Yeah, I know – it might sound like a boring topic, marketing processes, but you can’t even imagine how much time we’re all wasting due to inefficient workflows.
Let’s speak real data:
- 42% of content marketers point to staying organized as a top challenge says the Content Planning Challenges, Trends & Opportunities report
- The majority of polled professionals said lack of alignment and collaboration between sales and marketing leads to weaker financial performance (60%), more inferior customer experience (59%), and reduced customer retention (58%) by The Payoffs of Improved Sales & Marketing Alignment
- The “You Waste a Lot of Time at Work Infographic” says that 47% of employees complain that meeting volume is the number one time-waster at the office
And that’s not it, because that brings on additional consequences. If you fail to establish the best strategic marketing processes in your team, here’s what’s going to happen:
- A lot of wasted time due to lack of established approval, feedback, and communication processes
- Frustrated teammates and other stakeholders put projects on hold, under deliver or delay timelines as they’re waiting for feedback
- Customers might lose the sense of trust, confidence, and safety of your brand after unapproved campaigns damage the brand
Many other marketers like Emily Gover, Content Marketing Manager, agree:
“Getting your team on board with the same tools, providing autonomy to them when you can, and having a strong leader on your team will make all the difference. I’ve learned that launching a new marketing initiative is almost always going to take longer than you expect. I think there is some value, to a degree, of the “under promise, over deliver” concept, especially with managing one’s times (and other people’s expectations).”
Now I got your attention, right? Stay till the end, because this piece outlines what you need to bring order, clarity, and simplicity to your team. It’s a step by step guide to describing your processes, people, and tools into one epicenter so that you can save more time & money.
Eventually, it will help you build a better relationship with internal & external stakeholders and a better brand. It contains real examples of how the Planable marketing team did it, and we want to share this knowledge. And it’s totally applicable to you as well.
The most important thing – it helped us achieve a 25% Growth MoM and we started seeing immediate results.
Four Principles of Content Marketing Processes
It’s not just about creating, publishing, distributing, sharing, and analyzing the content. That’s just a tiny piece of it. What matters most is collaboration within your team.
These principles may vary from one company to another. There’s no universal structure that you can implement so it has to be adapted to your use case. But keep in mind that if you don’t stay committed to them, they might never work.
It’s the first thing you need to adopt, religiously. A lot of confusion and miscommunication happens when there are different sources of information with varying levels of access. If you add multiple levels of approvals, and stakeholders, there’s a complete mess.
I believe that most modern teams trust their employees with information. Organizations need to move fast, and agile. The lack of knowledge will significantly lower their successes and results. Data is one of the most valuable assets any employee can have, including content, media files, tasks, marketing lists, spreadsheets, contact information, and many more.
Implementation? Give everyone the same access to the information that might help their marketing goals. However, don’t limit the transparency only to the content marketing team.
Do you know how frustrating it is when you need to access information on the product, finance, business, or anything else and you have to ask it from someone else? It results in wasting precious time and resources. As I was saying in the Marketing Teams of the Future book, modern teams trust each other and they know that transparency should be at the heart of their organization.
Marketing moves fast, but most teams don’t. That’s because they don’t have the right mindset and defined marketing processes steps in the team. Typical marketing will never actually succeed if they don’t commit to higher efforts.
There are three ways to secure a precise alignment.
Planning. When it comes to Planable, we develop quarterly marketing meetings in which we deep dive into everything we’re doing. Here’s the meeting structure:
- Past results
- Establish future goals
- Translate it into objectives
- Define each objective with tasks and ideas
- Distribute them across the team
- Start implementing
- Constantly track results
- Iterate on feedback
Goals. Any marketing activity and idea should start with a simple goal in mind. Define your marketing goals related to the business goals, such as these examples below:
- Increase Website Traffic
- Increase Visitor – Signup conversion (with 20%)
- Increase Trial – Paid conversion (with 40%)
- Increase new Paying customers/ week (with 60%)
- Decrease User Churn (with 50%)
- Increase ARPA (with 20%)
To ensure a high level of alignment, we needed to continue focusing our efforts on achieving these goals. That’s why the next step was to create a clear plan for the objectives above and set the expectations for the final deliverables.
In just seven years of my marketing experience, our team has expanded, and many roles have specialized. Before, you could be responsible for the email campaigns, the blog, webinars, and other things. Now every element is handled by someone else. The product we offer has developed, too. Which means you have to know so much more these days and continuously educate yourself to keep up with the pace. You don’t ever feel bored, which is what I like most in the online marketing world.
— Michael Leszczynski @ Get Response
Ownership. Afterward, there was another critical step – setting up real ownership. We believe that everyone deserves credit, and the company needs to know the merits of each member. Here’s how it looks like at Planable:
- Blog Management
- Social Media
- Blog Distribution
- People of Marketing
- SEO Optimization
- Guest blogging
- Overseeing marketing operations
- Guest blogs on Planable
- Paid marketing
It was crucial to define clear ownership such as this. Going through hundreds of emails, searching for the right feedback, waiting for weeks to hear from your stakeholders is the wrong way to go. Everyone has to be on the same page and make sure that teams are aligned. The future relies on real-time collaboration and communication of teams with tools such as Slack, Dropbox, and Planable.
Another major factor in getting sh*t done is consistency. Marketing success can’t happen without it. Building a so-called “viral campaign” is 99% luck. However, building a brand that everyone admires takes time, dedication, and consistency.
It’s more than just a principle of a company. It’s a personal habit that you need to develop by writing content, creating social media posts, analyzing ideas, implementing strategies, continuously learning from the industry leaders, and sticking to it. Also, don’t stop learning from marketing only, look around – read books on personal development, start meditating, workout, take a walk. Any minor activity that can help you become a better person by building the right habits will help you bring more consistency to yourself and your brand.
I don’t mean consistency only through creation but as a company value. Integrate it across the whole organization: a consistent brand everywhere from online to offline.
If you have a creative Facebook page, then your website should be the same. Your video blog, podcast, newsletter, events – keep them all constant. A complete integrated experience will become the winning brand.
Moreover, if you want to succeed, every creative idea relies on precise execution through a robust feedback process along the way. I believe that feedback is essential to quality and progress. It’s also one of the parts that usually gets messy.
I was using many different tools for content creation when I was a freelancer, such as – sheets, emails, skype, messenger, WhatsApp, and many more. So it sucked big time. I remember going through dozens of layers of approval for one month of content and then having to find this feedback across 28 emails that were sent from multiple stakeholders. It was a MESS, and I wouldn’t go back for anything.
“Our content marketing team is roughly 25 people within a marketing team of 50, compared to 7 and 25 respectively a year ago. On a typical day, I’m managing a department of 20+ with many meetings with team leads or individual contributors and helping them solve their problems and ensuring they’re on pace to their own goals.”
— Jakub Rudnik, Head of Content Marketing at G2 Crowd
Imagine the complexity of managing the feedback workflow for such a big team. I was really curious and Jakub was happy to help by outlining all the main processes of their team in my book “Marketing Teams of the Future.”
That’s why at Planable, we made sure the collaboration process is simple and straightforward. When sharing feedback, we’re using a combination of Google Docs, Airtable, Planable, Flow, and Slack. It helps us keep track of the content flow, feedback, media files, and final greenlights.
My advice is to start with emails. They take time and can become a mess. You need a collaborative space for your marketing organization no matter the size. Stop losing time on email and move to a collaborative, visual, efficient area to iterate on content.
Connecting the dots
As I was saying, our team has achieved 25% MoM Growth after implementing the processes described above. Also, we continue to feel the results even today as we’ve expanded on more marketing channels.
The marketing mindset has to change if you want to succeed in the next decade. We will see brands having more success when there’s a transparent process defined for creating a consistent and integrated experience. That way, brands create delight, desire, and attachment at every stage of their customers’ journey. It can be achieved only with high-quality content in unprecedented volumes with the right collaboration established in your team.