How much time do you waste on marketing admin?

FilesAdmin. The bane of the Marketing Manager’s life.

Administration in marketing can take many forms.

You may spend a lot of time producing manual reports for your leadership team.

You might tear your hair out about managing suppliers – agencies, printers – and the admin involved in working with them.

You probably spend a huge amount of time on proofing and managing edits to your content – whether online or printed material. And this is only compounded if you work in a regulated business, where the need for Compliance approval adds another layer to the sign-off process.

The cost of all this admin can be immense. An article this week estimated that financial advisers lose 43 days a year by failing to make the most of technology solutions.

And yet, it is possible for Marketing teams to overcome the admin challenge. Marketing and Compliance teams at Nottingham Building Society, for instance, saved 1500 hours a month by introducing automation to their review and approvals processes.

How can you emulate this success? What steps can you take to minimise the time you waste on marketing admin?

Identifying where you waste time

Repetition and duplication of effort can be a huge issue in marketing. Many firms remain overly-reliant on labour-intensive, paper-heavy manual processes.

Imagine you’re producing a new brochure. Even if the end result is a pdf or other soft copy, it’s highly likely that you will print off hard copies to proof. As will your Compliance team, and probably your business teams too.

Someone – usually a Marketer – then has to collate a number of hard copy edits and send them back to the design agency.

Some of these changes will be due to non-compliant content – wording that your Compliance team will pick up on and reject. Some will be typos or subjective comments about the design of the document.

Take a look at your own processes – where do you waste time? Where are processes inefficient – for instance, do you have numerous people making the same edits to documents?

How can you cut down on the need for rework and administration?

Once you’ve identified the areas where your team’s time is wasted, how can you address them?

If you take each area in turn, you can look at why work is repeated and what you can do about it.

The problem: designed documents need a lot of work to meet your expectations

The solution: better briefing of external agencies

The need for multiple changes at first proof stage can be indicative of inadequate briefing – a breakdown in communications between Marketing team and agency. Read our 10 steps to success in agency briefing for tips on getting better results from your agency relationships.

The problem: content is rejected by your Compliance team

The solution: understand what they are looking for to write 'right first time' content

Having content knocked back by your Compliance team is an occupational hazard for regulated Marketers – and can create lots of admin and rework. But there are ways round it. Understand the FCA’s financial promotion rules so that you can write content that your Compliance team can approve first time.

This can be a particular problem for professional services firms, where a wide range of people are often responsible for producing marketing content. Find out how to tell if your financial promotions are out of control – and what to do about it.

Also look at whether creating a searchable online library of pre-Compliance-approved wording, data and other content could help to reduce the amount of work you – and your Compliance team – have to do in reviewing already-approved content. Often, 90% of presentations, brochures and other content has already been signed off. Find ways to identify the new content that needs review and approval, and you’ll dramatically reduce your admin mountain.

The problem: concurrent reviews create duplication of effort

The solution: find ways to make reviewing more efficient

When a number of people or teams review documents concurrently, version control can be a nightmare. Marketing teams tend to be the victims of this duplication of effort, spending time to collate a large number of changes and ensuring that they’re all picked up.

Read our 6 proven ways to make your approval process better for tips on breaking out of this pattern so that you can produce quality content in less time.

The problem: manual processes waste time and effort

The solution: consider automating your marketing activity to streamline your approach

Automation can reduce marketing and compliance admin, as well as speeding up your approvals process. It can mandate Compliance team approval, reducing the risk of regulatory breaches and improving brand consistency.

Automating your processes can also improve the delivery of your marketing activity, as well as upgrading your sign-off processes. Read more about how you can improve your approach through automation. If this is a route you want to explore, you might also want to find out how to get buy-in for a marketing automation project and read our 10 questions you need to ask when comparing automation solutions.

Automation in action - tangible reductions in wasted time

To read more about how automation can deliver tangible efficiency improvements, you can download the short case study we mentioned earlier.

It shows how the Nottingham Building Society:

  • Saved their Marketing and Compliance teams 1500 hours a month by reducing the approval process from 3 days to 1 day per promotion
  • Slashed the time spent on administration by 80%
  • Improved project management, enabling business growth and increased promotional activity without the need to increase staff levels
  • Reduced their risk of breaching internal rules and external regulations
  • Saved £1,800 on internal printing costs in the first 6 months of going paperless

 You can download a free copy here.

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