Ever felt like you’re working in a team of one? Even in big marketing teams it can feel like you come in, do your job, and hand your work over to the next person with little idea of when you’ll see the result, much less learn how it fits into the big picture or the overall marketing process. So often, marketers find themselves hampered by siloed technology and team structures, disjointed or gappy processes, inefficient communication and data confusion.
This type of organisational drag affects most companies, which squander time, energy, and talent in a way they would never waste cold, hard cash, according to Harvard Business Review. But the most productive companies lose 50% less time to unnecessary and ineffective collaboration than the rest.
On top of that, marketing teams use more technology than almost any other business function; most teams use between 6 and 10 tools on a daily basis, and as many as 90 can be found in use in some teams, according to Kleiner Perkins. In fact, marketing is one of the biggest sources of ‘shadow IT’ — technology in use within companies that are not under the control of the IT department.
Marketers frequently use one tool for one function and then a completely different tool for another, requiring the manual transfer of information between them: from email to spreadsheets, from messaging platforms to briefing documents, from channel-based audience data tools to slide decks.
In fact, the marketing process at most enterprise marketing teams is characterised by big gaps.
These typically, but not always, occur at the handoffs from one part of the process to another: from the marketing executive to the planners, from the campaign managers to the agency, from approvers to campaign managers, and from the data team back to the planners.
Sometimes they are the result of structural silos, unshared data or undocumented processes; often they are the result of the use of old-fashioned tools that don’t facilitate efficient collaboration; other times they arise because tools are not integrated.
Simple was designed to fill the gaps in marketing team workflows, bringing together disparate processes, people and tools in one centralised planning, review, orchestration and reporting system. Here’s how we do it:
1. The alignment gap
When the marketing lead team has its corporate objectives confirmed for the coming year or the immediate reporting period, it’s a fairly simple matter to communicate these to rest of the marketing team, incorporate them into team KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and ensure all marketing activity ladders up to one or more of these — right?
Wrong. According to recent research, only 38% of marketers think their own marketing activity is very or extremely aligned to business objectives. So what happens in other teams?
By far the most common way for marketing objectives to be conveyed to the wider team is in presentations (69%) and by email (54%).
But remember the rule of 7, devised by Dr Jeffrey Lant, which holds that a prospect needs to ‘hear’ your message 7 times before they’ll take action — and then apply it to your own team.
Where are those objectives when your marketers are planning out the next period’s marketing activity? Generally stuck in those presentations or emails, creating a gap in your marketing process and the opportunity for misaligned work.
How we address it: Simple allows teams to communicate your marketing objectives by including them in every marketing initiative and the campaign activity that falls out of those. They can be referenced in all briefing documents as well, keeping them top-of-mind and at the fingertips of the people doing the marketing work.
Benefits: Ensures marketing activity is aligned to specific marketing objectives, making your marketing budget work as hard as possible to achieve the desired outcomes.
2. The planning gap
Nine out of ten marketers do not plan their work in a tool that can capture the results.
What that means is that they are forced to use different tools to track the outcomes, or to apply to an external team — typically in media, digital or data — for a report on how the campaign performed.
Understanding multi-media channel outcomes is a complex process of manually bringing these results together to understand what worked and what didn’t.
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Optimising marketing activity while it’s still live is difficult in this environment; understanding how it performed in order to improve the following year’s results becomes an even more difficult process of finding and understanding all over again how to improve the outcomes.
How we address it: Simple’s marketing dashboard brings together your key nominated results through data integrations and retains that information in the same tool in which your marketing activity is planned and scheduled, keeping it handy for campaign optimisation and accessible when it comes time to write the next marketing plan.
Benefits: Illuminates effective marketing activity in near-real time, allowing for campaign optimisation, and unifies plans and results for more effective future marketing activity.
3. The asset gap
How often have you seen your sales team taking old slides to market? Or using an out-of-date logo? What about the product team that always wants to commission new photography for their annual sales push without knowing what you already have on hand?
Most companies can get better use out of their pre-approved creative assets, saving time and internal resources, reducing the demands on external agencies and suppliers, making brands more consistent and generally improving the customer experience.
How we address it: Simple includes a digital asset manager that gives marketing teams access to and control over their approved creative assets, and makes them accessible to internal stakeholders.
Benefits: Cost-savings that average more than 10% in production efficiencies.
4. The communication gap
Leaving aside the issue of whether work is briefed properly or instructions are understood correctly, the communication gap chiefly arises when marketing teams use more than one system to communicate key information about marketing activity.
If your marketing team uses a combination of more than one of the following — slide presentations, spreadsheets, emails, a messaging system, verbal instructions and physical mark-ups — you can bet that it’s an administrative nightmare to collate those communications, share them with your agencies, communicate to marketers in other locations and ensure all your marketing activities comply with brand governance and regulatory requirements.
How we address it: Simple centralises marketing communications in one marketing work management system, capturing feedback, amendments, versions and approvals, as well as live work-in-progress readings, streamlining communications within marketing, with suppliers, and with other teams such as compliance.
Benefits: Administrative time savings that average 20% and the ability to be 100% compliant with regulatory or brand governance requirements.
5. The productivity gap
Most marketing leaders can usually say who their most productive staff are, but they would often be hard-put to say how to improve the performance of other personnel. That’s because team and agency performance metrics are rarely tracked by marketing teams, obscuring productivity issues.
For example, if one team’s agency briefs are always revised several times before work even begins, it’s perhaps an indication that they would benefit from brief-writing training.
The brief revision process, campaign lead times, number of times an asset is reviewed before it is approved, approval timeframes and volume of work are among the key measures that can indicate the bottlenecks and opportunities for training to improve team performance.
How we address it: Simple captures internal and agency performance metrics that indicate productivity and efficiency obstacles and provide best-practice targets that may be used to improve overall team performance.
Benefits: Clarity over productivity issues and realistic performance targets that can be used to reduce marketing lead times and improve the output, agility and results of marketing teams.
6. The martech gap
Integration between marketing tools is easy to promise but hard to achieve. Marketing teams are often reliant on third-party integrations to stitch together their preferred toolset, and these often break down, causing data to be lost and technology to be under-utilised.
That’s not advisable when marketers now spend more on technology than on anything else; 29% of marketing budgets, according to Gartner’s recent research.
How we address it: Using Simple’s workflows, marketing teams can mandate how other marketing tools are used, and when they must be utilised in the marketing process.
Simple also offers native integration with Microsoft’s technology stack, and with the hundreds of marketing tools that have already launched Microsoft integrations, creating one seamless, end-to-end brand technology ecosystem backed by Microsoft’s reliability promise.
Simple’s marketing dashboard also brings together your key nominated campaign results through data integrations, providing a unified picture of what’s working and what isn’t, and what needs to be improved.
Benefits: Greater utilisation of all marketing technology, including Microsoft tools and a more reliable toolkit, leading to more a consistent marketing activity performance as well as better understanding of the channels that are working and how to optimise future campaign performance.
Simple’s intelligent marketing resource management system joins up the gaps in marketing team process, from structural silos, unshared data and undocumented processes to the use of poorly integrated martech tools. To see it in action, reach out to one of our representatives.