What marketing leaders want the most, aside from probably a good night’s sleep or strong cocktail, are new customers. That’s according to the 2017 OnBrand State of Branding Report. The path to new customer acquisition, though, takes a few sharp turns in 2017, encompassing different touchpoints, technologies, and “always on” strategies.

No matter how a marketing leader plans on getting there, it will undoubtedly involve digital content—lots of it. The problem is that many companies’ strategies don’t fully realize how to create, manage, and share content in a way where it can be delivered to all customer endpoints in a timely, scalable fashion.

Improving content operations is all about knowing what different software tools have to offer, and how they can integrate with your workflow, your company, and your brand. It’s about building a crystal clear use case and having that vision before signing on the dotted line.

Here are five questions any marketing leader should be asking in order to optimize the content lifecycle:

Do we have transparency and collaboration?

Does everyone on the team use the same central portal to find and share content? When, for instance, a logo or video is needed, can marketing find it? Can designers send files to the portal without having to download and re-upload, and can the admins go in and see what the usage metrics are around individual assets?

Or is it more of the opposite? Are people asking for files via email, referring back to old emails or Slack messages looking for something that was shared? Does your team keep important pieces of content siloed on their desktops as opposed to somewhere that’s accessible company-wide. When asked, do people struggle to confidently say how much, or how little, individual files have been downloaded?

Is our brand safe?

A brand is an awfully tough thing to scale. The bigger your reach gets, the more content and collateral you need to keep up—and it all has to fit within the brand strategy and identity. The operations around making that happen are always more complicated as the brand gets bigger. Ask:

  • Do all the channels that need brand identity have it, or do they at the very least have means to get those assets? 

  • When an agency or party outside of the company’s four walls need a logo, are they getting it from a public brand guidelines page?

  • Conversely, do only the appropriate parties have access to valuable brand materials and proprietary content?

  • Is there a sense of order with how content is distributed across the company’s greater “network”?

Or is it more of the opposite?Do different stakeholders have to ask in one-off threads for official brand assets, and do they also have to ask if these assets are the latest version or not? Is agency or client collaboration a hurdle in getting projects completed? Could someone in theory download and publish something that would be harmful to the brand and the company?

Are we spending time efficiently?

When it comes to the content lifecycle, time spent should be considered at the micro—as well as macro—level. How long does it take to find or share a single marketing file? What is the average project duration, and can those averages be brought down by introducing automation to the entire workflow? One of our clients, for instance, was able to save 2,080 hours, or the equivalent of one full-time employee, by adopting a centralized brand portal where all campaign, lifestyle, and product images could be uploaded, categorized, and then found.

Or is it more of the opposite? Do team members waste time on emails over a fragmented, manual creation process? Or even worse, is there too much waiting in the process? For example: waiting for a team member to respond because he/she is the only one with access to certain content.

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Do other departments love marketing?

The rest of the organization doesn’t always see the hard work or creative effort put into generating marketing content. They just see the output. So the question becomes: how easy is it for the rest of the organization to access and download that marketing output for their specific purposes? Can the sales team download all the content that they need to do their job, while also being restricted from content that shouldn’t be put in front of customers?

Or is it more of the opposite? Do other departments always have to ask for content on a one-off, manual basis. And when they get tired of asking, do they just go ahead and use something without knowing if it’s approved for use or not?

Are content platforms integrated across the martech ecosystem?

How does content move across the existing tech ecosystem and workflow? Does it move from system to system, or from system to desktop to system? Can creatives make updates to files in the creative suite rather than manually update them each time in the company-wide brand portal?

Or is it more of the opposite? Is content uploaded and downloaded to each marketing solution individually, such as the creative suite, the CMS, or the e-commerce platform? Does every software tool feel more like a standalone solution, rather than a piece of the bigger content lifecycle chain?

Our DAM for the modern marketer provides an overview for a marketing leader on how content should be produced, managed, and shared by a marketing team for maximum efficiency. A modern digital asset management solution is content management the way marketers are used to working: visual, easy-to-use, and search-driven.

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