top feature: The keyword difficulty tool helps you pinpoint easy targets for your SEO strategy, or determine whether it’s worth investing time and resources overtaking the #1 spot from a competitor. Pricing: $99.95/month for 5 projects and 500 keywords, $199.95/month for 50 projects and 1,500 keywords, $399.95/month for 200 projects and 5,000 keywords. Cyfe Set up a series of dashboards for social media, web analytics, SEO, and more. View historical data alongside real-time reports, and add custom data sources as widgets. Top feature: Pre-built widgets make it easy to connect Google Analytics, AdWords, Salesforce, and dozens of other data sources. Pricing: Free version available; Premium starts at $14/month. Domo Bring real-time marketing data from your CRM, web analytics, PPC, social media, marketing automation, and financials into a single place. Give your team instant insights into metrics like ROI by channel, revenue and lead attribution, cost per acquisition, customer LTV and more, so everyone has the information they need to make smart decisions. Top feature: Get alerts via email or text message when key metrics need your attention. Pricing: Start a free trial, and contact Domo sales for pricing information on the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions. Moz Pro Get a complete picture of your SEO performance, including keyword rankings and research, competitor rank tracking, mobile rankings, backlinks, page optimization, reporting, and workflows. Top feature: Get actionable insights into website errors, competitive research, and SEO opportunities with the site audit tool, or use the Learn & Connect tab to access advice from industry experts and find SEO resources. Pricing: Starting at $79/month for 2 users and 5 campaigns; $119/month for 10 users and 10 campaigns; $199/month for 25 users and 25 campaigns, and $479/month for unlimited users and 100 campaigns. Kissmetrics Kissmetrics uses audience behavior analysis to help you find ideal customers—and keep your current ones. A blend of analytics and automation, Kissmetrics helps you understand customer behavior and trigger automatic actions to nurture relationships. See where you’re losing prospects, improve retention, and view trends in customer behavior. Top feature: Pre-built behavior reports provide meaningful customer insights, right out of the box. Pricing: Starting at $500/month. Bonus Drumup Drumup is a social media management and content curation tool that helps marketing teams discover trending content and drive customer engagement. Its social employee engagement and advocacy platform lets you broadcast marketing content to your fellow employees, making it easy for them to share to their social networks. Top feature: A built-in gamification module lets you run monthly contests and display leaderboards to keep colleagues sharing your content. Pricing: Start a free trial, or contact the DrumUp team for detailed pricing information. Choose the Right Marketing Collaboration Tools for Your Team Looking for a new marketing collaboration tool? Get advice for selecting software that will help your team work faster, communicate better, and accomplish more with our downloadable evaluation checklist. Sources: SEMrush.com, searchenginejournal.com, oliveandcompany.com, capterra.com, zapier.com

The “We” in “Teamwork: How Marketers Can Drive Cross-Team Collaboration
Collaboration 10 min read

The “We” in “Teamwork": How Marketers Can Drive Cross-Team Collaboration

Because marketing teams are highly collaborative by nature, they’re in a unique position to take the wheel and drive cross-departmental collaboration. Here are a few ways to successfully lead the charge.

Managing Your Marketing Collateral from Start to Finish
Marketing 7 min read

Managing Your Marketing Collateral from Start to Finish

Effective marketing collateral helps communicate crucial details about brand goals and identity. Learn more about communication collateral and marketing collateral development.

5 Essentials of the Best Marketing Project Management Tools
Marketing 3 min read

5 Essentials of the Best Marketing Project Management Tools

The right marketing project management tool means better communication, easy collaboration, and an organized team. But there are thousands of tools designed to help marketing departments with their hectic workloads, and each looks promising on paper. So how do you choose?   Look for these 5 essential capabilities to quickly narrow the field and find the perfect tool for your team: 1. Easy Document CollaborationNo campaign is a one-person show. Between brainstorming, group writing and editing sessions, and several rounds of revisions, you need multiple team members to access and contribute to documents simultaneously with marketing collaboration software. 2. Convenient File Management & StorageMultiple copy revisions, design mockups, budget spreadsheets... marketers have a lot of documents to manage. Project management tools let you virtually paperclip related files together with the task they support, so you don’t need to search, resend emails, or verify that everything's up-to-date.  3. Free Mobile AppsCreativity doesn’t clock out at 6 PM. You need to be able to access your work whenever and wherever you want. Free mobile apps let you access your workspace from wherever you happen to be: at a client meeting, on the train, or over your leisurely Saturday morning coffee. 4. Visualizes Projects & PlansPlanning projects on calendars and whiteboards isn't ideal. A single change can lead to a domino effect of tasks that each need to be rescheduled, or may be completely forgotten until it's too late. Find a tool that lets you view multiple campaigns and projects at once, see how everything connects, and quickly make adjustments. 5. Real-Time UpdatesMeetings, presentations, reports, follow-ups — you barely have time to eat lunch let alone chase down teammates for status updates or to discuss changes to a task. You need instant access and visibility into exactly where your campaigns stand right now, so you can make sure your team is always focused on high-priority tasks. Marketing Collaboration Tools Buyers Guide For more help finding the perfect marketing project management tool for your team, download our free eBook:Collaboration Software for Marketing Teams: A Buyer’s Guide Free Checklist Download our checklist for evaluating project management software and find the perfect solution for your marketing team: Marketing Software Buyers Guide.xlsx

How Wrike's Content Marketing Team Manages Projects in Wrike
Marketing 7 min read

How Wrike's Content Marketing Team Manages Projects in Wrike

Here at Wrike we eat our own dog food—or drink our own champagne, as we like to say—so we were able to quickly adapt our workflow to meet our evolving needs and increase our momentum. Let’s dig into how we manage content projects in Wrike!

7 Questions to Help You Choose the Right Marketing Software
Marketing 5 min read

7 Questions to Help You Choose the Right Marketing Software

ebManaging a marketing team is not for the faint of heart. You start feeling like you need an extra arm, eyes in the back of your head, and the ability to read minds and forego all sleep just to keep up. While it won’t help you grow an extra limb or stay up all night, using a good project management tool means you won’t have to. You’ll get better communication, easy collaboration, and an organized approach to managing your marketing team. But with so many marketing tools to choose from, deciding between your options can be tricky. Ask yourself these 7 questions to find the best marketing management app for your team. 1. “Will my team actually use it?” You’ll only reap the benefits if your team actually adopts the software. They need to see that it will improve their daily work in a real way — making it easier to see what teammates are working on/responsible for, giving them a central place to communicate, complementing their personal work styles, and so on. Make sure whatever software you choose is easy to adopt and fits in with your team's current habits, standard processes, and other favorite tools. 2. “Can multiple departments use it?” No team works in total isolation. Easy handoffs, clear communication, prioritizing tasks, and coordinating projects with other departments requires a tool that's flexible enough that everyone from marketing and design to accounting and IT can easily use it for their daily work. Look for a customizable tool that allows teams to create their own workflows and folder structure. When everyone's using the same tool, communication and collaboration across teams is much easier and more efficient. 3. “Does it support transparency & clear communication?” Being recognized for your efforts isn’t a trivial matter. When people feel their work is going unnoticed and unappreciated, they aren’t as engaged and don’t put forth as much effort to go above and beyond. Positive feedback helps build good habits, strong teams, and thriving companies. As a manager, when you always know exactly who’s responsible for which tasks, where work stands, and what the results are, you can share successes with execs, keep projects aligned with new business goals, and get credit for your team's accomplishments. Look for a collaboration tool that notifies you of project updates, and allows you to create "favorites" or easily track your high-priority projects. 4. “Is organization flexible?” You can't be efficient if you can never find what you're looking for — and neither can the rest of your team. Find a tool with an organizational structure that makes sense for your group, or better yet, one that lets you tailor your folder structure however you prefer. Also make sure you can change the view to show the precise information you want to see, so you can quickly make sure important projects are progressing as planned or easily alter your schedule. 5. “Can you generate custom reports?” Keeping spreadsheets updated, accurate, and organized takes a lot of work. Complicated formulas, data accidentally entered into the wrong cell, tracking who made which changes and when, and trying to find and fix errors is time consuming and frustrating. And yet you need to account for how you’re allocating resources, demonstrate your team's efficiency, and pinpoint any areas where numbers aren’t meeting expectations to discover the root cause and most effective fix. Make sure your project management tool creates reports in real time so you always have the most up-to-date information, and that reports are easy to share or export. 6. “Does it easily (and securely) allow for external communication/users?” Working with contractors, clients, freelancers, or volunteers has become a routine part of daily work for most teams, and yet so many are still resorting to email when it comes to communication. Attachments are too big, easily lost in old email threads, or get caught in spam filters. Keeping track of every piece of feedback or updated attachment in conversations 15 messages deep creates even more work, and it's all too easy to miss an important comment or request. Many project management tools allow you to temporarily invite external users who only have access to certain tasks or projects, making it easy to discuss progress, get timely feedback, and make updates quickly and accurately. 7. “Does it integrate with other tools we use?” While you want to be selective about the number of apps you use, no one tool will meet every one of your needs. And you shouldn't have to give up the tools you love and rely on just because your team needs a better way to work together. When your task management tool integrates with your other favorite apps, it's easier for your whole team to fit it into your established workflow so it doesn't slow anyone down. Get the Complete Buyer's Guide to Online Marketing Tools Download our free eBook for more advice on selecting the right collaboration and task management tool for your marketing team, plus a printable checklist to help you quickly evaluate your options.

5 Rules for Scaling Your Marketing Operations Successfully
Marketing 7 min read

5 Rules for Scaling Your Marketing Operations Successfully

Marketing organizations are under tremendous pressure to perform. Budgets aren’t growing, but expectations are. How do you do more with less, without compromising on quality?  For marketing leaders at growing companies who are ready to expand their programs, scaling marketing operations is a top priority. But doing so comes with major challenges: coordinating different teams while managing priorities, resources, and metrics in a way that doesn’t slow you down is no easy task. But bigger doesn’t have to mean slower or less effective. By scaling your marketing operations, your growing marketing organization can stay lean and agile while continuing to deliver campaigns that impress customers and fuel business growth.  Wondering what is professional services marketing and how to excel at it? Follow these five rules to scale your marketing operations successfully.  Rule 1: Ensure Your Strategy & Processes are Scalable Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Scaling your marketing efforts can create needless complexity, hinder collaboration, and slow your team down. Smart planning is needed to avoid these growing pains and keep your marketing organization running smoothly.  So scale back before you scale up. Examine your current processes to see where you can streamline, determine which marketing efforts are generating a positive ROI, and cut back on what’s not working as well.  To help determine whether you're in a good position to scale, ask yourself these questions:  Do you know what distinguishes your brand from competitors in key vertical markets, or areas you've targeted for market expansion?  Can you clearly articulate that difference?  Being able to scale successfully means knowing what attracts and retains the customers you've already acquired, and leveraging that knowledge for growth that's sustainable. Rule 2: Make Sure Your Team is Ready Think about your team and its current workload and responsibilities. Are they equipped to handle a ramp up in projects without neglecting current customers, products, and services?  If your marketing coordinators are also supporting other departments, such as PR and customer service, analyzing performance data, and implementing new marketing tools, they’re doing too much. Go back to step one to streamline efforts and processes so your team has the bandwidth to scale. Or consider adding staff to balance your team's workload and responsibilities.  Next, ask yourself: does your team have the expertise needed to launch successful campaigns in the new regions or industries you're targeting? If not, should you hire new staff now, or contract out until you have a better idea of the kind of expertise your team needs? Evaluate your current team to identify each member's strengths and expertise, find out where your talent gaps lie, and hire for those roles.  Rule 3: Fail to Delegate, Fail to Scale According to a report done by CMO Council and Deloitte, 45% of CMOs say they spend most of their time reviewing and approving marketing plans, budgets and campaigns. 42% say most of their day is spent in meetings. 66% wish they could spend more time on business strategy with fellow company leaders, and 55% want more time to implement innovative new marketing approaches.  Making good decisions takes time — something few marketing leaders have enough of. So save your attention for the most important cases, and delegate whenever you can. Set your team up to be able to make good decisions on your current marketing initiatives, so you can focus on executing new strategies.  Because many marketing tasks are recurring, like setting up campaigns, planning and publishing content, or promoting events, so are many of the decisions your team has to make around these initiatives. For instance, which segments or channels should a new campaign target? Which metrics will you use to track success? Create templates for recurring tasks and projects, so processes are standardized and easy to follow. Set up reporting dashboards that make it easy to measure and share results. This visibility lets you quickly check in on campaigns without spending all your time in meetings, and it allows your team to stay aligned on priorities and know exactly what their colleagues are responsible for, and what goals they're driving towards.  Email and spreadsheets are about the least scalable solution there is, so find a work management tool that can grow with your team. This guide will help you evaluate your options and find the right fit for your needs.  Rule 4: Embrace Automation It’s the central puzzle of marketing: sending the right message to the right person at just the right time.  But as you ramp up your marketing machine, launching simultaneous, complex campaigns, it becomes more and more difficult to do so. In order to keep up with the complexity and volume of customer and campaign data, you need the right technologies to track, analyze, and optimize your marketing efforts.  So how do you scale without losing the personalization that's resonated with your customers and fueled your current successes?  Leveraging marketing automation tools allows you to send highly targeted messages to leads and shorten the marketing cycle. Automated lead nurturing helps you build relationships with customers through helpful emails, follow-ups, social media engagement, etc., to determine when they’re truly sales-ready. And by automating your creative workflows, you streamline repetitive tasks, cut down on errors, and execute faster.   Rule 5: What Can’t Be Measured Can’t Be Improved  A recent study by HubSpot found that only 23% of companies are exceeding their revenue goals — and of those not exceeding their goals, 74% don’t know the number of monthly visits, leads, MQLs, or sales opportunities they need.  How can you grow your customer base and revenue streams when you don’t now how leads are coming into or moving through your marketing funnel?  When you’re tracking the right things, growth becomes a much simpler task. Focus on metrics that make you a customer-centric organization, so you get actionable data and timely user feedback that pushes your company forward. Find out which marketing initiatives are creating value in order to improve results, boost ROI, and deliver mature leads to your sales team. Being able to properly attribute revenue across each of your marketing activities is key to knowing where to place your resources to fuel growth.  Basic metrics like lead volume and website traffic are important, but failing to dive deeper means you’re missing out on key insights into your marketing performance, and valuable opportunities for improvement. MQL to SQL ratio, unengaged subscribers, and other advanced marketing metrics will give you deeper insight into what's driving your success and where you should focus your attention. And don’t just measure campaign results; measure the effort that goes into them as well. Evaluate campaign performance based on two factors: did your efforts produce the desired outcomes? And did the outcome justify the resources required? Maximize Growth and Stay Lean  With the right foundation of marketing operations, you can grow your marketing organization into a responsive team that’s able to capitalize on customer needs and market trends.  Teams that embrace the Agile marketing framework stay lean while improving productivity and efficiency. In fact, 87% of CMOs have found their teams to be more productive after transitioning to Agile marketing. Get in-depth strategies for making your growing marketing team more Agile in this free guide, 7 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team.  Sources: Oktopost.com, Blog.marketo.com, Inc.com, Blog.Hubspot.com

The Effect of Agile on Marketing Teams (Infographic)
Marketing 3 min read

The Effect of Agile on Marketing Teams (Infographic)

We recently surveyed over 800 marketers regarding work management, cross-department collaboration struggles, technology integration satisfaction, and how Agile methodologies are helping them improve flexibility and collaboration across their teams.

How to Manage Ad Hoc Requests Before They Derail Your Marketing Team
Marketing 7 min read

How to Manage Ad Hoc Requests Before They Derail Your Marketing Team

Your team is heads down and focused, working hard to get the job done before a campaign launch. They’re making good progress, and with a little luck, you might actually hit your deadlines. Then suddenly, it strikes... the ad hoc request. The cubicle drive-by, the quick email or chat message, the “Hey, I was going to ask you...” while grabbing a fresh cup of coffee in the kitchen. These requests pop up out of the blue, and while they’re typically quick-turnaround tasks, they can hit your team hard.  According to our Work Management Report, which surveyed 1,400 knowledge workers, the top productivity roadblock for 60% of respondents was “working on too many things at the same time,” followed by “unclear priorities” (31%) and “too many requests from others” (28%). Today’s marketers spend just 36% of their time on the work they were hired to do.  It’s no surprise that ad hoc requests are among the top workplace productivity killers. And yet, ad hoc requests are not only unavoidable, they’re necessary for keeping customers happy. Your marketing team must be responsive to changing client and customer needs, and doing so requires flexibility.  One of the biggest challenges for marketing managers is establishing a process that accommodates ad hoc requests in a way that minimizes disruption and distraction for your team. Use these strategies to incorporate unexpected tasks into your workflow and keep all those incoming requests manageable.  Plan For Ad Hoc Requests You know ad hoc requests are coming, so leave some wiggle room when you plan your team’s workload and sprints.  Enterprise Agile blogger Vin D'Amico suggests prioritizing items as A or B: A items are tasks the team commits to getting done in that sprint, and B items will be done if time allows, but can be subbed out for ad hoc requests if necessary. This ensures your team makes real progress on primary goals, while allowing for some flexibility.  Visualizing your team’s workload is another easy way to see who has the bandwidth to pick up an urgent request when one inevitably comes in, or shuffle tasks as necessary to keep one person from being overloaded with work.  [caption id="attachment_417149" align="aligncenter" width="820"] Wrike's Workload View[/caption] Embrace Agile to Be More Responsive Implementing an Agile methodology allows your marketing team to be more responsive, and makes your workflow much more flexible when it comes to incoming requests. 18% of marketers say adopting Agile has improved their quality of work, and 16% say their team is now better aligned on priorities.  It’s important to note: Agile is not the same as improvisation, and adopting Agile doesn’t mean abandoning structure and planning. Two key components of Agile are ruthless prioritization and constant team communication.  This means your team is better able to identify which ad hoc requests are priorities worth incorporating into your sprint, slot them into the current workload, and collaborate with each other to keep a deluge of incoming requests from bogging down a single team member or creating bottlenecks for the whole team.  Learn more about implementing Agile on your marketing team in this free download: 7 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team Be Your Team’s Buffer As a marketing leader, you know that even the best laid plans can be derailed by a single curve ball. It’s your job to field those curve balls and act as a buffer so your team can stay focused.  Chances are, your marketing team is currently getting bombarded by requests in their inboxes, Slack, meetings, shared Google docs, and hallway conversations. Not only is it impossible to get an accurate picture of the amount of work you actually have coming in, it makes it very difficult to prioritize tasks and ensure your team has the resources they need.  All ad hoc requests must come through you, so you can collect all the necessary information and weed out unimportant tasks before they distract your team.  Appoint a Gunslinger Kirsten Minshall, founder of London-based web applications studio UVD, suggests defining a special role on your team— someone who can quickly “shoot from the hip” and clear out incoming requests.  Working closely with you as the buffer, the gunslinger fields ad hoc requests that are vetted and accepted as priorities. If none come in, they can always pick up tasks from your defined backlog to stay productive. But this enables the rest of your team to focus on executing and achieving your goals, while still accommodating urgent tasks.  You can always rotate the gunslinger role amongst your team members to keep any one person from feeling isolated or burnt out by a steady stream of incoming requests.  Formalize the Request Process You can’t manage what you can’t see. If you’ve ever sat down for a one-on-one with a team member only to hear they’re working on tasks you know nothing about, it’s time to institute a formal request process.  That means no more unofficial, drive-by requests: everything must come to your team via a formal request. No matter how small the task, or how big the title of the person who's asking for it.  Establishing a central location where you can direct all incoming requests, prioritize them, and find all the info you need to get the job done right is essential for you and your team to get a handle on the madness.    Instead of scattered through emails, sticky notes, or spreadsheets, use a Scrum board to quickly prioritize, assign, and track requests. You’ll know who’s responsible for each request and its status, and any duplicate requests can be easily identified and cleared from the queue. Learn how to set up your Scrum dashboard in Wrike to get started.  [caption id="attachment_414564" align="aligncenter" width="820"] Scrum Dashboard in Wrike[/caption] "Wrike actually changed and improved how we function as a team. I look at the new requests that have come in, evaluate who has time this week, and move these into the Design inbox, so the team knows the priorities." - Katelyn Good, Manager of Marketing Strategy & Implementation at Lightspeed POS Track Everything You Work On Since so many ad hoc tasks are invisible, “off the books” requests, it’s impossible to quantify how much work your team is actually doing — or determine how you should improve processes to help your team perform their best.  Many marketing leaders are turning to cloud-based project management solutions to help teams communicate and share information. But while there are thousands of tools to help marketers organize and collaborate on campaigns, there are only a few solutions like Wrike that are designed to help teams manage planned projects along with unexpected requests.  By tracking everything in a work management tool, you'll be able to: Get an accurate picture of your team’s current capacity, and see exactly how each person spends their time Allocate resources more efficiently, or make a convincing case for additional resources/staff Clear out urgent but unimportant requests and keep your team focused on high-priority business goals  Make work visible to executives and stakeholders so they can easily track the progress of their requests Say "no" (or "not today") to low-priority tasks—and easily justify why Keep Your Marketing Team Proactive, Not Reactive Defining a process for ad hoc requests enables your team to focus on the key strategic initiatives that move your business forward, while maintaining the flexibility to respond to client and customer needs.  The more you can make plans that reflect what's really happening with your team—by making invisible work visible, formalizing new requests, and blocking out time for ad hoc tasks—the more flexibility you'll have to not only make adjustments and course corrections along the way, but capitalize on significant opportunities. 

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The chaos is real: your marketing team is working on complex, long-term plans while new requests keep streaming in. Meanwhile, a global conversation is happening online involving your brand and your industry — yet another thing to track. In addition, your team must be constantly learning new strategies and integrating new tools into what is marketing management for your organization. On top of everything, you need to interface with a variety of internal groups and outside vendors to make it all work. So how do you tame this mess? Watch the video below to discover how to best control the chaos using repeatable workflows: As you just saw, marketing workflows can help your team by making internal processes predictable and easy. What are Workflows? Workflows are repeatable steps that your team members follow each time they start a routine project. It's a formula, a tried and tested recipe. Here are some examples of things that could be turned into standard workflows: Creating a new infographic Launching an email campaign Developing a new web page or section of your website Running a paid marketing campaign Planning and developing a new feature Setting up a customer event See our Marketing Workflows Infographic for a list of workflows and common steps for each. So How Do Workflows Help You? Workflows allow you to: List the standard steps, timing, and approvals needed for each deliverable Know who's responsible for each step Stay up-to-date on the status of the project It's the same process every time. And because of this, you know the handoffs, approvals and timing of each step. This allows your team to focus less on the process and more on being strategic and creative. Setting Up Workflows in 6 Steps To set up workflows for your team, follow these steps: List the major processes that your team completes regularly Document the steps, responsibilities, and approvals Set up those steps in a tool like Wrike (using custom workflows) Manage each process in your project management tool Get status updates within the tool and via notifications Eliminate the extra status request emails and meetings, and focus on getting work done within your project management tool Does Your Marketing Team Have Workflows in Place? Does your team have standard workflows in place? If so, how has it saved you time? If not, which process would you turn into a standard workflow first? Read next:5 Essential Marketing WorkflowsAccelerate Your Business With Custom WorkflowsWrike for Marketing Teams

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