Over the last decade, marketing organizations have had to bend, twist, shift, and maneuver in order to meet the changing demands of the market. With the constant stream of new technologies and channels, rapidly shifting customer sentiment, and increasing competition, marketing teams haven’t had a choice but to be incredibly agile. As marketing departments had to bring on additional specializations and capabilities, individual functions naturally became more and more siloed. As a result, getting initiatives to market in a timely way that meets market demand sometimes means that marketing teams don’t work as collaboratively and efficiently as they could.
No doubt about it: The ability to flex and meet the demands of the market speaks to marketers’ ingenuity. But the result of that can come with its own set of problems including inefficient processes and disconnected marketing functions. Multi-channel marketing campaigns and other “all hands on deck” efforts require smooth orchestration between many specialties. If your marketing team doesn’t have a unified, holistic vision of what you are trying to achieve—and the infrastructure and processes to support that vision—your multi-channel campaign may be more splintered than seamless.
Efficient marketing and brand operations are the key to effective and impactful marketing initiatives
Whether you’re developing a high-level brand strategy or executing individual campaigns, well-honed marketing and brand operations are the key to your marketing team’s success. We view marketing and brand operations through the lens of four critical pillars:
- people (roles and responsibilities, including internal teams and external partners)
- process (workflows, reviews and approvals)
- training (how you onboard and engage employees and agency partners)
- technology (tools to automate, streamline and simplify)
By optimizing each of the four pillars within your marketing organization, you can capture efficiencies, increase brand consistency, improve time to market, and free up resources to be applied with more impact.
The more you streamline your marketing and brand operations, the easier it will be to tackle multi-channel marketing campaigns and other initiatives. If you haven’t done so recently, you may want to start with a high-level assessment of your marketing and brand operations.
Execute a seamless multi-channel campaign using these best practices
Applying the following principles to your next multi-channel campaign can help ensure a collaborative effort that aligns with your campaign strategy, is efficiently executed, and has more potential for a bigger in-market impact.
- Draft a comprehensive brief
Think of your brief as your campaign’s north star. It should tell everyone across each individual channel exactly what they are working towards in concrete terms. What specific objectives are you trying to achieve? What does success look like, and how will you measure it in terms of both lead and lag KPIs? Who is your primary audience? What do you want them to think, feel, and believe? What actions do you want them to take? What is the campaign’s primary message?
If your brief doesn’t answer all of these questions in enough detail, you’ll leave too much open to interpretation. And in a complex marketing organization with a decentralized structure, that’s a recipe for a campaign that goes off-strategy.
Each group will of course use their own expertise in how the campaign should be delivered, based on the unique channel they are responsible for – the social team will need to think differently about the campaign than your web team, for example. But if everyone is intentionally working towards the same, clearly defined goals and strategy, you have a much better chance of aligning your campaign across channels.
- Designate a campaign account manager
In order to flawlessly execute a complex, multi-channel marketing campaign, you’ll need to give one person ownership of the campaign from start to finish. This campaign manager might be a project manager or a member of your marketing operations team. Either way, they function as the single campaign source and the glue that holds the whole initiative together. They take responsibility for pulling all the different stakeholders together and act as the central point of contact to keep the initiative on track and on strategy.
- Have everyone sign off on your project plan
If your campaign brief is your north star, then your project plan is a detailed map describing exactly how you’ll achieve your big-picture goals.
Your campaign manager should be in charge of creating your project plan. The plan should document:
- The project timeline
- Key project milestones and deadlines
- Roles and responsibilities, including key decision-makers and — for every milestone — who is accountable, informed, and contributing
- Interdependencies and project risks
- Escalation, approval, sign-off process
- Project hand-off points
- Agency onboarding and integration process, if required
Before the project plan can be considered final, everyone on the team should sign off on it. In doing so, each person indicates that they understand and agree to the plan.
- Leverage tools, technology, and templates to make everyone’s job easier
Your team shouldn’t have to recreate the wheel with every new campaign you take on. As much as possible, look for ways to leverage tools, technology, and templates to reduce manual effort and automate your processes. For example, if your team currently uses email to manage its review and approval processes, there’s a good chance they don’t then have the ability to quickly track or find items and there is little to no transparency into the process for other stakeholders. By transferring those communications from email to a centralized workflow tool, you can centralize all of your feedback in one place, make changes and deadlines trackable, streamline your process, and make it all visible to everyone contributing to the project.
Review your existing processes and ask yourself: How can you reduce time and effort? Can you reuse templates (for briefs, project plans, etc.)? What tools are you using, and to what extent do they meet your needs? Where can we introduce technology to automate processes? Where can you reduce your team’s effort and time to market?
- Keep your agency partners in the loop
Many marketing organizations make the mistake of bringing their agency partners into the fold after they finish setting the strategy. Rather than giving your external partners limited marching orders, make sure they understand the bigger picture. The way to get the most out of your external partners is to treat them like an integrated extension of your internal team. Make sure they are familiar with your campaign brief. Include them in your project plan, and require them to sign off on it, too.
Bottom line? Each of your external partners should have a holistic understanding of your objectives for your multi-channel campaign — even if they only touch a small portion of it.
To be successful, multi-channel marketing campaigns require seamless orchestration. In a complex and siloed marketing organization, that alone is a tall order. But by adopting these best practices, you can ensure that your marketing organization operates more effectively and collaboratively, driving towards campaigns that are more likely to meet your strategic goals and make a bigger impact in-market.