CMOs, VP’s and Heads of Marketing – congrats you’ve earned that title with your years of hard work and successful campaigns that set sales records and won awards.

But are you really being the best marketing team leader you can be?

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You paid your dues on the way up. Sure, those days spent brainstorming where the creative ideas flowed and the office hummed with energy were fun. But if you try hard enough, I’m sure you’ll remember all the bad times too: pulling presentations together for under-the-gun review meetings and chasing down feedback from recalcitrant stakeholders? Or entire days lost when your boss was traveling and she didn’t have the software to open the image file she needed to review. Or reviewing a 90 second video 100 times in order to write down on a word document each change timestamped down to the nano-second?

Well guess what? Your team still faces those exact same issues today. They won’t complain because, like you, they are rock stars who do what it takes to get the job done. But you doing nothing to help them and thinking that this is just how it is, part of paying your dues, isn’t how you’ll become or remain a great marketing leader.

Your role is to get out of the weeds and to foster creativity and promote the kind of collaboration that produces great results-driven creative marketing. It’s a problem shared by your peers. The Content Marketing Institute just released new research on the state of B2C Content Marketing that found that half of the survey respondents said they struggle to find time to create content, even though 77% admit higher quality content is more effective at getting results. If you’re not implementing new processes and practices which improve how your team works together, you’ll fall behind.

Address these three creative collaboration pain points

Visibility:

You have an extended team that includes external freelancers and agencies, in addition to multiple internal team members comprising marketers, designers, product managers, channel managers and more. This large set of collaborators creates a “communications tax” on your team members as they struggle to stay abreast of what’s happening and keep the team up to date on their own progress and challenges. They are spending a significant portion of their days in update meetings and crafting summary emails instead of focusing on the work.

Equally critical, do you have the visibility you need into all of the projects your team is shepherding? Can you get this insight in a way that doesn’t require them to break their flow to have a meeting or to work late writing you email updates? You never want to be the cause of additional make-work for your team.

Accountability:

One of the biggest time killers for creative projects is the waiting. Waiting on feedback, waiting on new versions, waiting on final approvals, the list goes on. Everyone on the team needs to know when there is new creative work to review, what changes have been made, who recommended that change and why. And everyone needs to be clear on who has the final approval at each stage, so there aren’t any version missteps.

Just as importantly, it needs to be quick and easy for you to see what needs your feedback and/or final approval – you never want to be the bottleneck. You (and every other reviewer) need to be able to seamlessly open and review files to quickly and concisely share your feedback, so it is always clear and unambiguous.

Flexibility:

Your team wants to focus on delivering the work at hand and not be distracted by having to setup and learn a complex, overly structured project management tool. It’s important to identify tools and processes which reinforce the conversational, fluid interactions desired by creative team members and required to produce the best creative. Unfortunately, many project management tools are not able to support the nonlinear collaboration required on creative projects and they certainly are not purpose built to support creative collaboration around visual assets.

Flexibility has another benefit, it supports your team’s agility. Your business needs move quickly because in addition to any seasonal campaigns, the best teams have on-going content marketing programs which require daily, even hourly, new creative development. Is the way your team collaborates flexible enough to include every discipline or does your video team use niche communication tools that no one else has access to? Can writers and designers work effectively in the same space?

Marketing leaders, remember that your team is feeling the same pain of creative collaboration that you felt back in your day. Now is your time to do something about it and make a change for the better. Heed the call of your hard-at-work, need-to-collaborate teams, and ease their pain with processes and tools which get everyone on the same page. Your team’s creative output will be not only be better, you will be a better leader.