How to Stremline Marketing and Creative Review Process
It is the year 2021 and there are currently more marketing tools and people working in creative industries than ever before. With seemingly endless amounts of content being created by hundreds of thousands of marketers across the globe, streamlining both the marketing and creative review process is crucial for the success of many organizations.
There are also more companies today than ever before, with many of them having not updated their review processes in ages. A simple operational audit of the creative and marketing review process could help these companies to produce higher quality content on a regular basis, while distributing it in the places that matter the most.
Let’s face facts: if your collateral is stuck in a review process it will never be seen or will become irrelevant. So how can we pair down the number of revisions it takes to get a campaign launched in time?
These review processes often go for up to 10 rounds of revisions and can take longer than two weeks, on average. So this one is for all the marketers (and team leaders) who have ever heard (or said), "let’s make it ‘POP’"!
Knowing how you can improve the review process for marketers and creatives will be one of the best things you can do for your organization this year. And you can do it in just four simple ways:
- Having a standard review and approval process
- Take advantage of service level agreements
- Optimize collaboration and workflow across the organization
- Regularly analyze the review process
So, let’s dive in on these actions:
Having a standard review and approval process
In your company, how are reviews typically managed? Chances are, if projects are routinely stalled, this is ad hoc – completed over lengthy email exchanges, or worse, sidebar conversations. If there is no formal review process, how can you expect to receive timely reviews?
The process (or lack thereof) is not transparent nor is it clear routing, which leads to conflicting views, duplicate feedback, and out-of-sequence reviews. Sometimes, everyone in your proximity (apart from the critical stakeholder) is offering their viewpoint.
Standardization begins with documentation – who needs to see what depends on the creative and marketing departments. Only those involved in the project should be the ones providing input.
Take advantage of service level agreements
Service level agreements (SLAs) provide guidelines for reviewing processes, reviewing roles, defining goals and objectives for each review, and communicating feedback requirements.
Marketers and creatives have to meet deadlines, so reviewers have a limited amount of time to turn a review around – and the amount of rounds they can make. This keeps us productive and the feedback considerate.
Independent contractors or those who own their own businesses are often quite good at implementing these types of agreements, otherwise there would be clients requesting endless reviews.
Putting an SLA in place allows for only a certain number of revisions and almost forces reviewers to be more considerate of the project at hand, knowing they only have a few reviews allocated to the project.
It might seem weird at first to implement a contract within an existing employment contract, but let us assure you, it helps keep things very productive and is common practice at large agencies and within high functioning operations.
Optimize collaboration and workflow across the organization
The best chance at process improvement lies within standardizing processes. When you can see the process documented in writing, you are in a better position to identify inefficiencies and automate those that require it. In this scenario, collaboration and workflow technologies can drastically improve the creative review and approval process.
Each reviewer's feedback or sign-off will automatically trigger the next step in the workflow. It provides transparency and accountability – all parties can see the feedback provided – therefore enhancing the creative process and helping leaders build consensus.
Creatives, for example, desire integration to their creative tools, so one of the keys to collaborative tools is to allow them to work the way they want to work. For instance, designers can participate in the process without ever leaving their design tools. Similarly, executives should find a mobile app useful when approving, reviewing, or commenting on projects during meetings.
Regularly analyze the review process
What holds up projects? Who is holding them up? Which stakeholders keep insisting on multiple reviews or other actions outside SLAs? Who are the reviewers who consistently deliver incomplete or late feedback?
Many workflow tools will do this for you automatically, or you can collect this data in a spreadsheet. It's important to identify what hinders projects from reaching the market to see results from your newly implemented review process. Otherwise, what’s the point of using it?
Even when the collateral is completed and the review process is finished, you still need to capture a compliant review process record, especially if you are in a regulated industry. If needed, you can use this paperwork to prove that due diligence has been carried out, for example.
Implementing marketing and creative review processes, with or without the help of review process software, will surely improve the end result for all members involved.
Review is a common part of the marketing and creative process, but frequently has a negative connotation. Using best practices for creative reviews can help make your creative reviews as efficient and as comprehensive as possible.