“Looks good to me.”
Those are the words every marketer wants to hear when they ask others to review their content before it goes out into the world.
No matter who says them, those words mean a marketer can focus their energies on launching a campaign, tracking the metrics and possibly get started on their next content asset.
Of course, not every piece of marketing content will get that stamp of approval — at least not from everyone that needs to be consulted.
At first, marketing teams may be reluctant to share their work with their coworkers, particularly those employed in other areas of the business. Marketing requires a great deal of creativity, and creativity can be subjective.
There might be a concern that someone in sales doesn’t have the background or skill set that qualifies them to give feedback on marketing assets.
Similarly, why should a marketer be listening to constructive criticism from those in product development, customer service or other business units? It’s not like marketers always get a lot of input into how they do their jobs.
As your business grows, though, you’ll quickly realize that establishing a series of approvals will help make your marketing efforts more successful, and easier to continually improve upon. Here’s why:
Marketing may write the story, but salespeople have to deliver it.
Sales reps are the ones working the phones, writing the cold emails and making presentations that need to convince customers to trust a brand and remain loyal long after a purchase. If they speak in a tone that sounds completely unlike that of the marketing assets, customers will feel a sense of disconnect. That’s bad news.
Instead of hiding content from the sales team, marketers do better when they engage them early on in the process. Develop some overarching key messages that can be repurposed into blog posts, eBooks or even ads and social posts. That will make the approvals process more streamlined and ensure sales and marketing are literally on the same page.
Marketers may only need to understand the ins and outs of products and services at a high level to create a campaign. If the features and functions aren’t described accurately, however, it means the brand is essentially promising something it can’t deliver. Make sure that in translating product specs into layperson’s terms that you’re not creating potential confusion.
Engaging product leads at the outset of developing content leads to better results too. Sometimes products are difficult to describe in words or even in images. Have an upfront discussion to brainstorm analogies or metaphors that will get the key points about products across. That way, when the product team sees the assets later for approvals, they won’t be caught by surprise.
Marketing content may make use of company names, product details or customer information that is subject to copyright or other laws. Nobody wants to get sued, and your corporate counsel will be able to identify any areas of legal risk before you get in hot water.
Besides the language that is used in marketing copy, the legal team may want to ensure all images and videos can be used as part of the brand’s intellectual property, so do all the due diligence ahead of time if they ask to see any contracts, licenses or paperwork.
Quiz question: Who tends to bear the brunt of negative feedback when customers aren’t happy? That’s right, the service team.
This is the group who will have to explain why — at least in the customer’s mind — the product didn’t work as advertised. Marketers need to arm service agents with whatever they can to let them prove the original message customers heard was true.
As with sales, the tone used by the service team should be consistent with what customers have heard elsewhere. Whether customers need to ask a question or return a product, everything said across every channel should ladder back to the kind of messaging that started with marketing.
When it’s not clear who needs to approve marketing content, and by when, the bottlenecks begin.
Most companies literally cannot afford campaigns to be delayed. It means they might miss a key window when customers are ready to buy. Competitors will be quick to fill in any silence your brand leaves.
If possible, come to an understanding with other departments from the get-go about what kind of turnaround they can commit to when they review marketing assets.
It costs money to fix errors in marketing content. It costs even more to have to completely redo the work. Should the marketing content cause legal problems or other damage, the costs can escalate still further.
Overall, approvals ensure that you’ll make the best possible use of your resources, whether that’s the people or tools that are part of developing content. If everyone is part of making the marketing team’s work successful, meanwhile, there’s a greater likelihood your budget will increase.
The best marketers are driven by curiosity. They want to know what customers are going through. They want to know how various parts of the company are helping to solve their problems. They want to see the way other departments are living up to the promise that’s articulated in statements about the brand’s mission, vision and values.
Approvals aren’t simply a chore to be endured. They’re a way for marketers to ensure they have an open and ongoing conversation with every other part of the business. Doing so will not only make them smarter about how they market the company, but more authentic and genuine. That means their message will get the ultimate approval —from customers.