The Messy Go-between of Strategy and Content Production


MM: It seems to me that the route to that integrated system will be through your catalog and web team. That’s because the point of integration oftentimes starts with
editorial and copyrighting workflow that precedes the actual publishing process—be it print or online.

So the point of integration would answer the question, “How do we have one Marcom editorial platform, copy database and project management platform?

At least in large global brands that we’ve either interviewed, they tell us that the editorial workflow becomes the critical handoff of marketing plan and the creative brief to content execution. Not surprisingly, this editorial and copyrighting workflow represents one of the messiest and most inefficient part of that whole Marcom operation—copywriting become the beat-up go-between of poorly defined strategy and you’re-always-late creative execution.

BG: It is here too. It’s the messiest part.

MM: What makes strategy execution messy is that it’s circular and iterative–not linear and sequential. It has a fundamentally different kind of focus in terms of knowledge worker interactions. Its primary focus entails discovery. “Ah! That’s what we need to do!” We speak of it generically as Ideation.

So there’s a whole bunch of communication, interaction and collaboration that goes into the big, “Ah-hah!” Then “Ah-hah” crystallizes into a strategy and the basis of a marketing plan that bridge to scheduling and a marketing calendar. Project management comes still later.

The best way to think about the scheduling piece is like an air traffic control system. You’ve seen these on CNN or one of the cable news networks, where you see 20,000 airplanes in the sky. Somebody’s keeping track of all of those, and keeping them in their own kind of traffic lanes.

They’re coordinating their landing at any number of airports. Think of airports as vendors and/or operation groups. There needs to be a certain number of landing gates with ground crew to be able to deplane folks. Those are all the worker bees in various operating groups that do stuff.

Part of an overall planning or scheduling tool is to make sure that as we launch new products and/or launch and/or create new material, throughout the entire supply chain, there are people ready, willing and able to do something with that. To do their job within a particular set of time and financial constraints.

Those tend to be the big issues, when you move upstream.

BG: Agreed. We have a different department outside of marketing that manages that entire process holistically called Business Strategy and Execution. They map the project from product design, to testing, determine time of year to launch, to planning sales and merchandise orders, then to marketing strategy and creative. So you are saying that the challenge is getting those discoveries upstream communicated or cascaded to all the other teams working on the launch. How so we keep the them informed? Is there a central portal with all this information?

Hmm, we are not there yet on the retail channel side.

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