Creative Workflow Management 101

Creative work is crucial for businesses to succeed. In the 2020 In-House Creative Management Report, 89% of survey respondents said that creative work is important to driving business objectives.

The report also found that volume (72%) and speed (73%) of work are the top challenges creative teams face. For creative teams to keep up with this demand and keep producing top-notch creative that fuels successful marketing campaigns, they need a work management system built specifically for their unique needs. While many teams may initially turn to generic project management systems to address their process gaps, they will quickly discover that their needs far outstrip the offerings of simple project management. Creative teams need a creative workflow management solution.

In this guide:

  • Explore the components that make up creative workflow
  • Address why you should invest in a creative workflow management solution
  • Walk through the process of selecting the best solution for your team
  • Provide best practices for a successful implementation

What is Creative Workflow Management?

Creative workflow management is built specifically for creative and marketing teams. Creative workflow management differs from generic project management by focusing on increasing efficiency in the areas that most directly affects the production of creative work.

Creative workflow management is made up for four major sections, or “pillars”, of the creative process. The four pillars create the foundational framework that is vital for marketing and creative teams to build an efficient, comprehensive, and streamlined creative process. Each pillar should provide creative teams with enhanced organizations, automation, and collaboration.

Request Intake

  • Dynamic forms
  • Form routing
  • Links to original request for associated work
  • Automatic attachment of final deliverables

Online Proofing

  • Support a variety of file types
  • Proof routing with review tiers
  • Threaded comments with @mentioning
  • Side-by-side version comparison

Project Management

  • Visualization of projects, like calendaring and Gantt views
  • Specialized work types, like campaigns, projects, and proofs
  • Resource management features like time tracking and scheduling work assignments

Reporting & Analytics

  • Reporting on the type of work commonly requested
  • How long do different types of projects take from request to final asset delivery?
  • Am I effectively distributing work among my team?
  • Do I have enough resources to meet the demands of stakeholders?

Why Should I Invest in Creative Workflow Management?

Creative work is more in demand than ever before. For creative teams to best meet the demand for high-quality creative, they need an effective way to manage their work.

Creative workflow management can help your team continue to be an important strategic contributor by helping you accomplish five goals critical to maximizing revenue and proving ROI:

  1. Increase productivity
  2. Achieve faster time to market
  3. Improve quality of work
  4. Reduce costs
  5. Build a better relationship with stakeholders

Six signs that you need a creative workflow management solution

72% of in-house creative teams handle over 75% of their organizations’ creative needs. That work drives bottom-line business results. Any gaps in a creative team’s workflow management will only become a more challenging obstacle that slows the team down over time.

  1. You receive incomplete or unclear requests for new projects
  2. It is difficult to keep track of multiple projects at once
  3. You team spends more time managing projects than completing them
  4. You can’t report on KPIs about creative work
  5. There is no accountability in the approval process
  6. You have to literally chase down reviewers for feedback on proofs

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is our current creative workflow process?
    1. What quantity and type of work do we produce?
  • How would a creative workflow management software fit into our existing tech stack?
  • What are our organization’s IT and security requirements for new software purchases?
  • What challenges should this software solve?
  • What kind of training and support does your team prefer from vendors?

Questions to Ask Vendors

  • Does your solution support role-based privileges?
  • Can your software be customized to fit the way my organization functions?
  • How will my reviewers communicate feedback on proofs?
  • How are projects managed in your software?
  • What does implementation look like?
  • What reporting capabilities are included with our subscription?
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