Is improving workflow on your agenda? According to a recent Forrester survey, that’s the case for most companies — 58% reported that improving workflow efficiency in creative is on their digital advertising creative goal for the upcoming year. It makes a lot of sense considering the volume of your creative output is hugely reliant on your workflow. And a fragmented foundation will pose a problem for every campaign, slowing down your speed-to-market when it’s needed more than ever.
So even if you think your workflow is sufficient, it needs continuous evaluation. After all, work inefficiencies result in businesses losing 20-30% of revenue each year. Brands should assess every touchpoint of their workflows. Not sure where to start? Here are the 6 most common workflow gaps companies are facing.
1. Processes aren’t fully defined and documented
A workflow outline is the foundation of your foundation. It’s essential to organizing files, streamlining communication, and offering clear direction to employees. Without it, team members get stuck in points of confusion. When they’re unsure of who to pass off items to, they’ll either 1. Guess what to do (often inaccurately), 2. Spend time reaching out to others to figure out, or 3. Delay the action. Of course, all 3 waste time.
If this happens frequently, the time adds up significantly. Not to mention, the uncertainty breeds frustration or can even result in micromanagement, the biggest cause of employee resignation. It’s up to managers to establish clarity from the get-go, considering all possible outcomes that might cause occasional changes to the normal chain of events. Be sure that all programs, allocations of responsibilities, and processes are determined and readily available to every relevant employee.
2. Technologies are siloed
Too often, team members (or even entire teams) are working on different technologies. Since the whole company should have the same goals, and therefore projects, fragmented technologies will make for challenging collaboration. For instance, according to a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Celtra, 29% report complicated handover between creative and media teams as a challenge when developing new digital assets. Investing in a technology that can bring all of your teams into one place, helps on several levels. Functions like multi-user access to preview, review, approval, and tag generation, speed up workflows while removing constant user management.
3. Workflow setups are overly-complicated
A good rule of thumb for being economical with time — keep things as simple as possible. Generally, workflows aren’t designed to be complicated. It’s something that inevitably happens over time. The main culprits are 1. attempting to resolve confusion or a 2. A failure to question whether certain people, tasks, or programs are essential.
However, once resources are identified and pre-approved, the process can be mapped out visually. If you’ve never done this before, there’s plenty of material available about getting started. It’s then time to ask some questions. Does the flow resemble a spider web rather than a chain? Are there too many steps backwards after moving forward? It should be evident pretty quickly whether your process has potential to be simplified.
4. Tracking isn’t transparent
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and consequently forget about tracking your creative production processes. But if you don’t know exactly where you are, how can you help move things along? Plus, it becomes challenging to accurately gauge the amount of time you’ll need to allocate for each stage in your processes. Team members with any responsibility, big or small, for planning and up-keeping your creatives, need access to the latest status. Fortunately, creative production software with multi user access can also assign “preview-only” settings for team members who only need visibility into the current creative.
5. Repetitive steps haven’t been automated
Technology is empowering. Largely because it enables us to do things faster and more accurately. Since new products are constantly hitting the market, it’s extremely important that you’re up-to-date on those which could better your strategy. By adopting technology that can eliminate repetitive steps and functions, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time by cutting down production time as well as reducing human error, which requires additional steps to correct. Likewise, the Forrester Consultancy study found that 45% predicted a “positive impact” while 38% a “critical positive impact” from creative automation on improving process efficiency in creative. Spending on your workflow now will pay off later.
6. Testing of deliverables is insufficient
Getting your assets out the door doesn’t mean your job is done. Once your creatives are in the wild, be sure to continually test their performance and incorporate that feedback into your plan moving forward. Quality factors such as loading time and mobile optimization are vital for checking off basic, must-have boxes. Meanwhile, engagement figures will validate your direction moving forward. Without incorporating this information, your team will be unable to fulfill their potential and could find themselves rolling out superfluous content in attempts to hit performance goals. Besides the value of quality alone, lacking in this area could easily hinder output as well.
In order to produce industry-leading creatives, you need to slow down and check on your process. Workflow is an elemental piece of the puzzle. And even though it’s exercised each day, it still requires thoughtful upkeep and investment. Think of it this way, you might be using your laptop every day with fine functionality. Yet, if you never stop to consider the possibility of purchasing a new one, you’ll find that you missed a model which could be making your life a lot easier. Take the time and spend the necessary cost now. You’ll save more time and spend less later.
Ready to transform your creative production workflow? Reach out today.