What are the qualities of streamlining marketing workflows and processes, and how can a company measure and implement them?
Table of Contents
When it comes to marketing operations, inefficiencies can accumulate in no time, resulting in slower progress and added frustration. Throw poor communication, competing priorities, and last-minute requests into the mix, and even the simplest marketing tasks can feel like a Herculean endeavor.
Instead of coming up with fun new ideas to propel the company forward, marketers are left in limbo filled with spreadsheets, static files, and a jumbled mess of emails.
So, what’s the solution?
The answer is organization, consistency, and transparency. And all of these qualities come from streamlining marketing workflows and processes.
Streamlining marketing operations is crucial to the success of any marketing team. Workflows can help teams reach a consensus on the steps required to complete a task, identify and resolve bottlenecks, and expedite project timelines. In addition, streamlining workflows can improve the quality of the marketing team’s output, increase the profitability of marketing projects, and improve team productivity, communication, and time management.
“The result is an environment where creatives can focus on creative tasks, managers can have better control and insight, and executives can always stay informed.”
All of them sound great. But how do you make it happen?
This article will guide you through the process of streamlining marketing operations, from identifying key marketing workflows to overcoming the most common challenges.
A marketing workflow is a series of repeatable activities for completing a specific marketing task or goal. Some of the most common examples include content creation, social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, and lead generation workflows.
The importance of each marketing workflow varies from company to company. The first step is identifying key marketing workflows within the company and determining which desperately requires streamlining.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Review and catalog existing workflows and processes. List your marketing processes and workflows in simple terms. Incorporate feedback from process owners and those performing the work to break them down into smaller steps and record the benefit of each.
- Identify the inefficiencies. Pinpoint the areas most commonly associated with delays, errors, and unnecessary costs.
- Clarify your objectives. Once you identify what isn’t working, create a comprehensive list of desired outcomes for process changes. These can include faster content creation, reduced expenses, decreased dependence on external creative input, and improved accessibility to brand resources.
- Set priorities. Rank these workflows and processes to decide which one to streamline first.
There are several ways to set priorities. Before tackling more complex or ambitious improvements, you may go for the low-hanging fruit first. This way, you’re setting your company up for immediate success, which can create momentum for successfully taking on larger projects.
Alternatively, you can start with the marketing operations plagued with the most inefficiencies. These operations might hinder achieving key business goals and adversely affect the company’s bottom line. The key word here is might.
Highly inefficient workflows aren’t always the ones with the most significant impact on business goals. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance between prioritizing highly inefficient workflows and those that have the greatest impact on the organization’s overall success.
Once you determine your priorities, it’s time to get down to business.
The first step is to utilize effective techniques for streamlining marketing workflows.
- Automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as email marketing, social media posting, and data entry, can go a long way toward centralizing and improving marketing operations.
- Fostering collaboration and communication among team members is crucial for avoiding duplication of effort and ensuring everyone’s on the same page.
- Project management. Successful project management practices are the backbone of any business, and the marketing department is no different. Use project management tools to assign tasks, set deadlines, and monitor progress.
- Data management. Implementing a system for collecting, storing, and analyzing data will help make informed decisions on changing the marketing workflows.
Fortunately, many modern workflow software tools can assist you in implementing these techniques and streamlining marketing operations. These tools can improve efficiency and productivity, reduce errors, and facilitate communication and teamwork.
Some of the most popular tools for streamlining marketing workflows include:
- JIRA Core. JIRA Core is a project management tool that can streamline marketing operations by helping teams plan, track, and collaborate on tasks and projects in one centralized location. It offers features like customizable workflows and real-time reporting.
- Salesforce Pardot. Salesforce Pardot is a marketing tool that can automate repetitive tasks, such as lead nurturing and email marketing, thus helping marketers save time and focus on more strategic activities.
- MailChimp. MailChimp is an email marketing tool that streamlines email marketing workflow. It allows marketers to create and send targeted email campaigns to their subscribers. With features such as automation, segmentation, and A/B testing, this tool can help marketers improve their email marketing strategy and save time.
- HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform that provides a suite of marketing, sales, and customer service tools.
- HootSuite is a social media management tool that can streamline marketing operations by allowing marketers to manage multiple social media channels in one place. According to Ascend2, almost 50% of all marketers use automation tools for social media management, so this tool will undoubtedly come in handy.
- Ahrefs. Ahrefs is an SEO marketing tool that can streamline marketing operations by helping marketers optimize their websites for search engines.
- Filestage is a creative collaboration tool that allows teams to review and approve creative content in a unified location. It offers features such as customizable workflows and real-time commenting, helping marketing teams work more efficiently and collaborate more effectively.
- Storychief. Storychief is a content marketing tool that lets marketers plan, create, and distribute content across multiple channels in a centralized hub. With content marketing generating three times more leads than traditional marketing, this tool is worth checking out.
As helpful as marketing software tools are, they aren’t a cure-all remedy. Installing a piece of tech won’t magically resolve all the issues plaguing marketing operations.
What will successfully streamline marketing workflows is polishing operational processes and bringing about a fundamental shift in the company culture.
- Creating clear processes. A workflow should be clearly visible and broken into smaller, simplified steps that anyone on the team can follow easily. Before finalizing and circulating a workflow, check if everyone on the marketing team understands it entirely.
- Defining roles and responsibilities. Each team member should understand their role and responsibility within the company and the marketing department. This helps avoid confusion and misunderstandings and facilitates teamwork. It also ensures that each team member is accountable for their own work.
- Sharing and receiving feedback. For marketing operations to succeed, everyone must be on the same page. This involves presenting the appropriate workflows to the entire team, communicating any changes to a workflow, and listening to the team’s feedback. After all, your team members will probably be the first to realize that a workflow or a part of it isn’t working anymore.
- Regularly reviewing and optimizing workflows. Just because something worked the first time doesn’t mean it will work forever. For this reason, tracking results and optimizing workflows as you see fit is important. Even the slightest change can make a significant impact on your marketing workflow. The most common changes include changing the software tools, the designated personnel, or the intended goals.
Thanks to workflow management software tools, identifying the areas for improvement comes easily. These tools generate digital data, which you can analyze to identify opportunities for optimization.
By analyzing metrics such as the number of workflows initiated, the number of workflows completed successfully, the average time taken to complete tasks, and the number of operational errors, you can identify pain points in the workflows.
After conducting a workflow analysis and identifying areas for improvement, it’s crucial to act on this information. In other words, you should address the identified issues as soon as possible.
In theory, the basic principles for optimizing marketing operations sound pretty simple. But what about in practice?
In practice, not all team members are ecstatic about embracing changes. Some of them might be comfortable with the current processes, while others might be hesitant to embrace something unfamiliar.
Resistance to change isn’t the only challenge in streamlining marketing workflows. Other challenges include a lack of team alignment and poor internal communication, leading to disagreements and conflicts.
As you might’ve noticed, most common challenges center around the same thing – team members. I always say that a healthy company culture starts with its teams. The company’s clients can only receive the best possible solutions if the employees are empowered and involved in decision-making.
To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to communicate the benefits of workflow improvements to all team members involved. This includes explaining how streamlining workflows can help save time, increase efficiency, and ultimately lead to better results for the business.
Providing ongoing training and development opportunities for the team members can ensure they’re equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to execute marketing workflows efficiently.
It’s also crucial to foster a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, encouraging all team members to share their ideas and feedback.
Simply put, each team member should clearly understand the big picture and how they fit into it.
To help you understand just how vital streamlining marketing workflow is, look at some world-famous companies that used big data to streamline workflow processes.
- Netflix has extensively used data to improve and streamline crucial marketing workflows. The company uses a data-driven approach to analyze user behavior and create targeted campaigns to address their specific viewing preferences. Besides its data-driven recommendation platform, Netflix has a strong content marketing program that provides valuable resources to its users, including behind-the-scenes features and interviews with actors and directors.
- Like Netflix, Amazon leverages big data to enhance customer satisfaction through personalized experiences. However, the company has a much wider customer base and requires a more comprehensive approach. Still, each marketing workflow is perfectly streamlined, from a robust email marketing program to targeted ad campaigns. With as many as 31% of customers enjoying a personalized shopping experience, no wonder this approach has been a recipe for success.
- Airbnb has structured many processes around key insights extracted from marketing data. As a result, the company has revolutionized the hospitality industry and become one of the biggest success stories of modern times.
By leveraging data to inform their marketing strategies and streamline workflows, these and similar companies have achieved unprecedented success and demonstrated the potential for others to do the same.
As marketing continues to evolve in the digital age, the role of workflows and streamlining marketing operations becomes increasingly essential.
Streamlining workflows improves the efficiency and productivity of marketing operations and drives innovation and growth. Using automation, collaboration, project management, and data management tools can help improve the quality of the company’s output, increase profitability, and provide better control and insight into marketing projects.
The adoption of marketing automation tools is on the rise. This trend is expected to continue, with the market projected to reach $9.50 billion by 2027. Besides saving time, automation tools allow marketers to focus on strategic problem-solving. The availability of automation tools has significantly reduced the time needed for menial, redundant tasks, leaving more time to engage in creative work.
The trend toward centralizing activities into a single platform is also gaining popularity, with more encompassing solutions expected to emerge.
The future of marketing workflows lies in streamlining operations, leveraging automation tools, and adopting a user-friendly approach to marketing automation. Marketing teams that prioritize these strategies will likely see improvements in productivity, profitability, and overall success.
Streamlining marketing operations will become critical for surviving in a competitive market, and companies that fail to do so risk being left behind.