Building Efficiency Across Your Creative Pipeline: The How-To

Having a firm grip on your creative pipeline pays dividends in the long run.

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Most companies today wish they spent more time and focus on communication with their customers, so they can be better aligned with their needs. We also know that people spend a considerable amount of time in front of a screen. As such, it's no secret that this is a great opportunity to communicate and engage with the communities that matter, and to be present where they are present. Whether it's on social media, email, smart televisions, video platforms, or websites, there is an opportunity to engage with your customer at every level.

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As business owners or entrepreneurs, we naturally build our organizations to solve for a number of things, but the lion's share of focus goes into creating and delivering on our core product or service. The next step is to communicate that benefit and decisions need to be made on things like the idea, budget, creative treatment, production, and media spend. And it's here that you start looking for the right people within your company or external agencies that can help bring your marketing plans to life.

This can turn into quite a daunting process. With all the technicality and industry jargon, you can easily find yourself in a position where you step back and "let the experts handle it." And before you know it, there's a larger-than-life cost to execute on your marketing plans. Now, let's be clear- the experts are experts for a reason, and they exist to consult and execute advertising and marketing plans flawlessly. Regardless, there are certain steps that we can take to make the entire creative process more efficient so that you can save time and work on the things that make the most sense, your budget can be used on the things that make a direct impact on your business and community, and, well, you can really enjoy the creative process.

Here are some tips that will improve efficiencies across the creative pipeline:

1. Plan ahead It's important to put time into perspective. When you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done, it becomes easier to prepare for. Whether it's reaching out to an agency, or engaging your in-house team, you won't thus be forced to make decisions on a whim because there is no time. Plans might change, and that's okay, but at least, it's on your terms. Creating calendars for your creative initiatives (and for the various platforms that they will be launched on) puts you in the driver's seat when it comes to prioritizing and putting things into motion.

2. Link your creative goals to your marketing goals It's really easy to get caught up in the allure of advertising and the cleverness of a campaign. Sometimes, things just look and feel so good, even though it might not be addressing the marketing need in the best way. At every stage, it's important to ask: "Does this solve our problem? Is it communicating what we need it to?" A lot of campaigns can end up being very expensive for a component that is, at best, a "nice to have."

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3. Have an idea day Bringing your own people together to get creative brings out a number of benefits that can help improve the creative process as a whole. Such an effort allows you to build a bank of ideas to tap into whenever you need. You'll always have access to a wealth of purposeful creative ideas for your social media and digital campaigns. There won't be any pressure to reinvent the wheel on short notice and you won't need to spend a lot of time coming up with ideas at each junction, as you are already doing this periodically. Plus, you can save consulting costs on having an external party come up with creative ideas on your behalf. You would just need to hire to put your ideas into perspective and go to production. Moreover, making idea generation a regular thing allows you to become more in tune with what needs to be communicated, which, in turn, leads to better intuition for product development. Finally, an idea day will also let you save time going back and forth with an external party trying to fine-tune creative ideas so that it makes sense for your company. This way, ideas are generated by the same people that built and understand the product.

4. Use digital tools There's technology out there for everything. If you can identify tasks that are replicable and take up a lot of time, there's bound to be something out there that can help make it easier and faster. For instance, Canva is a great design tool that allows you to take your ideas from end to end quickly. Air.Inc is a great tool to share, keep track, and approve creative assets across teams- it beats a PowerPoint presentation any day. There's also Notion, which is a great productivity tool that can help plan your next big project. Some of the most effective ways to get a project off the ground and initiated successfully involve the simplest of things. The idea is to explore what you do now, and investigate if there is an easier way to do the things that take up the most time. Sometimes, this can be achieved by using a suite of tools, and sometimes, it could just need better and more in-depth conversations.

With such an intense need for creative assets coupled with a high volume of production to satisfy our digital marketing initiatives, building efficiencies into your business processes opens you up to significant cost reductions and productivity for your business. Building these efficiencies is an evolving process that needs to be monitored and optimized consistently. It requires all teams to be involved at some level, and it might even take a while to implement. Despite this, having a firm grip on your creative pipeline pays dividends in the long run.

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