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How to Get Ahead of One-off Requests

By Jody Scheldt, 8/5/2015

AheadofOneoffRequestsPing. Ping. Ping. That’s the sound of your email arriving.

The subject line reads “Urgent Request: Ad Resize.” Next subject line: “Request: Tradeshow Graphics Needed- German.” Both due dates happen to be in 48 hours, which means you’ll need to get these in to the design team immediately, work on them in between meetings and push that creative brief your agency is waiting on until you finish these one-off requests.

How often does this happen? All the time. According to a survey done by Workflow (as seen in this pretty infographic), “60% percent of workers are either completely overwhelmed or barely meeting their deadlines.” In corporate marketing, whether you’re a manager, graphic designer or CMO, you similarly want to reduce the amount of “fire drills” that occur on a daily basis.

Put Data to Good Use

When those urgent requests inevitably come in, data-driven metrics give you visibility into what marketing materials are leading to your overall success. Often, traditional corporate marketing processes don’t allow for the modern analytics available to marketers today. Sure your company may have purchased several new technologies that collect data, but it takes a revamp of the existing process to ensure that this data is being used in the development and review of your marketing activities, rather than decisions being based on past experience or on a designated individual’s instinct. Adding a step for data review in the pre and post-production stages and building it in to a regular reporting schedule allows you to identify the performance of your best and worst assets. Low performers can be reworked or eliminated, increasing efficiencies in the development process and allowing you to prioritize based on past success.

Prioritize Tasks Clearly

“As you go to a matrixed structure, you can easily have between one and seven immediate supervisors,” says Robert Sutton, professor of management science and engineering at Stanford, in the Harvard Business Review. Multiple bosses are a huge challenge for prioritizing work since each one has different goals, which can leave you with a list of all #1 ranked tasks. By using data from your internal activities as well as customer-centric data, you can determine what projects align to your business goals and drive success.

Hours spent trafficking one-off requests for banner ad resizes or hours spent collaborating on a tradeshow booth graphic may hold varying value to your organization when you know that “The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%.” Source: DoubleClick and that “For the fourth year in a row, B2B marketers rank in-person events as the most effective tactic used.” Source CMI 2014 B2B Marketing Research. Sharing data that supports your organization’s business goals in your meetings and with your managers communicates your list of priorities simply and effectively.

Stop Being the Bottleneck

While incorporating an updated review process and establishing priorities are important, that doesn’t mean the ping of one-off requests hitting your inbox will stop anytime soon. Moving each request to the next step toward completion takes thought and time, meaning projects pile up on your desk and now you’re the bottleneck.

Using a combination of project management and field enablement tools can help you reduce the amount of projects hitting your desk by allowing those you support (sales, regional marketing, partners, remote offices, franchises) to access marketing material relevant to their region on a self-serve basis. There are many free tools available for small to medium sized organizations, and if you’re supporting a large organization, more robust solutions with an associated cost. Thanks to powerful features and integrations, most platforms can be tailored to the needs of your team.

Need pre-approved banner ads or emails that can be modified locally? Marketing customization software allows you to deliver assets to requestors on their schedule with the ability to edit as needed.

Did your boss request that you provide a report on the ROI of the email campaign that ran last quarter? A good marketing automation system is capable of providing reports with differing date ranges that show where conversions are happening that translate into revenue.

Strategize Again

Giving those you support the freedom to get the materials they need without going through you or your department means less one-off requests hitting your inbox and an improved experience for the field teams. Moving out of an “order-taking” mindset allows you to spend more time on building your marketing strategy and less time sifting through your inbox.

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