Guest blogpost by Alex Withers, Withers is Chief Marketing Officer of inMotionNow, a leading provider of workflow management solutions for marketing and creative teams. Alex is a seasoned digital technology and marketing executive with more than 20 years of senior marketing experience with brands including Pepsi, ESPN, USGA, the Financial Times, and LexisNexis.
What’s coffee without donuts? What’s PB without J? Some things are just better together. And marketing and creative used to be one of them, united by a shared passion for engaging their audience. But the demands of todays industry have put a strain on the traditionally strong partnership. Marketing is expected to reach consumers in more channels, with more targeted campaigns – which means creative is tasked with producing enough content to fuel them.
“In today’s digital world, everything can be published immediately. As marketers, we always need to deliver leads now, so everything we ask for is ‘needed now,’” explains John Lewellan, Director of Marketing Operations at LexisNexis. Marketing’s increased speed has really created problems for creative departments.”
On the creative side of the house, Andy Brenits, President of the Board at InSource, agrees. “With marketing under pressure, they rely on creative more. Yes, creative teams are being recognized for doing great work, but as a result, they re being assigned more work without necessarily increasing headcount.”
Lacking additional resources, the only way for teams to keep up is to operate more efficiently. But process challenges often make that all but impossible, further contributing to friction between marketing and creative.
“When I first started, we were assigned projects by someone walking over and saying hey, can you design an email for me? Everyone wanted everything immediately. It was very stressful, explains Trish Olives, Creative Manager at YETI. I needed to figure out how to get some structure, retain our top talent, and become a true service department that marketing wants to work with, where we’re delivering highquality, effective, impactful results.”
Like Olives, many other creative leaders report a top concern is building stronger strategic partnerships with marketing so they can accomplish more. And uniting both sides with a better workflow is the answer.
“To solve inefficiencies, you need a good creative and marketing process – from strategic planning all the way to delivery,” says Lewellan. “We had creative and marketing flow out the specifics of our process together: who’s involved when, how does work flow through, and who should approve what. Getting that buy-in from everyone upfront and maintaining it has allowed us all to stay on the same page.”
Aligning marketing and creative to a better workflow can be challenging, but adopting a flexible, easy-to-use technology solution can help by reducing headaches and frustration on both sides and providing a framework that allows teams to scale. Creative gets more bandwidth to focus on producing world-class content, which in turn gives marketing the fuel they need to deploy more successful campaigns. As a result, they’re able to stay ahead of rising demand by being better together.
“A technology solution empowers creatives to do their best work. It gives them time and space to ideate, and that’s exactly why we’re working with marketing in the first place,” says Olives. “Implementing a tool is new, its different, but you say, let’s work together, and as a result get the best creative possible.” A better workflow helps marketing and creative teams be better together.