From Tagline to Talk
Although Strata doesn’t specifically create and implement branding services, we work with and use brand standards to create marketing materials day in and day out. We’ve seen great (and not so great) brands, and know what makes a brand stand out among competitors. Branding isn’t just a buzz word – it’s important no matter how big or small your company. It isn’t simply a logo and consistent colors – although it is these things. It’s also the way you make your customers feel, the experiences you provide, and the language you use to describe your products and services. Whether it’s known or faintly and unknowingly distinct, you have a brand and an image you’re putting out there…but is it purposeful? And is it the right one? We’re bringing you some best practices to make sure your brand truly matches the product or service you offer.
What is Branding?
Today, in a vast plethora of options to choose from no matter what industry, using tools to distinguish your business, from your logo to your services, is more important than ever. A brand is what helps you set your company apart from other businesses. It’s “a feature or set of features that distinguish one organization from another…typically comprised of a name, tagline, logo or symbol, design, brand voice, and more.” But it isn’t just the visuals. It’s the feeling and experience the customer gets from interacting with your business, whether that’s in person, on the phone, on social media, on your website, or somewhere else. Branding, as an action, is setting up these features, from tagline to talk. It involves understanding your product, why customers love it, and catering to those current and future customers with a distinct and memorable experience. “It’s what transforms first-time buyers into lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists.”
Why is Branding so Important?
Even if you don’t think you do, you definitely have a brand. Maybe your customers say “I love that company. Every time I call their customer service is kind, and their products make me feel great. I also love their cute and simple logo. I’d definitely buy a t-shirt.” There’s your brand right there. Your customers perceive these brand elements, have reactions to them, and choose to give you additional business. Yet, the smallest of hiccups can ruin a brand. A few wrong moves or interactions with unpleasant employees can cause your business to be looked at a lot differently, and can change the experience for everyone. It’s important to know, understand, and nurture this brand to continue to grow – and not lose – your customer base. Branding can help you “establish the ways in which you’re different, special, and unique. And it shows your customers why they should work with you instead of your competitors.”
Visuals are of course just as important as feelings. Especially now, in 2021, brands are urged to reach further in their experimentation and uniqueness, creating eye-catching logos, websites, social media imagery, and merch. More and more, companies are expected to be “instagrammable” in their image. Kids, teens, and even adults are intrigued by the idea of getting a good photo for their social accounts. Not every store or business has to attempt this atmosphere, but there should still be some thought behind who you want to be and how you want to be seen.
Simply put, branding gives your company an identity, makes it memorable, helps you create and solidify marketing, and gives your employees and fans something to talk about and be proud of. It can increase the value of your company to give you more leverage in the industry, and thoroughly establishes trust (for partner brands and customers alike). Basically, you’ll look a lot more professional if your brand isn’t just an accident, but is planned, deliberate, and easily recognizable.
Does Your Brand Match Your Product/Service?
Now that you know its importance, take a minute to think about your brand. Does it match who your company is, your products and/or services, and the feeling you hope your customers get when they interact with your business? Does it portray the taste, the look, the feel, the scent, the sounds of whatever you sell? If your answer is “no” or even “I’m not sure,” it may be time to dig a bit deeper into what exactly you’re putting out there for the world to see, digest, and associate with your company.
Maybe you’d describe your company as traditional and authentic. The original idea for your product dates back to the mid 1900s. Don’t hesitate to promote and communicate this in the imagery and messaging of your marketing materials. Maybe use a traditional typeface, a nostalgia-inspired logo, and incorporate some authentic, vintage music into your videos. Oppositely, maybe you’d classify your company as new-age, experimental, unique, trendy, and fun. Use modern branding styles, popular music, and distinctive, trendy content to further create a stylish and hip experience that matches your product.
Psychologically, humans don’t like to think too hard. They like when things are easy to decide on, and when they make sense. Make their decision easy by providing great customer service with a great product or service. Combine multiple unified brand elements so their brain can relax and enjoy the environment. Humans are also terrified of missing out (hello FOMO) – so create a branded experience that’s too good to pass up (aka, inspires FOMO). Make sure your business has a distinguishing look and feel that makes customers (or even potential employees) want to talk about it and brag about it – whether by word of mouth or through a hashtag.
Before starting your next campaign, use this knowledge to think just a bit deeper into your products or services and the story you’re sharing with the world. Make sure your company’s identity is not only one that you’re proud of, but one that exemplifies your offerings and differentiation from competitors. If you’re looking to improve the reach of your brand, contact Strata today to set up an on-brand campaign that utilizes crafted messaging that will help capture and inspire new and returning customers.
Why We Decided to Refresh Our Brand
Over the last three decades, we’ve done a lot of amazing things for a lot of amazing clients. We’ve pioneered automated direct mailing processes, built custom correspondence management portals supplementing complex workflows, and we’ve moved mountains to ensure our customers could stay focused on what they do best. In Strata lingo: we’ve Made Smart Happen.
In fact, our services and solutions have evolved to the point where we felt they were being constrained by the visuals of our existing brand. As experts in removing roadblocks and bottlenecks, we recognized that this meant we needed to make a change. Think of it as a makeover, if you will. And yes, we know they say, “it’s what’s on the inside that matters,” but first impressions are lasting impressions and it never hurts to have a pretty, shiny exterior to match the high-caliber engine on the interior.
So, we saw a huge opportunity to show the world (not just our clients) our true colors. We’re marketing enthusiasts dedicated to innovation, collaboration, and top-notch service – we just needed our branding to confirm that.
To Rebrand or Refresh – That is the Question
If you’ve ever worked on a branding project before, then you know the first question that needs to be answered is, “do we rebrand or refresh?” A complete rebrand requires scrapping your current identify and starting with a fresh slate, where a refresh allows you to keep your main identity and strategy intact.
The answer for us wasn’t hard to find – our brand was strong with our current clients and we had a great reputation as problem solvers and solutions experts – so a refresh it was! I mean, just like you wouldn’t build a new house to change the color of a room, we didn’t need to start from the ground up to create a brand that mirrored our vision, our team, and our solutions.
Ready, Set, Go!
Fast forward to January 2020 and we’re in go mode. Ideas were flying, brainstorming was brewing, and I’ll be honest, it was a good couple week of chaos. Even as a group of marketing professionals, I don’t think any of us truly recognized the complexity and number of brains it would take to refresh our brand. In the end however, the initial chaos was beautifully orchestrated and the seeds of our new brand began to sprout.
True to the saying, the first step (the discovery phase) was definitely the hardest. It made us take a deep look at who we were so we could identify each conflicting detail between who we were at our core vs. who we were on paper. It involved a lot of long, honest conversations – but they’re conversations that needed to happen.
Then came the fun stuff. After breaking down our brand into a million essential pieces, we finally started to put it all back together and our new brand started to emerge. Our voice, values, mission, logo and brand standards all began to meld together and tell a single, cohesive story that was both accurate and elegant.
To Infinity, and Beyond
As you can tell, we’re pretty pumped about this new brand and it’s hard for us to picture ourselves any other way – it finally feels like were walking in the perfect pair of shoes.
The best part is, our new brand doesn’t really feel new to any of us. In fact, it’s exactly who we’ve always been – sleek, bold, and always moving forward. Although we don’t know exactly know where the future will take us, we know that we have the vision, mindset, solutions, and *now* the brand to mirror it all.
So, I pose this question to you – what do you think of our new brand? We hope you feel the same as us and that you’re ready to Make Smart Happen and #StrideWithStrata.
Four Strategies for B2B Marketers to Consider
In our last post, we visited some of the ways COVID-19 has impacted marketing and which advertising channels are producing results in our strange new world (and which aren’t).
We touched on some pretty simple concepts — customers are looking for greater value in their purchase, marketers need to lean into digital and direct mail in their omnichannel strategy, and COVID-19 is weird, but not the end of the world.
So how do we continue to get through it?
Here are four specific strategies B2B businesses can use to adapt in the current COVID climate.
1: Don’t Fade Away
Knee-jerk reactions are never good, particularly in the business world, and completely halting the presses may damage your brand visibility down the line.
If you need to take a break from promotional materials that simply don’t make sense during times of social distancing, by all means do so. Now might not be the time to buy a billboard or ad space at the airport.
That said, reinvesting some of those savings into techniques proven to be successful during the COVID crisis — like direct outreach via mailers, email campaigns or digital advertising — is paramount to coming out of this thing in a position of strength.
2: Double Down on Customer Engagement
In times of crisis, your customers are looking for comfort and reassurance — on some level, we’re all looking for that right now.
Look at this as an opportunity to confirm what your customers already knew about your brand. Show them when the chips are down, your business values its customers above all else by engaging them via social media interactions, email or whichever way they reach out.
3: Approach Uncertainty with Confidence in Your Messaging
There are effective and ineffective approaches to crisis management. An ineffective way to manage a crisis is to project a specific outcome and bank on it, leaving you open to catastrophe if things don’t go as planned.
Kind of how we ended up here in the first place.
An effective approach is to focus less on specific outcomes, and more on the range of outcomes. This doesn’t mean giving doomsday predictions equal credence at more optimistic projections. Instead, it means acknowledging uncertainty in your messaging and reassuring customers that your business is prepared for both the good and the difficult.
4: Get Smarter with B2B Outreach
For B2B business, this strategy might be the most important.
You can’t just send your outreach to the office — with many employees working remotely, it could very easily be a waste of a direct mail campaign.
So how do you make sure your outreach lands where it needs to?
It’s been simple: we’ve been comparing our account information against available customer databases, finding where we have overlaps and sending B2B marketing materials to the homes of decision makers.
So, there you have it, four strategies for B2B businesses to consider going forward. These times are tough, but with a strong focus on adaptive marketing — particularly in messaging and outreach strategies — we’ll make it through.
For more on how Strata can help your business stay strong through COVID-19, contact us today.
The Important Trend that Today’s Successful Marketers are Embracing
Marketers are always looking for best practices to maximize their marketing efforts, and there may be no better strategy than that of an integrated marketing approach.
An integrated approach to marketing is one that aligns and coordinates all marketing efforts across multiple departments to deliver a brand-consistent, customer-focused content experience as seamlessly as possible across all channels.
In this blog, we’ll detail the four reasons why marketers need an integrated approach, while also touching on the important role MarTech solutions play in these coordinated efforts.
Reason 1: Improve Operational Effectiveness
With time constantly at a premium and campaign launches always looming in the not-so-distant future, as marketers, time truly is money and there’s no greater waste than a loss of time due to inefficiency.
One of the greatest assets of an integrated approach to marketing has little to do with the customer, but rather how it encourages internal communication between departments. This is particularly true when it comes to the sharing of data to better understand your customer base.
In short, an integrated approach to marketing necessitates communication by default, giving you a better picture of the complete scope and results of your marketing efforts.
Reason 2: Brand Unification
Speaking of collaboration, integrated marketing is a great way to bring everyone on board to deliver one cohesive message, no matter what medium that message is delivered in.
An integrated approach to marketing encourages the breaking down of silos — the tendency to view marketing departments as self-contained islands, rather than collaborative partners — and often brings out the best in companies, encouraging collaboration.
This level of collaborative efforts ensures a fundamental internalization of your brand’s ethos across all marketing departments, resulting in a clearly defined message reaching your consumers.
Reason 3: Content as a Positionable Asset
An integrated approach to marketing has the unique ability to take generic content and work it into platform-specific content that will resonate best within its medium of delivery.
This means that your content becomes an asset, positionable like any other business IP and deliverable in different forms for different channels. It allows you to nail down your approach for blog content while positioning that same content differently for social media.
This flexibility allows you to take stock of all assets and tailor them to fit perfectly within an expansive, diverse campaign.
Reason 4: Creates a Seamless and Consistent Customer Experience
We all know that the name of the game is CX when it comes to modern marketing. We’re always looking to provide better, more convenient ways for our customers to interface with us in their chosen medium.
Whether that’s being more available via social media, sending direct mail with digital components, or simply reaching out with promotional emails, integrated marketing approaches all aspects of a diverse campaign with the same end goal — a fluid, intuitive customer experience facilitating communication and fostering brand/consumer relationships.
MarTech for Integrated Marketing
The right MarTech is important in making the most of an integrated approach to marketing, but it’s up to you to define your needs and select the appropriate technology to support your campaign.
There are many excellent automation platforms, which can be particularly helpful when it comes to MarTech for communications in a campaign utilizing an integrated marketing approach.
The Pay Off
So why shift to an integrated approach? The payoff is huge.
Amplifying a consistent message drives value. According to Kantar Millward Brown, integrated campaigns are 31 percent more effective at building brands than their single-channel counterparts, as it showcases a consistent brand over multiple channels, giving the audience a more complete view of the brand in different lights.
Even better? According to research by Gartner, integrated marketing campaigns that spread their efforts over four or more channels outperformed single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent.
Want to plan your integrated marketing campaign with the best tools available? Contact us to see what we can do for you.
Six More Marketing Tips to Help You Succeed in 2020
Welcome to Part 2 of our holiday marketing series, 12 Days of Smarter Marketing.
Let’s pick up where we left off with six more great tips to close out 2019 and start 2020 off on the right foot.
A/B Test Campaigns and Content
If you’re putting time and energy into the creation of campaigns and a steady stream of content, it’s crucial you’re getting the maximum return possible. This includes A/B testing different approaches to fine-tune your offerings for maximum effectiveness.
Take the opportunity to gather data on what’s working, what isn’t working and discovering why. It’s a simple strategy that will make a big impact on the overall performance of your future output.
Taking Control of Your Brand
The new year is a great time to implement new strategies and solidify standards when it comes to branding. Introducing style guides, for example, is a great way to ensure organization-wide consistency.
Creating a centralized marketing hub is another great way to maintain brand consistency. Housing resources like logos and content in one central location (along with other digital assets) is an excellent strategy to deliver a clear, on-brand message time and time again.
Try Something New
Try new things in the New Year. Exciting marketing options like dimensional mail may be the boost your marketing needs to stand out from the pack and get your message heard.
Similarly, new email campaign tactics — whether that’s formatting, tone, or core campaign concepts — can inspire creative evolution in tired, repetitive campaigns.
That said, it’s important to not lose sight of your brand. Make sure that the new move is a logical step for your brand and not a complete off-brand departure. Exploring a new direction while maintaining the crux of your brand is the ideal to strive for.
Educate (and Appreciate) Your Employees
There is little that’s more valuable to your business than the people who run it, and when those team members are happy, your business runs smoothly. Take time this holiday season to show appreciation to your employees.
Also be sure to take the New Year as an opportunity to go over clear goals, detail new missions, and run refreshers on standard operating procedures (or introduce new ones). This is an excellent time to brush up on training.
Keep Your Content Going Strong
Great content is the key to successful followings, and producing that content should be a priority for your business. Focusing on the quality of the content — the insight that it offers, the value it provides, and the way it reflects your brand.
The aspects above are what separates quality content from spam — the type of content put out for the sole purpose of putting something out or overly self-promotional purposes.
When you’re creating your next piece of content, make sure to ask yourself why you’re producing it and what value it provides for its end consumer. This type of questioning will ensure that your content is where it needs to be.
Continue to Evolve
The marketing world is ever-changing and “business as usual” is not a successful long-term business strategy. If you see something that isn’t working, change it, and don’t look back. Be fearless when it comes to taking thoughtful risks and deviating from the norm. It will pay dividends.
Get ahead of what your customers want in 2020 and give it to them before they ask. Embrace the change and watch your business continue to prosper.
At Strata, we wish you well going into the New Year and hope that your 2020 is full of innovation and prosperity.
To learn more about how we can help with your marketing solutions for 2020 and beyond, contact us.
Use Marketing Technology to Build Stronger Brands from Within
Marketers in healthcare systems juggle a myriad of brand assets across an array of media. From patient relations to internal signage to external communications, your logos, font and color systems, messaging, and content really are just that – an asset that holds and conveys the organization’s value.
As such, the way you manage your brand assets helps to build efficiencies across the organization. The right digital asset management system can streamline content production and delivery, build credibility with current and prospective consumers, and strengthen your organization’s culture from within.
Cost savings and culture building become especially important during a merger. Brand assets in transition require additional oversight; further, research has found that about 75 percent of M&A deals fail to deliver their expected value, often as a result of cultural onboarding issues. In addition, research by Adobe in 2017 found that 29 percent of healthcare organizations plan to prioritize content marketing in the next few years.
A digital asset management system offers numerous benefits to healthcare providers:
- Safely store, tag, and organize content including text, image files, audio and video files
- Design workflows to accommodate complex approvals processes and improve collaboration
- Store and retrieve data to better evaluate campaign performance
- Ensure HIPAA compliance and keep a clear audit trail for regulatory agencies
Clearly, finding and utilizing the best-fit brand asset management system can create a significant positive impact during a merger – even more so if you’re also ramping up content marketing efforts at the same time.
MRM: Digital Asset Management Pioneer
While digital asset management is a strong player in brand management, it often has limitations in the breadth of content management it offers. For instance, DAM systems don’t always tie to printed output or offer ecommerce for ordering warehoused inventory – capabilities that are critical to rebranding and mergers.
One early and still reliable form of digital asset management is marketing resource management (MRM), offering organizations a platform built on a centralized database from which assets can be created and managed in house. MRM systems can handle large amounts of content and a customized platform for the specific needs of a single organization. Such systems are particularly well suited to consolidating the diverse data and resources that come together in a merger.
Asset Management for Next-Gen Content and Workflows
The core advantage of marketing resource management is that it facilitates the comprehensive management of branded assets. Combined with a user-friendly interface, MRM allows content managers to maintain brand control, stay in compliance, increase production and distribution speed, and reduce waste.
Additional tools, such as MarCom On Demand, empower marketers throughout a given network to access content they need while still enabling managers to maintain brand quality and consistency. When you minimize miscommunications; reduce waste of time, effort, and money; and maximize transparency and freedom, you not only improve your marcom operation – you make a huge contribution to your merged brand’s credibility and culture.
CCM: Improving the Patient Experience with Customer Communications Management
Designed to support outbound patient communications, customer communications management (CCM) systems (such as the one Strata Company provides) enable healthcare organizations to automate the creation of brand-specific communications. Among its many capabilities, a CCM solution can, for instance, capture patient data, create unique profiles, and build one-to-one communications in real time. This allows you to streamline, simplify, and accelerate effective branded communications on a very large scale. Further, CCM enables you to meet deadlines more easily, minimize error, and ensure regulatory compliance.
The Next Step: Ensure Success in Your Brand Merger
Strata Company offers MarCom On Demand and Corspon to enable marketers to exceed expectations and overcome challenges involved in healthcare mergers and other complex transitions. We offer dynamic templates, 24/7 cloud-based secure access, tracking and reporting, and more. Contact us to learn more.
Quick Tips to Help Your New Mover Strategy
Capturing new mover market share depends on immediate outreach using an approach that elevates your business above the rest. This is a receptive audience ready to spend on new products and services.
But retailers face inherent challenges, including a limited window of time and a lot of competition from other businesses. Moreover, evolving consumer purchasing habits demand that retailers adjust traditional marketing approaches.
If you haven’t evaluated the effectiveness of your new mover program recently, it’s time to check that your strategy is up to date.
- Direct Mail: Timely, Targeted and Action-InspiringDespite skyrocketing consumer preferences for all things digital, direct mail is still the best method as an initial point of contact for reaching new movers. According to a report from Marketingprofs, an industry research and education firm, 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving a direct mail piece.
- Precision in-home dates: Timing is everything. Your “welcome” direct mailer has to reach new residents immediately, or you risk falling to the bottom of the mail pile. Retailers can gain an edge by partnering with a direct mail vendor who’s perfected targeted in-home dates.
- Clean data and list management: By nature, new mover mailing lists are in a constant state of flux and quickly become stale. Select a list vendor that sources from multiple providers and uses extensive hygiene practices to validate the accuracy of data.
- Personalized: Personalized direct mail commands higher response, agree industry leaders and researchers such as the Data and Marketing Association. Go beyond first names – mine your available data to include variables such as:
- Closest store
- Locator map
- Mileage to your nearest location
- Compelling offers: Include a strong call to action that’s hard for new movers to resist, and make it easy to for them to act on. Make them feel welcome and valued – present the offer as exclusive to their status as a new resident. For inspiration, check out this Target Marketing article that analyzes several successful direct mail approaches businesses use to market to new movers.
- Cross-channel Outreach to Crystalize Brand Presence
For maximum impact and continued engagement, new mover programs need strong follow-up via digital channels.
- Landing pages and PURLs: Directing new movers to eBRCs helps retailers build in-house email lists and track consumer preferences.
- Segmented email follow-up: Again, relevance and personalization are key: Consumers welcome emails they perceive as providing valuable information or offers, with open rates for segmented emails averaging 14.32% higher than non-segmented emails. Once you start collecting new mover email addresses and information on interests and preferences, you can send targeted offers and information, promote your customer loyalty program and stay in touch to nurture engagement.
- Online presence: New movers are using the Internet in ever-growing numbers to research goods and services. Establish a strong online presence with:
- Targeted digital ads served up to households on your mailing list
- Strong SEO practices
- Close monitoring of reviews and ratings
Join the Next Generation of New Mover Marketing
Strata Company, a Greater Philadelphia area marketing services and technology solutions company, has 25 years of experience creating and managing multi-channel new mover marketing campaigns. Our SmartMove program merges the power of physical and digital touchpoints so you can quickly reach the right audience and keep them engaged with your brand. Contact us to learn more.
4 Reasons You Need Cloud-driven Process Automation
While every business understands the need for standards, not all have taken the leap to technologies that help enforce them. Technologies with process management and automation at their core are ideal for setting standards in how campaigns are executed, customers are responded to, etc.
Long-term benefits are many and crucial, ultimately allowing businesses to stay competitive by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, eliminating errors, and fostering stronger internal collaboration, which in turn drives a better customer experience. They can also improve the alignment of everyday functions with top-level goals and strategy and allow greater agility.
A Central Repository for Standards, Assets and Workflow Management
The centralized access that process management oriented technology provides, coupled with features such as automated workflows, can eliminate common headaches related to the notorious “silo” approach. These include:
- Resources housed in disparate systems
- Approvals held up in email chains
- Compromised effectiveness of marketing, brand management and overall efficiency
On the other hand, process management solutions create a controlled space where defined business standards can be easily shared and accessed. Here’s a closer look at some of the top practices for cloud-based control of business standards, and immediate improvements organizations may notice.
- Share Brand Standards and Guidelines
Central storage of standards related to branding and asset usage helps companies present a more unified brand, providing:
- Improved brand consistency and recognition
- A more consistent customer experience
- Organization-wide commitment to brand compliance
- Faster delivery of brand assets to stakeholders
- Reduced backlog on marketing – central access means less time spent fulfilling requests for branded materials
- Set Creative Standards for Materials and Content
Through process management technology, the chance of off-brand, off-message collateral making its way to customers drops significantly. Using templates, marketing can define standards for photos, graphics, color palettes, messaging and other creative elements.Once templates are available in a single system, permission-based access allows users to customize them – without straying from the established visual brand and messaging.
- Set Timeline Mandates for Processes and Production Workflows
With centrally managed timelines, automated reminders, and deadline requirements for functions such as proofing, approvals and campaign execution, process management technology keeps stakeholders up to date on overall project status and individual tasks. These features allow companies to:
- Accelerate response to local markets
- Increase speed to market for time-sensitive campaigns
- Streamline formerly time-intensive workflows
- Place Controls on the Price of Goods
Besides saving on indirect costs related to improved efficiency, companies can also use process management technology to automatically set pricing by location, vendor, user or any other sort of variable. This immediately eliminates back-end manual processing on a case by case basis.Systems can be designed to allow for “controlled” variability; the price for the same good can be dependent on the user placing an order, or even the ship to location. All of this, however, is taking place on the back end and is never transparent to a user. Global corporations can instantly set different pricing in their e-commerce tool, taking a fully hands-off approach while ensuring compliance with business pricing standards and protecting their bottom line.
Why Process Management Should Live in the Cloud
As mentioned, businesses have long recognized the benefits of globally available standards and controlled processes – which is why many still rely on a home-grown intranet for this purpose or – more simply – documents that are shared and have to be constantly updated and communicated about.
But many businesses are choosing cloud-based applications for process management, opting for advantages including:
- Greater scalability
- Greater accessibility
- Increased mobility
- Decreased strain on IT departments
And custom-designed, cloud-based process management systems can offer the best of both worlds: the advantages of the cloud plus the ability to build in very specific elements unique to what makes your organization successful.
For over 20 years, Strata Company, a Greater Philadelphia area marketing, communications and technology firm, has collaborated with clients to develop solutions that help take their business to new heights. We help them realize the full value of their data via cloud-based tools customized to their business goals and objectives. Through our applications they realize efficiency gains, reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and gain competitive advantage.
Common Business Bottlenecks That Slow Your Growth To Success
If you find yourself constantly facing roadblocks that hold your business back, you’re not alone. Common bottlenecks related to complex processes, missed deadlines, and overextended marketing and IT departments threaten productivity and delay time to market.
Here are 5 ways to clear those bottlenecks to drive efficiency and free up resources.
- Identify Manual Tasks That Could Be Automated
By automating and streamlining small, repetitive tasks, businesses can realize greater gains in efficiency and productivity. For example, marketing departments can automate processes related to general fulfillment or campaign execution.Customer correspondence is another area traditionally overrun by manual tasks, such as preparation of data and other files. This not only consumes disproportionate time and resources, it also can expose organizations in regulated sectors (e.g., healthcare, finance) to costly compliance violations.Customer communications software can dramatically reduce error related to manual involvement by immediately capturing and transforming data into seamless communications output across multiple channels, including mail, email and fax.
- Tame Out-of-Control Approval Workflows
Email chains that stretch on and on… clunky attachments with conflicting feedback… reviewers who chronically miss deadlines… last minute-changes. It’s no wonder that by the time you secure sign-off, the project already seems out of date. Marketing workflow automation solutions can unjam the approval backlog. Users can access content within a cloud-based tool, and administrators can program workflow controls with automated alerts to notify reviewers that action is required.
- Provide Centralized Access to Marketing Content
How many hours per week do your employees spend searching for marketing assets? Chances are, the answer is “too many” if content is stored in multiple drives across multiple departments.On the other hand, a centralized, cloud-based library gives users near-instant access to a searchable catalog of digital marketing assets. Well-designed marketing resource management platforms feature such libraries, as well as enabling smarter campaign execution with list management, tracking and reporting capabilities.
- Create Relevant Content Faster with Compliant, Customizable Templates
Do marketing employees spend valuable time re-creating materials for sales reps or local marketers? This has the unfortunate effect of wasting time and opportunities. Marketing staff time is sacrificed, and meanwhile, the sales cycle stalls out during the waiting period – or reps proceed with rogue content that’s at risk of being irrelevant or off-brand.Dynamic templates created by corporate teams allow users to customize to their needs, while ensuring brand standards aren’t compromised and marketing staff time isn’t tied up. This provides the added benefit of aligning marketing and sales teams. Self-service access to customizable marketing collateral and sales presentations helps ensure instant follow-up on hot leads with up-to-date, approved information.
Or, for example, local marketing affiliates can more quickly execute a campaign tailored to regional audiences (but that preserves the national-level brand and messaging) by accessing corporate-approved templates and then customizing them on-site using local data.
- Improve Communication between Corporate and Local Marketing
Often, lagging communication between local and central marketing causes stagnation and lost opportunities. First things first: Keep regional marketers informed of top-level goals and how they can support the initiatives.Also, consider adopting local marketing automation (LMA) to streamline local-level campaigns. LMA solutions help corporate and local teams stay in synch with real-time access to customizable campaign collateral. They also relieve the burden on corporate to constantly re-create materials for regional locations.
Need Additional Guidance?
If these communication snarls sound familiar, but you’re wondering how to start untangling them, you’ll find a collaborative partner in Strata Company. For more than 20 years, we’ve helped clients identify gaps and redundancies that slow business operations. Through custom solutions as well as off-the-shelf software, we help our clients improve the speed and efficiency of business. Contact us to learn more.