Marketing workflows are essential for getting work done right the first time, every time. And with the current pandemic, more and more teams realize the benefits of online collaboration to remove procedural bottlenecks and optimize performance as they work remotely.
In the FAQ below, the Loomly Team answers all your questions about marketing workflows.
Table Of Content
- What is a marketing workflow?
- What is a marketing workflow process?
- What is the difference between a marketing workflow and a marketing process flow?
- What is a marketing workflow example?
- Why is a marketing workflow important for your team?
- Who should implement a marketing workflow?
- How do you write a marketing workflow process?
- What is a marketing workflow diagram?
- How do you create a marketing workflow diagram?
- What are the 3 basic components of a marketing workflow?
- What are the key steps of a marketing workflow?
- Who should be involved in a marketing workflow?
- What is a good marketing workflow tool?
- How do you simplify a marketing workflow?
- How do you automate a marketing workflow?
- How can technology improve your marketing workflow?
What is a marketing workflow?
A marketing workflow is a sequence of interdependent steps that together define a repeatable marketing process. When you design a workflow, you set the order of steps (tasks or actions) and identify the dependencies, rules, and requirements.
You can characterize marketing workflows as:
- Having multiple people from different teams and departments
- Working together towards a common goal across multiple steps
- With defined roles, expectations, and deadlines.
Workflows help you streamline the way your team works, and can help to reduce mistakes, save money, and improve the overall quality of a piece of work or project.
What is a marketing workflow process?
A marketing workflow process is a series of sequential tasks that are carried out based on predefined rules or conditions to achieve a specific business outcome.
What is the difference between a marketing workflow and a marketing process flow?
A marketing workflow is a sequence of interdependent steps that together define a repeatable marketing process.
A process, on the other hand, is a set of repeatable activities that need to be carried out to achieve a specific business outcome.
So a workflow implies finishing a specific task, whereas a process involves accomplishing an organizational goal.
What is a marketing workflow example?
Workflows can be illustrated as a series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a checklist or diagram.
For example, this content creation workflow shows each role in a “swimlane,” where you can see the progression of tasks across roles (vertically) and over time (horizontally):
But you could illustrate a similar process in a workflow diagram with decision trees and repeat processes if the editor rejects the content:
Why is a marketing workflow important for your team?
A marketing workflow can bring several benefits to your team:
1. Increases efficiency
A strategically planned workflow should help you get more done in less time. A centralized workflow reduces interruptions from countless emails and streamlines the approval process as everyone can see the current status.
2. Defines responsibilities
Optimized workflows remove ambiguity around who is responsible for which tasks and deadlines. Your team can see the status of every task and project, and every team member knows what they need to do and what or who their work depends on.
3. Avoids errors
An effective workflow can ensure errors don’t happen by allowing the time and space to approve each update. Having an extra layer helps you avoid:
- Overspending the budget.
- Liability issues.
- Incorrect product information.
- Inaccurate sales messages.
- Brand-damaging content.
4. Builds consistency
Having a consistent set of steps to follow for every project means they all get the attention they need. You’ll have all the files, assets, and collateral in place for each campaign to meet your branding guidelines every time.
5. Improves visibility
When workflows are mapped out and shared in one place, everyone stays in the loop and holds one another accountable. Everyone can see the current status of each project, and managers can see what their staff is working on and check if there are any roadblocks.
6. Identifies areas for improvement
When you have a marketing workflow, you can examine the process and understand where you are winning and losing. When things go wrong, you can diagnose where the problem occurs and start to make improvements, such as allowing more time or assigning more resources.
7. Improves project management
A workflow keeps your team on track, so you don’t have to micro-manage. You can see at a glance what the team is working on. Instead of getting bogged down in details, you can focus on new projects.
Who should implement a marketing workflow?
A marketing workflow should be defined and implemented by the marketing team, in collaboration with other teams involved in each stage.
- Ideation: product and marketing teams
- Creation: the marketing team
- Proofing: product, HR, and legal teams
- Publication: the marketing team
- Review: all teams
How do you write a marketing workflow process?
Workflows can be illustrated as a series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a checklist or a workflow diagram.
What is a marketing workflow diagram?
A marketing workflow diagram is a visual representation of a workflow typically done through a flowchart. It uses the standard symbols to describe the exact steps needed to complete a process, as well as pointing out the individuals responsible for each step.
Here’s an example of a content creation workflow diagram:
Following the flow of the diagram, these are the steps:
- The writer creates a draft of the article and sends it to the editor.
- The editor either approves the article and passes it to the designer or sends it back to the writer with instructions on what to fix.
- Once the article is approved, the designer creates the appropriate visual assets (as per the writer’s instructions) and sends it to the marketer.
- The marketer uploads the article to a CMS, like WordPress, and optimizes it for search. [At this stage, there’d probably be another workflow for sharing and promoting the content.]
How do you create a marketing workflow diagram?
Before you start creating a marketing workflow diagram, you should be familiar with the main symbols:
- Rectangle: the process or task to be executed.
- Oval: the start or endpoint of the process.
- Diamond: a decision or approval point, which creates an either/or direction of the flow.
- Parallelogram: represents an input or output.
- Arrow: the connecting directional line between the shapes above.
There are a few ways to create a marketing workflow diagram:
Pen and paper – the simplest option is to draw the workflow with a pen and paper, or if you were in a planning meeting, you could use a whiteboard.
Workflow management software – the next option is similar to the flowchart software, but has extra features. For example, Tallyfy lets you keep track of the workflow online, automate specific steps, and identify bottlenecks through analytics.
What are the 3 basic components of a marketing workflow?
A marketing workflow is made up of three basic components.
Steps are the processes or tasks in the workflow. They explain what happens at each stage of the workflow until the endpoint. For example, one step might be: “The writer creates a draft of the article and sends it to the editor.”
Steps may be manual or automated according to the workflow. For example, in an email marketing workflow, one automated step might be: ”Send a follow-up email after 3 days.”
Stakeholders are the people responsible for executing specific steps in the workflow. For example, in the content creation workflow, the stakeholders might be a writer, a designer, an editor, and a marketer.
Stakeholders can be assigned to individual steps of the workflow, a group of steps, or the whole workflow.
In some workflows, the steps are entirely automated, so stakeholders aren’t required. In other workflows, a stakeholder might only be required under specific conditions or when problems arise.
Conditions, or rules, determine when a particular step is completed and what the next step should be. Conditions are most useful for approval-type workflows where some steps are skipped based on the information. For example, an editor reviews a writer’s work and either suggests changes to the writer or approves it to pass to the designer.
What are the key steps of a marketing workflow?
A marketing workflow typically has the following key steps:
- Ideation: generating ideas for your marketing campaign.
- Creation: creating the various parts of your content.
- Proofing: ensuring the updates are error-free.
- Publication: scheduling and promoting content.
- Review: interpreting the data and assessing performance to inform the next iteration.
Who should be involved in a marketing workflow?
In short, whoever needs to execute a task should be involved in a marketing workflow.
For starters, the marketing team, in its broadest sense, should take part in the workflow. For example, this could include a brand manager, project manager, social media manager, graphic designer, copywriter, illustrator, and CMO.
However, depending on the size of your organization, this could extend to several other teams, including:
- Sales: to check the correctness of any sales messages.
- Product: to check the accuracy of product information.
- HR: to ensure the updates are in line with company policy.
- Finance: to ensure there are no budget issues.
- Legal: to ensure there are no liability issues.
- Third-Parties: any clients, agencies, or contractors you may be working with.
The key here is that team members from the different departments collaborate on the project and contribute to the overall success of the workflow.
What is a good marketing workflow tool?
There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing workflow tool. It’s a case of choosing the right tool for the right job that actually helps teams collaborate and implement actionable workflows.
Here are a few marketing workflow tools to consider:
Filestage for asset management workflow
Filestage helps marketing operations managers and their teams collect accurate feedback from internal and external stakeholders, such as agencies and freelancers. You can confidently move through your workflow, knowing that all files go through a consistent proofing process with a timestamped and documented approval from all stakeholders.
HubSpot for marketing automation workflow
HubSpot has a suite of marketing automation tools that can help you reduce time on repetitive tasks. For example, you can use each lead’s behavior to tailor emails, content, offers, and outreach. You can also automatically change content based on who’s viewing your landing page.
Loomly for social media workflow
Loomly’s brand success platform allows teams to collaborate, publish, and measure their social media content in one central location. The collaborative review and approval workflow sends notifications when someone in your team updates or comments on a piece of content, so you can make sure everyone on your team is on board each step along the way.
Mailchimp for email marketing workflow
Mailchimp is a good choice for mastering your email marketing workflows. You can create personalized automated marketing workflows for each of your leads and send trigger-based messages about ecommerce transactions.
Storychief for content marketing workflow
Storychief lets your team centralize and distribute more quality content to grow your audience and generate more leads. You can save time by creating and publishing your content in one place.
Ahrefs for SEO workflow
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset that can help with keyword research, competitor research, backlink analysis, rank tracking, and site auditing. The tools are ordered in a logical way to help shape the various stages of your SEO workflow.
How do you simplify a marketing workflow?
You can simplify a marketing workflow by making sure:
- You have the right tool for the job.
- All and only the persons who need to be involved are actually involved.
- All and only the tasks that are critical to delivering the output of the workflow are included.
For example, using spreadsheets to manage editorial calendars is not the right tool for the job, and can be simplified by using a tool like Loomly.
How do you automate a marketing workflow?
How can technology improve your marketing workflow?
Here are 7 ways technology can improve your marketing workflow:
1. Improve collaboration
Storing your marketing workflows online gives you a central repository with up-to-date information that facilitates better collaboration between teams and reduces emails.
2. Increase speed
Automation tools that trigger the next step once the previous one is complete will speed up workflows.
3. Review bottlenecks
Using technology helps to identify bottlenecks in the workflow. For example, you can review why a particular step takes so long.
4. Allocate resources
A centralized workflow tool helps you see what needs to be done and who’s responsible for getting it done. You can also identify and solve any problems that may arise in a particular workflow.
5. Improve efficiency
Using a centralized workflow tool makes it easier for cross-functional teams to collaborate on the design and execution of processes.
6. Optimize performance
If you build a test, learn, and review loop into your marketing workflow, you’ll be able to evaluate and optimize the performance – e.g. produce better content.
7. Integrate with other tools
Your marketing workflow tool should integrate with other marketing tools so you can exchange content or data and optimize your marketing processes.
Marketing Workflow in a Nutshell
Marketing workflows help you streamline the way your team works. They improve cross-functional collaboration, help to reduce production errors, save money, and improve the overall quality of a piece of work or project.