Brute force marketing. Even if the phrase isn’t familiar, the meaning will be – throwing more and more people into content development to meet the demands of today’s multichannel world. Its frequent companion is pizza marketing, as in, “We’ll order pizza and stay as long as it takes to get the job done.”
Then when there are problems with the end product, the tendency is to add more rounds of approvals. The problem with these “fixes” is that they don’t address the underlying problem(s). The current marketing environment is increasingly complex, with more consumer touchpoints and longer schedules. That complexity isn’t going away. But workflow and processes don’t have to be equally complex.
Process optimization helps companies succeed in the marketplace and reach organizational goals. When you identify and eliminate inessential steps, re-dos, handoffs and approval rounds, you reduce risk and gain time/resources to take care of other essential business activities. These five steps can alleviate the pain of marketing by brute force.
1. Set scope and goals.
What do you want to accomplish? Cut time out of the content development process? Expand content development capabilities? Save money? All of the above?
2. Document current state.
First bring leaders and do-ers together to analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Sometimes leaders don’t have an accurate picture of how the team is working. A SWOT analysis gets everyone aligned. List all the people, technologies and processes involved – how handoffs happen, who approves and at what stages. This teases out pain points and conflicting priorities.
3. Draw a map.
Diagram the current content generation process. A visual clearly shows loopbacks and extra steps, revealing opportunities to do things better. This map is the baseline for improvement.
4. Plan a better state.
Assemble a scorecard of best practices from comparable companies. Use the scorecard and SWOT to diagram a better future state. This may include simplified IT/systems and new technology tools. It should include a high-level time line and an overview of required change management.
5. Start implementing.
Analyze the relative difficulty of the needed changes and start with the easiest. This helps build buy-in and team confidence that the effort is worth it.
At the end of the optimization process, companies can expect significant reductions in cycle time, handoffs and steps along with increased first-pass yields. There are also many “soft” benefits.
- Fewer touchpoints, so the team has more time to work on other priorities
- Better, cleaner inputs and assets on the front end;
- Improved alignment on roles and responsibilities
- Enabling technologies that make everyone’s job easier
It’s a win, win, win. And not as exhausting.