Campaign build velocity in its simplest terms is the measurement of the time required for a marketing campaign owner to conceptualize, design, build and launch an individual campaign. Since “marketing campaign” can be understood differently, this article assumes a marketing campaign to represent a targeted initiative that contributes to a larger marketing goal, for example: a new lead nurturing program aimed to help move records into the next lifecycle stage, a customer up-sell campaign via email sends and direct mail gifting, or a product awareness campaign via an on-going webinar series that offers best practices for using specific product features.
Measuring campaign build velocity allows marketing leaders to optimize their resources and processes as it provides insight into the time spent on each stage of the campaign production cycle. Implementing metrics to track campaign build velocity allows marketing teams and campaign owners to identify patterns within their campaign designs that can inform templatization, allowing for greater efficiency in launching new marketing campaigns. While many data points can inform how a team approaches tracking and measuring campaign build velocity, there are two core pillars all teams will need to consider as they work to measure and implement benchmarks: technical capabilities of the marketing automation (MAP) and project management (PM) platforms and the level of templatization that exists, or does not exist within those systems today.
Read more to learn the benefits of measuring campaign build velocity, why companies should invest in these efforts earlier rather than later and how a company can begin tracking campaign build velocity today.
What are the benefits of measuring campaign build velocity?
The benefits of measuring campaign build velocity are endless! From a marketing leadership perspective, measuring build velocity allows leaders to better understand if excessive time is being spent on low-performing, historical campaigns that many team members “assume are working because it’s a general best practice,” or it can help identify if any bottlenecks exist within the production process which can further highlight team members who may need additional resources or support. It can also help leaders identify gaps within the production process and provide insights to how much bandwidth each team member may or may not have to take on those unassigned responsibilities (e.g.: as the marketing leader will have the data points to understand approximately the time required to complete the yet to be assigned task/responsibility).
From a campaign production specialist perspective, measuring campaign build velocity can feel intimidating at first. At face value, it can sound like another KPI to hit while working with multiple up and downstream factors that are simply out of the campaign production specialist’s control. However, campaign build velocity does not need to be seen uniformly as a performance goal for production specialists. Instead, it can be leveraged as a tool to help production specialists identify and communicate areas where greater support is required. Within MAPs, it can provide production specialists an opportunity to reimagine their production process in a more efficient way through the templatization of the most common, repeated processes.
Why should you measure campaign build velocity?
Companies should work to implement processes that allow for the measurement of campaign build velocity to enable greater insight into how marketing resources are being spent. Depending on the size and goals of the organization and especially when looking at companies working with high volumes of marketing campaigns, having data points that inform the most efficient to the most time-consuming functions of the campaign production process can save real money long term.
For example, having visibility to campaign build velocity could allow a marketing leader to understand campaign owners are spending up to 3+ hours creating unique email layouts for an audience segment that isn’t engaging with the campaign. That visibility then allows marketing leaders to see the need for and prioritize the creation of templated assets within MAPs, like Marketo program templates, and processes within project management tools that remove the guesswork from the production process.
In return, this yields campaigns which are created more efficiently, quickly, and with less errors through templatization and standardization. Overall, it reduces the total build velocity, providing campaign specialists more bandwidth to further support the organization or work towards professional development goals. And while there is absolutely a high investment to implementing processes that allow for the measurement of campaign build velocity, establishing those mechanisms early on will reap benefits as the Marketing team changes and grows.
When should a company implement campaign velocity?
While there is no “one-approach-fits-all” for implementing mechanisms to measure campaign build velocity, here are three scenarios we’ve commonly seen that have been great opportunities for organizations of all sizes.
- Marketing teams looking to create a standardized campaign production process. This typically involves multiple conversations to understand current roles and responsibilities, as well as a review and update of current processes, presenting a golden opportunity to incorporate new tracking fields.
- Marketing leads who are looking to maximize their team’s resources. Since this typically involves a strategic review of current priorities, the result of those initiatives as well as the processes that help drive them, this provides another opportunity to understand the level of effort each stage of the process currently requires, allows leaders to set goals for the future while implementing tactics that provide real-data to inform future reviews.
- Marketing teams planning for growth. While business operations may only require the support of one or even just two resources today, planning and structuring campaign production processes for scale will save leaders headaches and heavy lifts in the future. It is much easier to establish and get agreement on a desired process when working to incorporate the opinions of just two team members vs larger teams.
How should a company measure campaign velocity?
Implementing campaign build velocity metrics and KPIs into the campaign production process can be accomplished in a range of ways, however there are a few core steps all marketing leaders should work to complete.
- Gather data: Create a repository of the most commonly requested campaign types (i.e.: Email sends, drip nurture campaigns, webinar series programs) and ensure this selection includes feedback from the campaign production specialists.
- Interview your team and watch along: Understand the level of effort and estimated time required to complete each piece of the production process for the previously identified, common campaign types. Then work to understand the “how” within the production process by watching how marketing automation platforms and/or PM tools are currently being leveraged to create and launch campaigns.
- Identify bottlenecks and driving factors: Once there is an understanding on how the most commonly requested campaign types are being created across MAP and PM tools, start to list out bottlenecks in the process, and do not forget to supplement those bottlenecks with context, as the context will help inform a feasible solution.
- Redesign the process: Leverage the feedback and insights gathered to redesign the production process, ensuring campaign production specialist’s feedback is prioritized in the final design. This may or may not include multiple design iterations and the creation of list import templates, SLAs per campaign type, pre-configured assets like Marketo program templates, and/or fields within the PM tool that allow to track time spent on a particular task or subtask.
- Set expectations and implement ability to track time: Once the marketing team is feeling comfortable with the new production process, work alongside them to set initial time-based goals for each phase of the production process for the commonly requested campaign types. If this is the first time implementing time tracking mechanisms, teams should work to pilot the new process and goals before finalizing to ensure long-term feasibility. Most importantly, marketing leaders should work to ensure team members understand how this data is intended to be used and how it will yield benefits as the team continues to scale.
Who should implement this process?
This article has made multiple references to marketing leaders owning and driving the conversations and processes to implement campaign build velocity metrics. However, this responsibility is not reserved for marketing leaders. Campaign production specialists or campaign managers with a deep familiarity to the production process are great candidates for driving this initiative as they have the most hands-on experience with the process and tools that support it. This initiative could also be led by departments looking to understand how much more serviceable the marketing team could be to them. This would of course require the close collaboration of the departmental leaders with campaign production specialists or marketing managers to ensure feasibility of the final design. As mentioned above, regardless of who drives the initiative, it’s very important that the team members who will be creating campaigns have a weighted voice in the final design and approach to tracking campaign build velocity.
All in all, campaign build velocity is the measurement of the time it takes for a marketing campaign owner to conceptualize, design, build and launch an individual campaign. Measuring campaign build velocity allows marketing leaders to better understand if excessive time is spent on low-performing, historical campaigns, and it can help identify if any bottlenecks exist within the production process. Campaign build velocity can also act as a tool to help campaign production specialists identify and communicate areas where greater support is required. Within MAP and PM systems, implementing campaign build velocity metrics can provide production specialists an opportunity to reimagine their production process in a more efficient way through the templatization of the most common, time-consuming repeated processes. Marketing leaders or campaign owners who find themselves looking to maximize team’s resources or improve the efficiency of the current production processes will have the easiest time implementing metrics to track campaign build velocity. While this initiative would typically be driven by marketing leaders or campaign specialists looking for greater optimization and efficiency, organizations looking to make their marketing team more serviceable to the company can also find value in driving these conversations as well.