The world of digital advertising and marketing is rampant with buzzwords like “artificial intelligence”, “the cloud”, “predictive analytics”, “programmatic” and many more. They all tease the idea that everything is done better, faster and cheaper by all-knowing robots and machines.

In that context, it may be surprising to hear that in digital advertising and marketing, work performed by your teams still matters. And it matters a lot.

Workflow starts at the beginning of the sales process. And many people think it affects salespeople most. But what about the rest of the organization? When there is no process, or a broken process, workflow affects the whole organization. This occurs at every level of the sales teams, operations and fulfillment teams, and perhaps is most disruptive to management and executive teams.

Let’s look at how workflow affects the organization through the price of time, management without measurement, and seeing the forest through the trees.

Time is Money

Digital advertising and marketing are complex and varied fields. Products and services range from SEM to SEO, social media management and advertising (potentially across six platforms) to email marketing, video advertising, countless flavors of display advertising, and more. It doesn’t end there, as new digital products are introduced every day!

All these products fill important niches in the digital landscape. But they serve unique purposes, run on different platforms and require unique skill sets. They’re often bought, placed, executed and optimized by different people, in different departments and/or from different partners or vendors.

In that environment, workflow can be the difference between success and failure. Why?

Whether you’re an agency buyer or planner, a media company account executive, or a marketing manager at a company doing your own advertising – if workflow is seen as a burden, people will avoid it.

This leads to steps skipped and mistakes made. It may also be a disincentive to use, sell, or place products and services at all: “I can’t be bothered to do all that. It simply isn’t worth it”.

The more complex and time-consuming your workflow, the more it eats into your profit margins as teams spend time and money not performing higher-value duties.

Management Without Measurement

Ideally you’ll navigate time management landmines and get your workflow done without killing margins or ROI with “low-value” staffing and activity. However, inefficient workflow can make delivering advertising and marketing campaigns, for your company or clients, nearly impossible.

If campaigns run on six platforms, with data entered into seven places, managed by five people at four separate companies, how do you keep track of it all? Can you compare results? How do you create an executive dashboard that allows you to see everything? How will clients be presented with unified results and recommendations?

From an executive point of view, the challenges only grow from there. Ultimately, as a leader you will be in no better position than the marketing managers, buyers, sellers and planners working for you. Mistakes will be made if your workflow doesn’t make everyone aware of duties, when they’re due and missed deadlines, and how to complete projects or campaigns.

That falls on you as the executive. The number of campaigns impacted will keep growing if workflow platform(s) don’t inform you, early and often. When campaigns fall down, the organization falls down.

If your workflow is a mess, how do you keep a close eye on your monthly or quarterly billing? How will you measure margins and project your profitability? Which are your most profitable or productive products, markets, partners, clients or teams? What manager or leader isn’t required to have clear day-to-day visibility into each of these?

As a manager, in fact, these individual issues create a combination that can kill careers, if not companies. If you can’t see your business’s forest for countless trees, odds are your workflow is to blame. And you better replace your workflow – before someone (customer, client, stakeholder, executive leader) replaces you.

The Forest Through the Trees

But what if these platforms, campaigns and departments, and/or the separate companies running them, were in one place? If you had a single entry point, operations, pacing and reporting? What if each stakeholder had full transparency into their role, and the roles of others required to deliver successful campaigns? And what if you could efficiently make the evaluations, recommendations and decisions your client, customer or manager pays you for?

What if, as a manager or executive in the organization, you could see daily what products offer the best margins? Or what if you could track what your salespeople sell, and which markets are the most profitable?

With a good process and workflow platform, you can.

Don’t let workflow derail your career or company. Stay tuned to this series. You’ll learn how improved workflow decreases your organization’s inefficiency, creates transparency, and improves company morale. All while saving money, growing revenue and increasing margins.