Implementing a campaign production process is the first step a company can take in reaching highly efficient and productive campaign creation. A campaign production process comprises four stages: intake, build, QA, and launch. The intake stage of that process is usually the most unorganized, overlooked, and easy to mismanage if not planned properly. This blog will take you through the different substages of the intake process, and how to get it right the first time you implement it.
What is a campaign request intake process?
The campaign intake process is usually split into three parts: request, triage, and assignment. Ownership over the Intake process is best managed by a Campaign Production Lead that is capable of fulfilling the request themselves, but who is also aware of other incoming requests and total production capacity. When demand for campaign production exceeds production capacity, sprint planning, and project management will be necessary at this stage.
Request – in this stage, a marketer submits a campaign request that adheres to a defined process (e.g. filling out a request form with all necessary campaign specs) and provides all necessary information to complete the work. At all levels of organizational maturity, it’s a best practice for requests to be submitted through a project management tool. If a project management tool is unavailable to your organization but you want to implement the intake stage, we recommend keeping all documentation and tracking of campaign requests centrally located in either a Google or Excel spreadsheet until you are ready to graduate to the next level.
Triage – in this stage, ownership is assumed by the production lead who validates the request by ensuring all required information is provided to complete the task. If not, the campaign requestor is notified and asked to update the request before it can be considered submitted. The date of submission starts the clock on production SLAs.
Assignment – ownership is assigned to Campaign Build Specialist(s) for fulfillment. In high-complexity organizations, assignment is done as part of the sprint planning process where a Campaign Production Lead works with business stakeholders to determine build schedules and launch dates, based on estimated sprint points and production capacity. In low-complexity organizations, the Campaign Production Lead might take ownership of a large percentage of requests for direct fulfillment without additional planning. Assignment concludes the Intake stage in the production process. The time between the conclusion of the Intake process and the start of the Build stage will vary depending on the process i.e. sprint planning and assignment method.
Why should companies have a campaign request intake process?
For all companies of varying sizes, complexity, and campaign volume, the intake process sets the tone for how the rest of the campaign production process will work within the organization. An intake process carefully crafted to meet the business requirements of your marketing campaigns will deliver benefits such as optimized build practices, fewer build delays, and less time spent managing communication or back and forth between stakeholders. It also allows your team to easily adhere to a tight marketing campaign schedule and helps protect the time of all stakeholders involved.
When should a company implement a campaign request intake process?
There’s no time like the present to begin crafting your campaign production process within the marketing organization if you haven’t already done so. The creation of the intake process should happen first and involve an evaluation of the current state of your campaign creation process and the role each marketer plays. As you implement your intake process, you should be asking questions such as:
- Where will all communications related to marketing campaigns be located?
- Who will be responsible for planning marketing campaigns?
- Who will be responsible for submitting marketing campaign requests?
- What are the components necessary (i.e. minimum viable production or “MVP”) to start production of different marketing campaigns? Who will be responsible for providing said components of each campaign?
- Who will be responsible for triaging and assigning marketing campaign requests? How will these be routed to campaign build specialists?
Once you have come together as a team and completed this exercise, you’ll have the fundamental building blocks of your intake process.
How should a company manage a campaign request intake process?
We’ve seen different intake processes of all varieties, depending on the size and complexity of your marketing organization, however, they usually share the following components that allow for better scalability and efficiency.
1. All communications are centrally located within a project management tool.
No marketer wants to check Slack, check their email, AND have to log into their project management tool each day just to keep up with all of the communications related to a campaign. It is simply more efficient to have it all centralized in one place. MVP Requirements are less likely to be missed, campaign questions are more likely to be answered in a more efficient manner, and marketers will be less likely to question the status of where a campaign is in the build process.
2. The Intake process has SLAs.
As we mentioned earlier in the blog, the intake process sets the tone for how successful the rest of the campaign build process is likely to be. Campaign build specialists are required to uphold production SLAs once a request has been triaged and assigned, so the marketers involved in the planning process should be required to adhere to SLAs as well. Any delay in copy, imagery, audience planning, etc will inevitably result in the delay of a campaign build and launch. Marketers crafting an intake process should be made aware of the typical turnaround times involved in delivering MVP campaign components and should craft SLAs based on these expectations. These SLAs should be presented to all marketers involved in the planning process and should be agreed upon as such.
3. The campaign submission process is templatized to fit the typical campaign experience.
Marketers aren’t just sending emails these days. They’re running webinars, paid online ads, social media initiatives, and so on. Depending on the technology and budget available, each marketing team has a typical campaign experience for each channel they choose to promote. Each campaign request should be templatized to fit that campaign experience. The campaign template in question will be driven by a campaign request form, alongside a campaign brief document clearly stating the MVP requirements needed for the build.
Who should manage a campaign request intake process?
This, again, will vary from company to company, but the different roles we see involved in the typical intake process are.
Project Manager: usually the Campaign Production Lead in charge of triaging, reviewing, and assigning requests to the campaign build specialists. Marketing or Campaign Ops may also be asked to step in to act in this role as well depending on the headcount and availability. The Project Manager should have familiarity with the skills required for the campaign build process.
Campaign Operations Specialist (or MOPS Specialist/Manager): usually acts as the Campaign Build Specialist. They usually have the skills and knowledge to complete the technical requirements of the campaign build. We sometimes see marketing managers or demand generation roles step in here in case bandwidth is unavailable. The COPS specialist is responsible for educating the other stakeholders about the MVP requirements needed for the build process.
Marketing Managers/Demand Generation: these roles are the most involved in the campaign planning and delivery of MVP campaign requirements for the intake process. They usually have less familiarity with the skills required for the campaign build process, but will align once the intake process has been outlined.
Companies that take the proper care and time to solidify their intake process based on the guidelines above are already one step closer to a sophisticated and well-oiled campaign production process. Defining your intake process will allow your campaigns to stay on schedule, and your marketers better aligned on campaign responsibilities.