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How Percolate Uses Percolate to Solve for Fragmented Planning
“At every stage we must ask – will this help stimulate great work that works?”
—Martin Weigel, Head of Planning at Wieden + Kennedy
Oftentimes, the answer to that question is no. As marketers, we spend more time than we realize on time management, often unaware that the routine tasks we carry out without second thought are the ones inhibiting us from doing great work. On Percolate’s marketing team, among our biggest pain points was fragmented communication: the rabbit hole of endless meetings, email chains, and “check-ins.” The solution? We needed a central place to record all our projects and the conversations around them. Similarly, we needed to find a central “workshop” of sorts for our creative campaigns, balance them across multiple channels, and finally, make sure Marketing’s West Coast hub could be in the loop on everything.
In our first post in this series, we gave you the 30,000 foot view of how our entire marketing team uses Percolate as our System of Record for planning through production, distribution, and monitoring our activities. This post and the ones following will break down what we call the “marketing clock” — or the framework we use to outline all the operations of a marketing team. We’ll dive into how individuals and teams within the department lean on The System of Record at each phase of their workflow.
Balancing the Short- and Long-term
Focusing on the day-to-day and pushing content out daily could sometimes obscure our long-term view. This goes back to managing stock and flow — as explained in our first post — the way we think about balancing the the long-term, evergreen brand campaigns and with more sustained, day-to-day executions respectively. To execute on our marketing vision, it’s crucial we maintain a healthy mix of long- and short-form content, product marketing collateral, and branded events.
In the quest to manage stock and flow, we needed a marketing calendar that didn’t just live in our heads — or in a shared file — but one that was a living, breathing document that could change anytime, automatically, without posing concerns about version control.
Enter Percolate’s Planner. If plans change, the Planner adapts for that flexibility and communicates this change to our entire team.
Our team has found multiple uses for the Planner across functional areas. For instance, our editorial team uses it to “budget” its content, sorting editorial mix by topic, channel, and author. We use topics and tags to organize our ever-growing volume of content: the taxonomy we’ve created also gives us a visual overview of content by category, so we can immediately flag if we’re creating too much content within a certain category.
Our events manager keeps the team up to speed on any events she’s planning on the calendar. She works with our editorial and ads team to ensure their content is aligned with any upcoming events.
Fixing the Fragmented Communication Problem
Status updates, progress reports, and one-line emails are creativity’s worst enemy. Tracking progress on any one project became a challenge as our team took on larger, more sophisticated creative undertakings like advertising campaigns that required expertise on the copywriting, design, and media planning fronts. There was an immediate need to eliminate time-consuming, scattered communication on instant message and email (and the occasional shout-out across the room) to make room for the real meat: creating the content itself.
Instead of communicating over scattered channels, we’ve moved to having conversations within the Activity Stream on the Planner: allowing comments directly within briefs, keeping creative feedback in one place. And this way, there’s total transparency into the progress of a project: approvers, creators, and other collaborators all coming back to the same communication hub. (It has also helped us stick to our 15-minute meeting rule.)
Making a Home for In-House Advertising
Our advertising is created in-house: it’s something we’re proud of, and we had to build workflows to support this addition to our creative capabilities. The biggest hurdle was finding a place to track our ad campaigns across out-of-home, digital, and print channels.
The Planner lets Megan Hilbert, our advertising lead, organize ad campaigns by channel, sorting by print and digital (and, most recently, audio, as we’ve moved into podcast advertising.) Moreover, adding a custom row to the Planner just for advertising gives the entire team visibility into how we’re going about building our brand.
Cutting the Wait on Approvals
Campaigns can’t move into production without the green light: the okay to publish a blog post, or the go-ahead to buy ad space or execute on designing an ad. Instead of having approvals become an obstacle to progress, we addressed it through Percolate.
Creative directors, editors, and anyone in a project approver role has a zoomed-out view of the editorial, advertising, or events calendar when reviewing campaigns and the creative within them (we’ll explore this in detail when we look at Percolate’s use of Percolate for briefing and governance.)
Managing Team Expansion
A key part of our growth is expanding across the U.S. and globally. As we build out Marketing on the West Coast — and soon, in Europe and Asia Pacific — it’s more important than ever that remote teams have the same visibility into Marketing activities.
Our Planner ensures marketers in different time zones can see date, time, and place specifics for marketing activities across channels. With visibility into the Activity Stream, our newest VP of Marketing, Dave King, is involved in every project from the get-go. We’re excited to have Marketing expand beyond New York, and to have our workflows expand alongside.
We’re big believers in shipping. One of our values is Shipping > Not Shipping, reflecting that our work is oriented towards delivery. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that a lot of our projects have quick turnaround times; Percolate saves us time by keeping everyone on the same schedule while ensuring high quality in our content-, product-, and customer marketing.
Looking for a better way to plan and organize your campaigns and content? Click here to learn more about Percolate’s industry-leading marketing calendar.