Project launches. Events. Innovation. Deadlines. The world of marketing is fast-paced and exciting. But even when you’re trying your hardest to stay ahead of the game, external factors can swoop in and slow you down.
As part of our recent report on The State of Creative Collaboration in 2023, we surveyed 112 people in marketing departments around the world to uncover the main pain points of the creative process when it comes to slowing teams down.
The results were enlightening, with six problems jumping out as the main culprits. Waiting, chasing, and communication are the common themes. And the good news is, they’re all solvable.
So without further ado, these are the six things slowing marketers down in 2023, with recommendations to solve these problems once and for all.
1. Waiting for feedback
We’ve all been there. You’ve worked super hard to meet a deadline, maybe even stayed late to get things finished. Adrenaline is racing. You’re so proud of yourself for getting it done. You hit submit.
You wait and you wait and you wait.
And slowly but surely that next deadline gets closer and closer. Your resource and timeline planning goes out the window, and more coffee-fuelled nights and early starts loom on the horizon.
A staggering 71% of marketers say waiting for feedback slows their team down, and they spend an average of three days waiting. There must be a solution…
Solution: Set deadlines for your stakeholders
Setting a due date for every review step gives your stakeholders a deadline to work towards. This helps them to prioritize their work, holds them accountable, and keeps your project moving in the right direction.
With Filestage, you can add due dates to your files to keep your projects on track. And as the deadline approaches, we’ll send automated reminders to anyone who hasn’t shared their feedback yet.
2. Chasing people for approval
You might find towards the end of the feedback and approval process that stakeholders start to go quiet. Feedback given. Job done. Once the hardest part is over with, they can forget how important it is to give their final sign-off. On average, marketing teams have to wait nine days to get a file approved.
Inevitably, it falls to you to do the chasing. And there are only so many ways you can politely ask people to hurry up. 63% of marketers say chasing for approval slows their team down, and the worst part is that you can be so close to completion, yet still miss important deadlines.
Solution: Make approval a one-click process
In Filestage, once your reviewers are happy with the content, all they have to do is hit “Approve”. And if they forget, Filestage will automatically send them a reminder as the deadline approaches. You’ll get a notification confirming they’ve given the green light, meaning you can go ahead and publish work with confidence instead of chasing people to double check.
3. Having too much to do
When you have too much to do, it can be harder to be productive. Trying to juggle multiple tasks, meet various deadlines, and implement the torrents of feedback you’ve received can feel like an impossible mission, and often the more you try to do, the less you actually accomplish.
That rings true for 62% of marketers, who say having too much to do slows their team down.
Solution: Use workflow management software
When you can’t get extra resource in the form of manpower to lighten the load, then turn to workflow management software to help you out. Workflow management software helps save you time by automating certain tasks, and gives you a centralized place to organize processes and documents. This frees up time for you and your team to focus on other, more important tasks, boosting morale in the process.
Take Filestage. Filestage streamlines and automates your project review and approval processes and allows team members to collaborate on digital content entirely online. And the comment sidebar doubles as a to-do list, so you and your team can tick off comments as you go along to make sure all feedback has been addressed.
4. Waiting for more context
You’re ready and raring to go on your next marketing campaign. You can’t wait to get brainstorming. You just need a bit more info from the client to get started.
And then nothing…
43% of marketers say waiting for more context slows their team down, which is a nightmare as it eats into the time you’ve set aside for the project.
But there’s a solution.
Solution: Create a killer briefing template that covers everything up front
Get everything you need for your marketing campaign in one go with the help of a detailed briefing template. That way, you can avoid endless back and forth and chasing.
Exactly what you include in the brief will vary depending on your specific project, but here are some of the most important aspects to cover:
- Company or client overview
- Campaign purpose
- Project summary
- Campaign objectives
- Target audience
- Campaign strategy
- Key messages
- Call to action
- Brand guidelines
- Key elements to include or avoid
- Schedule and deadlines
- Approval process
- Distribution methods
Once you’ve got the full context, you’re ready to hit the ground running!
5. Too many meetings
Meetings are the killer of productivity. Many of them are completely unnecessary, with no clear structure or objective, and more often than not they come just as you’re in the middle of something, breaking your flow.
In fact, 1-in-3 marketers say too many meetings slows their team down.
That’s not to say meetings are redundant. There will always be some things that are easier to explain verbally than via email or Slack. Especially when it comes to presenting your ideas or explaining edits. But does everyone need to be present or dialed in at the same time?
Solution: Take advantage of tools like Loom for screen recordings
Screen recordings let you present your ideas or explain edits without needing to call a meeting. With Loom, you can record your screen, edit the recording, and share links. And those watching can add comments and emoji reactions to share their feedback.
You can communicate your message immediately rather than hurriedly trying to find a 30-minute slot that everyone can do, and your team can watch the recording at a time that suits them, when they know they’re ready to break their flow and engage in what you’re presenting
6. Aligning stakeholders who aren’t communicating
When you’re working with multiple stakeholders from a range of teams with varying priorities, things can get confusing. Especially when they’re all sending you feedback via different avenues. A lack of transparency results in crossed wires and conflicting recommendations, and you’re there as the middle man trying to mediate and make sure everyone’s happy.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. 31% of marketers say aligning stakeholders who aren’t communicating slows their team down.
Solution: Give reviewers a way to add comments directly on top of your content
Using an online feedback tool like Filestage helps you to keep all your stakeholders on the same page and avoid miscommunication and crossover feedback. Reviewers can leave comments and annotations directly on top of your content for others to see in real time.
With Filestage, they can:
- Click to leave in-context comments
- Draw annotations to make feedback clearer and more visual
- Add references and important assets as attachments to comments
- Tag other stakeholders in a comment thread to bring them into the conversation
With everything centralized, stakeholders have full visibility over what others are saying. They can discuss feedback there and then, resolving any conflicts themselves so that everyone’s happy, and you know exactly what amends need to be made.
Thanks for reading! I hope you’re feeling inspired and ready to solve these problems once and for all. If you’d like to see for yourself how Filestage can help with your feedback and approval process, you can start a trial!