You have an idea for a marketing campaign. You tell a few of the team, get to work, but then...nothing. The work has been sucked into some kind of marketing vortex, where this once amazing idea is stagnating. Deadlines are missed, work is slow. What happened? Well, you probably forgot one vital part: The Plan.
At Bannerflow, we’re no different. Or at least we were no different. Now it’s another story entirely.
Less than a year ago, we faced all the problems that marketing teams everywhere face every day. Now, we’re a well oiled marketing-machine, taking over the world one campaign at a time.
So what are the common problems? More importantly, how did we fix them?
1. Slow, disorganised process
The problem with our old plans is that, mainly, they didn’t really exist. We had a rough overall strategy in place, but nothing was set in stone. As a result, the process was slow, disorganised, and people were working in silos. This, in turn, meant deadlines were missed and work stayed in the dreaded 'in-progress' phase.
We needed to totally change the way we worked, so what better way than just to dive in and dig out the issues?
Instead of just writing ad hoc blog posts, and working with email campaigns irregularly, we planned a super clear strategy, with emails and articles tied to overarching campaigns. This meant that everyone had a clear plan as to what they were doing, and why, which is massively important.
We also use banner ads, retargeting, and post on various social media channels. All planned and scheduled, so we know exactly what is going out and when. These all linked directly to our own content, which is the core of our inbound marketing strategy. You can see a couple of examples here:
These plans saved huge amounts of time for everyone in the team, which means that now we can respond quickly to what’s going on in the world, and gear our campaigns towards these things if we need to.
Take a look at this campaign from Oreo. This wouldn't be possible if they didn't have a well organised team with their finger on the pulse, ready to take advantage of any marketing opportunity. It shows what you can do with a little creativity and flexibility.
We also started to look into agile methodologies, and how we could apply these to marketing. With this, we also started to use organisational tools like Trello, so that everyone in the team knows where everyone else stands in terms of deadlines and workloads.
Due to this agile, organised way of working, we can now be incredibly responsive to external factors. If something happens that’s relevant to us, or can have a positive impact on our business, we can utilise that and build a campaign around it quicker than we ever have before.
It’s all down to having a team that works well together, and that can work in a flexible way if they need to. You can’t necessarily plan for these spontaneous events, but you can create a planning structure which allows you to be responsive and flexible.
2. Work duplication and lack of collaboration.
Without a full plan for your campaign in place, different people within the company, and even the individual team, are likely to end up doing a lot of work which overlaps.
A couple of years ago, before one of our own paid campaigns, we had two of the teams working on testing various banners. This was purely down to a lack of communication. The overall goal was clear, but two teams were working on the same step which was vital to launching the ads. Of course, this is not inherently bad - the more info you have before launching an ad, the better - but one of the teams could have been focussed on something else, in order to get the campaign launched quicker.
It was a learning experience. After all, it’s not really a mistake if you learn from it. Now, Bannerflow is all about cross-team collaboration. Every time we start a project we assign the tasks needed to each team, and individual, to ensure that everyone knows exactly what they need to do. Here are the stages, broken down into handy bullet points:
- Project kick-off. Assign the different parts to those in the best position to do them.
- Plan the project. What will be done by when?
- First draft. Everyone completes their first efforts.
- Review as a team. Sit down, see what stays and what needs to be changed.
- Final draft. Everyone makes the edits as discussed.
- Final review. Make sure everyone is happy with the results.
- Push! Publish, and push your campaign.
- Monitor, review, analyse, repeat.
It sounds obvious, but it’s so easy to work within your own world, without proper communication with other stakeholders. Next time you start a project just think about who’s in the best position to do each task, and communicate. It’s so simple, but makes such a massive difference.
3. Quality control
Every startup goes through the same process. In fact, every time there’s a shake up at large companies this usually happens too. You naturally want to execute everything as quickly as possible. This can be a really good thing, as it means you execute quickly and get a lot done in a short amount of time.
There’s another side to the coin though. Whenever you work at this sort of blistering pace, there’s always the risk of making mistakes. It’s usually nothing major. For us, it was smaller things. Typos, or minor issues with images, were the most common errors. Nothing that had a real negative impact, but still, it shouldn’t happen.
This led us to make a slight change in our planning process. Rather than one person making and publishing the ads, there would always be a second person to double check before pushing the button. This not only means that no mistakes are made, but it leads to a more consistent tone of voice.
It takes a lot less time to have a quality check beforehand than it does to wait for someone to see the mistakes after the ad’s online. Now, whenever we push a campaign, we are absolutely certain of the quality, and it’s a great feeling. Our brand is stronger than ever too, as we have that consistent quality which is needed to elevate us in our audience’s minds.
4. Lack of ownership
This goes hand-in-hand with duplication of work, but something that so many companies struggle with is project ownership, especially if there’s a few people working on the same thing. It can often be unclear who has the final say, or who drives the project forward.
It can work, of course, but it’s so much easier if you have a single focal point to go to if you have questions or queries.
That’s where project owners come in. Since we started with this method of working, every single campaign has been completed on time, with great results.
It just means that rather than having a lot of different parties working in silos, you have one coordinator who knows what stage each person is at, and what needs to be done to get the project finished.
They’re the one all the other people can go to with their own parts of the project, for guidance, advice, and ultimately sign off. The project owner is also responsible for setting the deadlines and driving the team towards them. Having this clear point of focus means that nothing gets lost on the way.
Planning marketing campaigns can be difficult, but when you nail the process, it really does change the way you work for the better. With the right tools, work ethic, and dedication, planning is painless, but improves your end product massively.
Bannerflow itself can help you organise your own marketing campaigns. Not only is the tool easy to use and efficient, there are so many features specifically designed to making organisation simple. From the scheduling tool, which allows you to lay out your campaigns in advance, to the authorisation features where the leads on the projects can check the work and clear it through a simple URL, it’s all designed to make your life easier. Find out more on our website, or get in touch today.