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Go With the (Work)flow: Why You Need Process to Make Your Marketing Programs Run Smoothly

For many marketers, every task seems to be a top priority that was supposed to be done yesterday. It can feel as though you're constantly scrambing to meet one deadline after another. And when next steps aren't clear, things get even messier: Deadlines are missed, work falls through the cracks, and miscommunication runs rampant.

It isn't likely that you'll miraculously end up with less work, but there is something you can do to make your routine marketing programs (such as campaigns, product launches, events, and content) more manageable: Implement processes.

Having consistent processes in place can help. Here's how.

You'll save time (a lot of it)

Think about how much time you spend trying to remember everything you need to do for a project. (There are so many little details!) Or the circuitous chases you go on trying to figure out what the next step is. You may realize that those tasks are taking a significant amount of your time.

But if you had a clearly defined and repeatable process for, say, managing a new marketing campaign or planning an event, you'd get a lot of that time back. And when you're busy, every minute counts.

Although it initially takes some time to think through all the steps required to get from A to Z, you'll have to think about them only once. Then, instead of figuring out when reviews and handoffs need to happen every time you kick off a marketing campaign, you can get right into execution.

You won't need to spend any time planning logistics and remembering next steps. Instead, you can launch your campaign faster or use that extra time to produce even better creative assets.

Everyone will know what to expect

If you don't have a process already, or if it lives in a teammate's head, people won't know what to expect when you start a new project. And uncertainty only makes work harder. If you're working on a campaign that requires a ton of assets, and your creative team doesn't know what's needed from them, they can't get to work on designs for ads, landing pages, or emails.

When you define each step in your process (and capture it in a place visible to everyone), your teammates and stakeholders will know what to expect from the beginning and won't be caught off guard when you start assigning them work. They can clearly see what each step is, where their work fits in, and how it's connected to other tasks.

Responsibilities and expectations are clear

How many times do you hear, "Oh, I didn't know I was supposed to do that!" when you're working with teammates on a campaign or other project? Probably a lot. To successfully execute your marketing programs, it's critical that everyone know who's doing what and by when. Sounds simple right? If you haven't defined a clear process for getting from concept to launch, however, it isn't that easy.

But with a process, each step is accounted for so responsibilities and expectations for the work that needs to get done are clear from the get-go. You'll save the time you usually spend making sure people know what they're supposed to be doing, and they're less likely to drop the ball. (Cheers to accountability!)

Handoffs between teammates (and teams) are smooth

Handing off work or information to other teammates or teams can be awkward (or it may not happen at all) if there isn't clarity around when the handoff is supposed to happen or with whom.

If handoffs are included in your process, no one will get caught off guard. Each handoff is accounted for, so everyone knows when to expect them and who they should happen between. It's also a good idea to specify whether an in-person meeting is needed or the handoff can be done asynchronously.

For example, when your design team is handing off a design file for a new webpage to your Web developers, both teams will probably want to discuss animations and interactions for the page in person. But when the design team hands off new ad creative to your media team, a meeting probably isn't necessary if creative and file requirements are clearly outlined in the request.

It's been successful before, so you know it works

The best thing about following an established process? It's been used before, so you know it works. And because you're not starting from scratch, you can easily make small tweaks as you find ways to improve processes even more.

Whether you're the one leading the project or another teammate is in the driver's seat, everyone follows the same steps so everyone feels confident that work is being executed consistently. This, in turn, helps builds trust among teammates and other departments you collaborate with, which comes in handy when you need other teams to prioritize your work so you can launch your new campaign on time.

Say goodbye to reinventing the wheel

By putting in a (little) more effort up front to standardize common processes your marketing team uses, your projects will run smoother, you'll save a lot of time, and you're more likely to achieve your goals. Those fire drills at the eleventh-hour will be a thing of the past. (Phew!)

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To learn how to create effective processes for common marketing programs such as managing campaigns, planning events, launching products, producing creative assets, and creating content, check out The Marketer's Playbook.