Understanding Marketing Approval Workflow
By Jodie Byass
It's a simple fact, marketing has always been important for any business to drive sales, improve brand awareness and achieve success. Today, it's more important than ever in times where a competitive market expects more innovation, more creativity, and better engagement.
But here's the problem, it isn't getting any easier. Marketers have to deal with countless meetings, tighter deadlines, and increasing demands, all while they have to manage their workflow and monitor campaigns to deliver the results clients, or their business demand.
Because of this, it's increasingly important that teams have an effective marketing approval workflow to better manage their campaigns and streamline the workflow.
But what exactly is a marketing approval workflow and why do you need one? Here, we'll look at these questions in more detail and some of the benefits it offers.
What Is Approval Workflow Or Marketing Workflow?
In simple terms, a marketing approval workflow is a simple series of steps you follow to develop a marketing campaign or project. In other words, it's the road map that leads you from the moment you receive a brief until final approval of the campaign and it includes all the steps in between like gathering feedback, comparing old and new versions updated by design teams, and making sure all the right stakeholders sign off before the deadline.
So, when you design your marketing approval workflow you determine all the steps and identify all the dependencies, rules, and requirements that will take your project from its inception to its completion.
Why You Need Marketing Approval Workflows
Marketing teams face unique challenges from communication breakdowns to endless meetings, missed deadlines, demands from clients and other departments, project calendars, and much more. Add to that the fact that marketing is moving at a furious pace and that a good idea for a campaign today, might be out of date tomorrow and it gets even more complicated.
To solve this, it's necessary to have a process in place that can streamline marketing project management. Here, a marketing approval workflow can help and can contribute in the following ways:It keeps your team on the same page. Workflows help your team to know what they need to do when they need to do it, and what or who their work depends on. They're able to see the status of every project and every team member knows what is required of them. It also helps to make collaboration between team members easier when everyone is on the same page (or screen).
- It improves your ability to manage a project. With a marketing approval workflow, you're able to manage the process from a strategic level without going into the finer details. Also, because the workflow keeps your team on track, you're able to see what the team is working on and manage the process more efficiently.
- You'll produce higher quality work. With a workflow, you build consistency in the process and every project gets the attention it needs. By promoting consistency your team doesn't miss anything and you produce repeatable results which, in turn, promotes higher quality work.
- You'll be more effective and meet deadlines consistently. With a workflow in place, everyone on the team can see the status of the project and every deliverable. This enables you to avoid duplicating work amongst several people, you cut down on interruptions, and you streamline the approval process which makes your marketing approval workflow overall more efficient.
- You'll increase your profitability and campaign success. Because the process is more efficient, you'll be able to do more work in less time. So, your team will be able to take on more work and clients without their productivity suffering. In turn, this means you make more profit and because the process is consistent, you'll achieve more success.
What Does A Marketing Workflow Look Like?
Your marketing workflow will typically start with a brief. Once the brief is received, you'll start by listing all the tasks required for the project and arranging them in a logical order. Here, you include all the tasks for all the types of content that you'll use in the campaign from blog posts to email newsletters and website copy.
Next, you'll need to list who us responsible for each task and identify any new roles in the process. This will help identify which team members you need, define their responsibilities, and eliminate confusion. You'll for example consider all types of roles, like:
- Analysts who'll measure campaign performance and get insights from data.
- Designers who'll create visual elements, collateral, and logos.
- Marketing specialists who'll develop messaging and ensure brand consistency.
- Project managers who'll monitor the campaign components and keep everyone on track.
- SEO specialists who'll analyze and review web content to make sure it's optimized for search engines.
- Strategists who'll direct the strategy, conduct research, and analyze data.
- Writers who'll craft copy for websites, email, and social posts.
Once you've identified the people who'll do the work, you'll have to identify the time it will take for the tasks to be completed. These times are vital and if you need a realistic workflow, you'll need realistic timeframes. If you don't have them, you'll set unrealistic deadlines that people can't meet. A realistic timeline also helps you to schedule projects and gives you an idea of your team's availability to work on the project.
When you've completed this step, you need someone to make sure the workflow runs smoothly, so you could ask a manager to manage and monitor the workflow for you. For your workflow to be effective and organize your team, and to make sure the process runs efficiently every team member needs to understand the process and be on board with it. This makes sure that bottlenecks in the process are eliminated, and conflicts between schedules are a thing of the past, which, in turn, means that the project is completed on time the first time.
Example Of Approval Workflow
As an example of an approval workflow, we'll use a simple social media workflow example. Once you receive the brief, your social strategist can do some research to find internal blogs, videos, or other content to promote.
When this piece of content has been identified, your team will need to build a social sharing schedule around the content during which you share the content more than one time over a couple of weeks.
When the schedule is set, the social strategist or a writer can write the copy that will accompany the content that you?ll share. After the content is written, you'll have to decide what images you'll insert in the posts. Here, a designer may be necessary to develop the graphics.
Once everything is done, either you or the client will need to approve the content before the social campaign is launched. After launch, an analyst and your social media strategist will have to spend some time monitoring and engaging with the posts on social media. Because these analytics can help you improve the strategy, the analyst will have to do a report on the effectiveness of the campaign.
In just this simple workflow, you need a social media strategist, a designer, a writer, a marketing manager, and an analyst. Now, for larger campaigns, you can appreciate that they'll need much more skilled experts and that the process can become more involved to manage. This is where marketing approval workflow software comes in.
Understanding Approval Workflow Software
Marketing approval workflow software takes the tedious administration out of managing your approval workflow process. It offers you a central location or tool to save and track all your project briefs, documents and feedback, creating a clear and accurate audit trail along the way.
Also, it lets you use unique approval pathways and allow users to run daily and weekly revision reports as well as a built-in resource management feature that makes allocating tasks to your team easier. So, in simple terms, it centralizes all your marketing projects, documents, assets, designs, feedback, messaging, and processes in one hub. This frees up both your and your team's time and frees up time for the team to do what they do best, being more creative. This means your workflow is more streamlined, more efficient, and saves you time and money.
Benefits Of Adopting Workflow Software
Considering this, it's easy to see why marketing approval workflow software is so beneficial. Some of the most common benefits you'll get by using this software are:
- Streamlining your marketing approval process. It will allow you to dispense with old fashioned and clunky email approval processes and instead manage approvals effortlessly from one central hub. This makes it easy to submit briefs, approval requests, and feedback and reduces compliance risks as no deliverables can be finalized without approval.
- Planning and tracking your online approval workflow and work in progress in one central hub. When you're working on many projects with several teams, it's important to know where any particular project is at no matter who is working on it at the time. So, rather than having to track down different teams and departments to follow up on the progress of the project, you'll be able to log in and see where it is in an instant.
- Automating your marketing administration. The software doesn't just make it easier to manage your projects but also the administration that comes with them. You'll be able to create your own templates that are ready to use at the start of a new project, duplicate previous projects so you can work with similar designs and set automated reminders for feedback and approval, so you don't have to do all the chasing to make sure that things get done. This, ultimately, simplifies your entire marketing approval process.
- Providing transparency on your projects. Having all your projects in a central hub means you'll be able to see in an instant who has approved a deliverable and who hasn't, and you'll also be able to track at what point a project is at and whether it will make the deadline.
- Helping you track whether you are on time and on budget. Because you know where your project is, you also know whether it will be done on time. To make sure it's done on time you'll be able to set deadlines across all the different stages of the project and set automated reminders that the necessary stakeholders give feedback when they should. This means you're on time and on budget.
- Managing your marketing assets. One of the major benefits of approval workflow software is that it can help you manage all your digital or design assets both during the project and thereafter. You can store the final assets centrally as well as share them with stakeholders with a secure link.
In order to deliver the highest quality campaigns that stay relevant and give the best results your marketing approval workflow should be on point. This can be tough to manage but the perfect way to streamline your workflow is by using marketing approval workflow software. Its benefits are numerous and the value it adds to your marketing processes is profound.
So, if you'd like to learn more about the benefits of our marketing approval workflow software book a free discovery session today!