Tools + People = Alignment (And Happy Marketers)

Streamlining People, Processes and Tools in your Digital Marketing

By Kyle Parsons and Greg Bear 

One of the most common frustrations we hear from digital marketers is the long road between the conception of a new tactic and launch. After expending effort crafting a piece of content geared toward a specific goal or campaign, they’ll have to wait weeks or even months as a piece moves through various hands, teams, departments, and approvals before it’s finally published and on the website. Publishing content on the web should be incredibly easy to streamline.

The Bear Group team helps build websites–on CMS or eCommerce platforms–that make the publication and content management aspect of marketing much easier by putting the publication and management tools directly in the hands of marketers themselves. No more waiting for IT to do a code push, or design to craft a layout for you.

However, as Kyle Parsons (Partner at OpsVantage) and our team have noticed, a streamlined content production process isn’t achieved with just technology alone. It takes effort to improve the efficiency of your digital marketing and requires change both online and offline.

We spoke with Kyle and discussed the two sides of this problem that we often encounter on the web development front and the internal infrastructure of businesses.

What Your Digital Marketing Looks Like Today, and What it Should Look Like

Custom Code of a Static Website

The chart above (Static Website) shows a process that you may be familiar with – the path a piece of content has to follow before receiving the approval it needs to go live.

Content Management System Dynamic Website

This chart (Dynamic Website) shows the streamlined path of websites once they’ve been rebuilt to be more accessible to marketers. Modern CMS’s–such as Drupal, Squarespace, or Wordpress–are built to allow content marketers to manage a custom, enterprise-level website directly by making updates to their websites as easily as you updating a LinkedIn profile.

For us (developers), building the technology is really the easy part. Once the technical process of management has changed, the workflow may still resemble what it was when marketing was managing content through a static website. It’s the operational and team changes that often are the real hurdle. It’s a situation that Kyle encounters often.

“Harness the power of content management with clear processes to make everyone’s job clearer and set a foundation for improvement or evolution in response to market conditions. [You have to] realize the full potential of powerful tools with new processes, expose your processes to your team as a foundation to drive improvements, create a process that clearly sets out your promotion process, so everyone understands their role and fit with the rest of the team, and create a process that describes site performance improvement cycle so everyone (including executives) understand their role in the process.”

Where a Slow Infrastructure is Becoming a Blocker to Your Content Marketing

Once you’ve published a piece of content, you continue to monitor its success, seeing how it affects conversions and SEO. Just because it’s published doesn’t mean it becomes static–it’s likely that you’ll want to adapt to user behavior once you’ve gained enough insight. That adaptation requires a quick reaction while the content is still new and relevant. This type of iterative approach–which is a key to success in digital marketing–becomes extremely difficult if you require the same chain of approval.

Allow Tech Culture to Influence Company Culture

One of the biggest lags on current content marketing strategies is that older business infrastructure restricts people and departments to silos.

The older process of writing a new piece of content in a Word doc, passing it to a HTML slinger inside the IT department to convert it to a web page, then passing it back to a marketing manager for a final review before having to pass it back to IT for deployment.

This painfully slow process negatively affects team morale, provides little in the way of failsafes, and doesn’t take advantage of the productivity improvements created by new website tech.

Efficiency, productivity, team moral, empowerment–these are some of the words we hear from organizations who have taken the time to deconstruct a multi-step cross-department publishing process and turn it into a modern day digital marketing machine. But it takes new tools, and most importantly, adjustments in process and responsibility.