When it comes to building campaigns within a marketing automation platform (MAP), there are several steps that have to be completed between the initial campaign request to the final campaign launch. When grouped together, these steps make up the stages of the Campaign Production Process and by optimizing each stage, your campaign operations team will be able to work more efficiently with fewer mistakes and better campaign results.
What is a Campaign Production Process?
A Campaign Production Process is the order of operations followed by campaign operations teams to complete a campaign build from start to finish. Processes will vary from company to company but in general, a good campaign production process can be broken down into four separate stages: Intake, Build, Quality Assurance, and Launch.
Within the Intake stage of the process, the initial request is submitted to the campaign ops team/build specialist. From there it moves to Triage where it is reviewed by a MOPs manager, project manager, or the build specialist (if they’re a team of one) to ensure the minimum viable production (MVP) requirements have been provided. If so, it can then be assigned to a campaign specialist, but if not, the request is held in the Intake stage until all MVP requirements are available.
Next is the Build stage, where much of the actual campaign production work occurs. First there is the initial build where the specialist sets up the marketing automation program, creates campaign emails, builds target audience lists and completes any other essential parts of the campaign. Once finished, the specialist reviews their work to make sure everything is complete, accurate, and there are no issues. It then goes to the campaign requestor for another review where the requestor will give their approval or work with the specialist on any edits and corrections that need to be made. Once approved by the requestor, the last step of the Build stage is to request a QA review from a QA specialist or team member.
The QA stage is a final, formal process to ensure that the campaign and all assets within the campaign are set up correctly and free of errors. Ideally, this QA process is completed by someone other than the build specialist who has a specific checklist of things to review (ie: email, image rendering, links and UTMs, audience setup, etc.).
The Launch stage is when the campaign is completely built, reviewed and ready to go. This is where campaigns are scheduled, the campaign launch actually occurs, and any required reporting is completed.
Why is breaking out the campaign production process into distinct stages important for optimization?
It’s important to break out the campaign production process into distinct stages because the activities that occur in each stage are related to one another and for maximum optimization, they must be completed as a whole before steps of each following stage can begin. For example, if a build specialist begins building a campaign before the initial request has been reviewed in the triage stage to ensure MVP requirements have been provided, they may have to waste time tracking down missing assets and information from the requestor before actually beginning any campaign build work.
Separating the process by stages also helps to more easily identify operational inefficiencies in the process. If, as another example, campaign requestors are frequently asking for last minute copy edits after the campaign has reached the formal QA or launch stage, it’s clear that the Client Review & Approval step in the Build stage needs to be reviewed with the team to ensure everyone understands the repercussions of those last minute edits.
Additionally, separating the process by stages helps maintain clear ownership of the various steps in the process. Campaigns require collaboration across teams and defining the steps in each stage of the process helps everyone involved understand their role and responsibilities.
When should companies re-evaluate their current campaign production processes?
It’s usually pretty clear if a production process is working well or if it needs to be re-evaluated. Here are a few indications that it might be time to make some process updates:
- Requests are frequently missing MVP requirements
- Multiple rounds of copy edits are requested after the initial client review/approval step
- Last minute edits are requested after the formal QA has been completed
- The campaign gets held up for long periods of time in any of the stages or steps
- Campaign deadlines are frequently missed
How can companies better measure and optimize their campaign production process?
A great way to measure and optimize the campaign production process is to incorporate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) into the overall process. SLAs define the specific steps needed to complete a campaign build, determine who is responsible for each task and estimate a standard turnaround time for how long each build step should take. If the company’s campaign production process is working well, the campaigns team should be completing their work within established SLA timeframes and meeting deadlines a majority of the time.
Another way to measure the efficiency of the campaign production process is to check in with team members to find out if there are any pain points they’re regularly experiencing with the process. That way, those directly involved in campaign creation can give direct feedback on what is working well and what could be improved to make the process better.
Whether you have a newly implemented Campaign Production Process or your team has had one in place for a while, if you frequently experience recurring pain points, it might be time to re-evaluate your existing process to see where you can optimize each stage for better results.