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6 Ways to Get Your Branded Materials to Market Faster

Posted By: SGK October 16, 2014

Speed to market – for brand owners and marketers, it can be elusive, frustrating and, at times, seemingly impossible to achieve. 

Today’s complex, matrix and resource-constrained organizations may contribute to internal and external communication issues that stall the progress of bringing even the simplest of brand collateral to the market. As you may know, the effects can be damaging: lack of resource productivity, higher cost, loss of market traction and bottom-line stagnation.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The path to improved speed to market is multi-faceted and complex – but achievable. And when marketers and brand owners achieve improved speed to market, they drive their brands’ performance.

Here are six proven practices: 

1.    Validate your inputs.
You may consider this a no-brainer, but many companies struggle with input validation because it’s actually pretty hard. Start by sitting down with your agency/production partners to logically categorize all the inputs required to create/produce your materials. Choose a taxonomy that makes sense for your company. Then organize the information in a standard form. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as advanced as a database. 

2.    Streamline your routing and approval process.
Approvals are a hot-button issue within any content-rich organization. Assuming you have a formal routing and approval process, dig in and ask why so many people need to approve your organization’s packaging and promotional materials. The more people involved in approving work, the greater the drain on your marketplace agility. Look for opportunities to take people out of the approval cycle, to establish parallel path approvers and to create simplified processes for simple deliverables. 

3.    Eliminate redundancies.
Take time to analyze the tasks performed by your marketers, marketing communications staff and agency/production partners. Look for redundancies in project management, approval processes and meeting attendance. You may find that many of the redundancies are tactical tasks and while each task make only take a few minutes, adding them up annually over thousands of packaging changes, promo materials, etc. amounts to significant loss of time and energy.

4.    Focus resources and time on what’s most important. 
Evaluate your mix of marketing materials and decide which consumer touchpoints are most critical to your growth. Then examine any workflows that support the less critical touchpoints. Media that are not delivering should require little to no attention from marketing leadership in a $1B+ organization. By relentlessly pursuing this philosophy, you’ll free up staff to execute more efficiently on high-value activities. 

5.    Go digital.
Requesting and trafficking files on CDs and printouts is the exact opposite of a “lean” process. They need to be shipped, stored and managed. And they can’t be indexed for searching on your computer. An all-digital workflow will empower your organization, driving speed, efficiency and accuracy throughout the enterprise. 

6.    Remove communication roadblocks. 
It’s common for agency and production partners to be frustrated by excessive communication pass-throughs and red tape around information needed to create branded materials. One solution could be as simple as assigning multiple points of contact based on areas of expertise within your organization. Empower your partners to initiate approval routes inside your approval tool. The idea is to remove obstacles and simplify for speed. 

To become more nimble, marketing organizations need to think “lean” and remove non-value-adding tasks from their marketing services supply chain.

Find more insight on these best practices as well as lessons from top CPGs in our new white paper: 6 Ways to Get Your Branded Materials To Market Faster.