Reduced Review Cycle Times through Automated End-to-End Marketing Processes for a Gaming Company

BACKGROUND SCENARIO

With a mandate to use Aprimo (MRM) software across the enterprise, the marketing organization needed to assess the campaign production process in order to integrate and improve. A full evaluation of current state product list, requirements data collection, funnel process, team involvement, and campaign tiering structure was required. It was determined that the digital and print channel production processes were inconsistent across teams, there was a lack of task automation, brand standards were not being met, timelines were too long, and product quality was inconsistent. Additionally, the processes were not integrated with strategic planning, execution, and reporting. This created lag time in delivery, inefficiencies moving from planning to execution, and inability to standardize across the marketing enterprise. When it came to technology, the company’s end-to-end marketing operations process relied on various technologies. Marketing production completed by the digital and print teams was managed by separate tools and the company was not receiving the full benefits of a streamlined end-to-end process. Communication was disjointed and timelines were lengthened because marketing collateral requests had to be transferred to separate outside resource management systems for digital, print, and motion graphics projects. Furthermore, the use of separate systems did not allow for data collection and an audit trail on the end-to-end process. Finally, the tool in use by the digital and print production teams did not utilize automation, follow standardized timelines, house produced materials, or track communication. Along with the need for process and technology changes, the current state analysis showed several areas of possible improvement through user expertise and support. The arrangement of different team functions and priorities had organically created a number of different onboarding methods for new resources. New resources are a regular occurrence due to high attrition rates, according to company perception. With each team having different priorities for resource functionality and development, and several resources crossing over multi-team involvement, there was no way to track skill level or improvement on a standardized, calibrated scale. Rapidly changing processes and expectations had also recently altered all teams’ priorities, while stressing the need for better understanding of how to gain advantages from the tool.


IMPLEMENTED SOLUTION

The process redesign resulted in detailed level one and two process maps and SIPOCs for the print and digital production teams. The redesign focused on solving business issues, making use of modern workflow functionality, incorporating additional teams, and integrating MRM functions into the end to end marketing process. The following major innovations and improvements were incorporated into the production process:

  • The product list was reduced from over 3000, to less than 500

  • Data required for a campaign was standardized across products

  • Production processes were created to mimic the campaign tiering structure

  • Additional quality assurance tasks were added to high visibility campaigns

  • A brand new print process was created

Automated workflows were crafted and configured in Aprimo MRM based on the new process maps. New extended attributes, attachment types, data collection templates, and step checklists support the added workflows. A long-term vision of improved system use utilizing the natural hierarchy of Aprimo was employed to create program, activity, and project types. Automation and increased up-front accountability were achieved by linking business rules to a “sorting” workflow that automatically starts a product-specific workflow containing durations that correspond with tier timelines. Lastly, integrating the new direct mail production process workflows into the legacy direct mail workflows achieved a complete end-to-end process managed by the MRM system for that department. Working with an influx of several hundred users, the Covalent Marketing team created a Marketing Mastery plan focusing on four distinct pillars of MRM capabilities.

  1. Application Expertise

  2. Execution and Accuracy

  3. Process Comprehension

  4. Contribution and Mentoring

Within each pillar, levels were set accounting for a balance of time spent in the tool, frequency of specific actions, and industry standards for competency. To support this matrix, an administrative framework was put into place with the management suite to enable recording progress, awarding achievement, and the correct use of deliverables and resources for onboarding. After constructing the new process in the tool, Covalent Marketing built extensive documentation and led live education sessions.


BUSINESS RESULTS

The improved process created immediate tangible benefits. With the data collection process now being front loaded, there is a reduction in review cycles. By creating communication opportunities early in the process, it streamlines the timeline on the backend. Role based checklists facilitate consistent expectations and interactions amongst the teams. For in-depth creative projects, balancing the quality assurance team time between two steps in the process ensures that the review cycles are spent on brand standards and creative strength. The processes are built around campaign tiers and marketing mediums providing executives a deeper level of business relevant data. The processes now have the ability to move at the speed of business, which provides the marketing team the agility to adjust to changing customer needs. The inherent abilities of Aprimo technology created great benefit for the enterprise’s overall marketing operations. Integrating the participating teams into the existing structure in the enterprise’s Aprimo system improves automation for the end-to-end process. Housing all communication, creative design work, feedback, and revised documents in a single system leads to fewer instances of misplaced files and correspondences. The integration of the Aprimo system enables the creation of reports that give managers and executives insights into where support is needed and regular issues occur in the process. This end-to-end reporting empowers informed decisions about where to allocate resources or provide support. The Marketing Mastery plan focuses on three phases of benefit that are personalized to the needs of the enterprise. User instructions across job functions simplify the onboarding process. A common set of education and ability expectations for all users additionally creates a higher-functioning set of individuals with the documentation available for self-led research and improvement. The benefits create an impact at the team level, as communication and process evaluation is included in the requirements, as well as regularity of high-quality output. Finally, advanced mastery puts together a well-constructed and documented system of individual users whose abilities are made available for internally crowdsourced benefits to the company as a whole. These high-level masters will be able to take on trouble-shooting, documentation maintenance, and ideation of process improvements.

​PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS

APRIMO SOFTWARE IMPROVEMENTS

Front-loaded the process with improved data to reduce review cycles

Materials for one campaign can easily be assigned to the same designer to maintain consistency

Identified opportunities to utilize early communication and collaboration along the process map

Form field construction makes it simple to find and report on specific project types

Improved deliverables, ensuring consistency through formatted fields and checklists

All work and notes within the system are easy to report on, showing places where support is needed, or regular issues are occuring

Created consistent service level agreement definitions and timelines

Accountability across all teams to adhere to service level agreements