How many hours a week are you and your team spending managing content and assets across your organisation and suppliers? If you’re like most content and marketing professionals, it’s more than you realise. And it’s likely holding you back.
According to new research by Canto and Ascend2, a significant cohort – 57% of content and marketing professionals in the UK and US – estimate they are wasting more than three hours a week trying to locate assets that fuel their marketing machine. This equates to around three and a half weeks yearly that could be spent planning and delivering campaigns, creating more content, and boosting sales pipelines.
Moreover, poorly managed content creation processes cause delays, meaning missed opportunities as campaign launches get pushed back. And, over time, daily friction can even cause teams to lose talent as contributors feeling time pressure grow frustrated by unnecessarily inefficient workflows. Sound familiar?
Teams that manage content well perform better
Data from Canto and Ascend2’s newly released ‘State of Digital Content’ report reveals that three-quarters of marketers seek workflow improvements across their teams. Improving workflows helps to alleviate bottlenecks and pressure on resources.
Best-in-class teams with functioning workflows are significantly less likely to report issues producing and maintaining content. But the data suggests these teams are still in the minority.
Marketing teams optimise nearly everything they do — from the time of day they post to social media to A/B testing email subject lines. So why are so many organisations neglecting the glaring inefficiencies in their content workflows?
Why are creatives frustrated with existing processes?
The processes that make up digital content creation and management have become convoluted and complicated. We work across multiple software platforms and services. Moving between solutions creates difficult workflows. As a result, many employees find workarounds, like saving copies of content to their desktops, so they don’t have to dig through cloud storage.
This type of unofficial content management endangers brand integrity. It’s hard to take outdated content out of circulation when there are unofficial copies floating around. It can even cause compliance issues; for example, if someone decides to make their own collateral with images, your organisation doesn’t have the rights to use it.
Marketing and content teams must be responsive to company needs and changes, which is hard to achieve when the ecosystem they rely on doesn’t deliver. Teams are not only measured on the quality and quantity of their output but also on the return on capital employed and overall return on investment.
Best-in-class teams with functioning workflows are significantly less likely to report issues producing and maintaining content.
A dysfunctional approach to digital asset management can hamper those key metrics, thus applying further pressure on senior marketing leaders and their teams. What makes teams more efficient and happier? First and foremost, making it easier to do the most functional parts of their job.
Teams become disengaged because they can’t deliver at the run rate they want. Time is money, and content teams must be ahead of the curve to keep up with market demands and consumer attitudes. Content teams don’t want to spend valuable creative time updating existing content either. Marketing leaders need to make the process as friction-free as possible. You’ve invested in creative talent, so don’t make them spend their time duplicating work or tackling administrative tasks.
The right tools and systems make a big difference
Content production is much more complex today, as organisations increase their digital estate beyond traditional marketing channels. Key functions of a content team span planning, creating content, managing and updating assets, and publishing. However, the State of Digital Content research found less than one-quarter of marketers organise content taxonomies, editorial calendars and content approval workflows.
So what will improve workflow efficiency? Content and creative teams need clear organisation and control over assets. They also require team collaboration to ensure brand alignment and that timescales are met.
In the research, marketers highlighted that outdated or complex technology is often a barrier to delivering ROI and hitting KPIs. Having an intelligent reporting system that allows teams to see who has used which asset and when is also on the must-have list. Solid in-built metrics are also useful when you demonstrate to senior decision-makers that investing in platforms, activity and campaigns is worth it, especially as budgets are often controlled by CFOs and their teams.
Teams with DAM platforms are happier and more productive
While process and culture are a significant part of ensuring smooth workflows, inefficient technology platforms are a fundamental challenge. The research found more than two-thirds of organisations use cloud file storage to store and manage digital assets. Half said they use local servers, hard drives and individual desktops to store digital assets.
This isn’t only an inefficient approach but a huge risk in terms of security and business continuity. Digital asset management (DAM) solutions cut through user management, asset tracking and streamlined content management challenges. Furthermore, a DAM platform serves as a central hub for content across all marketing channels and digital storefronts in the retail and ecommerce space.
Following the pandemic, hybrid and remote working are here to stay. Large multinational organisations have typically had to manage the deployment of brand assets across different geographies and time zones. As more of the workforce steps away from the office and traditional connectivity environments, a centralised library that makes digital brand content accessible from anywhere becomes essential.
The power of search is cited by 53% of users as a key benefit of using a DAM system. With tagged content, image recognition and metadata, DAM offers powerful search capabilities and ensures asset tracking. DAM users are three times more likely to have efficient and creative workflows with strong reporting mechanisms.
The combination of these helps with board-level metrics and analysis of campaigns. Other key functionalities rated by DAM users include better sharing, version control and tagging with the help of metadata.
So in 2023, let your content teams be creative and efficient. Don’t drag them down with out-of-date technologies and time-wasting administration. After all, you hired them to make a difference.
The 2023 State of Digital Content report presents survey data from hundreds of marketing and content professionals to assess what strategies, workflows and technologies set teams up for success. Learn more about the findings and how you can transform your approach to content creation in 2023 by downloading the report here.