I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
To keep up with the pace of buyer expectations, sales and marketing have accelerated the go-to-market machine with automation. However, while automation is delivering ROI for most teams – 86 percent report its been somewhat or very effective – the best marketing engine in the world won’t function without creative fuel.
To that effect, creative marketing is more important than ever. According to the Adobe State of Create report for 2016, a full 68 percent of U.S. consumers say they like to buy from brands with creative marketing. As such, marketing teams need more creative content, at a higher quality, and greater volume, in order to drive engagement and conversions that power sales.
Trapped in a Scope-Quality-Time Death Spiral
For the third arm of the go-to-market machine – creative – that all amounts to more pressure to produce: 85 percent of teams say they’re under more pressure to create more assets and deliver more campaigns, and at a faster rate. Alleviating that pressure is hard.
Most creative teams still rely on a manual production process to manage a complex workflow, despite their marketing counterparts managing their workflow with automation. The difference in operational efficiency often puts a strain on the traditionally solid partnership. Marketing becomes frustrated by their content needs not being met – and creative finds themselves trapped in a “scope-quality-time” death spiral driven by process inefficiencies.
Automation has enabled marketing and sales to run at faster speeds, demanding more creative assets and content. It’s also allowed them to double down on A/B testing requirements and agile tactics driven by real-time data. Since creative teams rely on a manual production process and workflow, an increase in scope and reduction in time typically allotted for creativity means either the quality of their output decreases, or deadlines are pushed.
This impacts marketing results and in an effort to make up lost ground, teams try to produce even more content in an even shorter span of time. That means the quality of their creative output declines some more. Teams become frustrated, revenue targets get missed, and the scope-quality-time death spiral continues for the marketing and creative teams.
Change is needed.
Increasing Efficiency to Drive Results
Business leaders are recognizing that continuous, scalable growth requires every part of the creative-marketing-sales machine to run at peak efficiency. Automation might provide the marketing engine with more horsepower, but without enough creative “fuel,” it can’t accelerate the vehicle. That’s why many are exploring technology to help improve the efficiency of creative teams and meet the needs of their internal marketing customers.
Creative workflow management solutions are designed to bridge communication gaps between marketing and creative teams by streamlining the content’s path to market and increasing efficiency at each stage of the production process – from project kick-off, to project management, and finally to approval.
The efficiencies gained allow the creative team to escape the dreaded death spiral and focus on what they do best, producing more best-in-class creative. That translates to marketing ROI and revenue gains.
Fueling the Go-to-Market Machine
A former Fortune 500 creative operations director, Debbie Kennedy says her overwhelmed team used to struggle to meet content demands before finally adopting a technology solution to help alleviate the pressure.
“My team faced an average of 350 active requests at any given time and had over 60 clients requesting work from the creative team. We were routing proofs for approval using email or even paper folders. Even the simplest projects could turn into a time-warp,” says Kennedy. “But investing in creative workflow management shaved off over 25 percent of our time to market, allowing us to take on more work and deliver more content.”
As automation continues to drive the agility of marketing and sales teams to meet consumer expectations, content demands will only increase. Workflow management tools can help creative teams operate as efficiently as the other two arms of the go-to-market machine, enabling them to deliver more and better content at a faster rate. That’s the fuel marketing needs to accelerate the machine and drive ROI.
Alex Withers is the Chief Marketing Officer of inMotionNow, a leading provider of workflow management solutions for marketing and creative teams. Alex is a seasoned digital technology and marketing executive with more than 20 years of senior marketing experience with brands including Pepsi, ESPN, USGA, the Financial Times, and LexisNexis.