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Case Study: Marketing Asset Delivery

The Background

An international iGaming operator had been through a period of rapid growth primarily driven by what had been smaller markets. Additional growth was planned by launching in more markets, all of which required localised marketing materials.

The Situation

The growth had given rise to an increased headcount in all departments, but particularly marketing, with specialists in each market for acquisition, retention and CRM.

The department had been reorganised recently creating a marketing operations team of 30 people focused on delivering the assets needed by the rest of the marketing department to run campaigns, and by others in the organisation for internal and external use. The goal had been to try to better meet the needs of their 40+ stakeholders. This was only partially successful.

The four coordinators were overwhelmed and at risk of burning out, particularly the team lead. The production teams - both creative and technical - had huge backlogs of work making it difficult to respond to outside events with last-minute projects.

There were five or six methods for requesting campaign assets and some were difficult for the requester to use. They were fed into a complex labyrinth of workflows to get it delivered, much of which was manual.

The difficult request system meant old requests were being copied regardless of whether everything in that old request was needed, leading to unnecessary work and assets being created that were never used.

The manual steps led either to errors, and therefore re-work, or having to get repeated confirmations for what was needed, causing delays.

Each of the four specialist teams in marketing operations needed their own work orders, these were done in individual JIRA projects, with a fifth project used by the coordinators for complex projects.

The multiple workflows, projects and their complexity made it impossible for stakeholders to track the progress of their requests. The only way for them to get an update was to ask the teams or the coordinators. Naturally this led to a lot of interruptions. This reached the point that some team leads had banned stakeholders from talking to them or the teams and they could only go through the coordinators. The consequence of this was that the stakeholders had a low opinion of the marketing operations team.

In the past resource constraints had been alleviated by hiring, but that wasn’t scalable and senior management were reluctant to keep going on that path due to the costs and a lack of office space.

The Goals

The primary goals of the enhancement project were to:

  • Create one simple request system.

  • Design and implement a single workflow.

  • Reduce the amount of rework and unused assets.

  • Give stakeholders visibility of their requests.

The Project

The first step was to thoroughly document the various request methods and workflows. This resulted in a workflow diagram that took three pages and contained numerous steps that just contained the name of a person. Then there were many small group discussions with the stakeholders to determine their needs and concerns, it was clear that they were keen for things to improve too. Once a clear picture of stakeholder needs was created it was presented to the marketing operations team. They had concerns of their own with meeting those needs. It was clear that there would need to be some work done on building relationships between some parts of the team and stakeholders. There was also a need to develop a more flexible mindset within the team.

All this information was brought together and plans made for a new asset delivery system. As the plan evolved it was reviewed by senior team members. Various solutions were proposed and tested, particularly for how requests would be made.

The solution was driven by the principle of keeping things as simple as possible, automating as much as possible and making as much use of existing, and therefore familiar, technology.

The Solution

To be able to create a single workflow there needed to be a single way to create requests. It needed to be easy to use and feed into an automated system to manage the workflow. After testing various options and weighing the merits of each versus cost and training needed it was decided to use Atlassian Service Desk as the tool for making requests. It was already in use within the organisation for logging IT issues and so was familiar to most of the stakeholders. It could also be customised to present different options for different request types, and it would create request tickets in JIRA easily.

To make the switch to the new process easier a new JIRA project was created with all the automations needed. JIRA tickets for the specialist teams could now be created with a button click and the sub-tasks were automatically linked to the master ticket.

The complete solution was presented to the whole marketing operations team and then finalised. That was then presented to the stakeholders for feedback.

Senior members of the marketing operations team were taken off-site for training in agile methodologies. The goal wasn’t to convert the whole team to an agile way of working, but to introduce some concepts to encourage different ways of thinking about how to deliver assets.

Specialist team leaders were also encouraged to set up one to one meetings with some of the key stakeholders. There was no specific agenda, they were just to discuss what was happening with their teams and the project they’d worked on.

The Results

There were a few days of adjustment when the new process was rolled out, but stakeholders quickly warmed to it. The Service Desk request tool eliminated requests for assets that weren’t needed. The master JIRA project gave stakeholders a single place to check on progress and provide feedback, and the automation reduced manual work by the coordinators by 75-90%. The single simplified workflow meant everyone knew what the steps were and what was needed, interruptions for updates dropped to almost zero. There was still a lot of work for the teams to do, but with everything being easier to manage the stress levels were lower and the head of the coordination team was able to take some time off.

The direct contact between stakeholders and the team was resisted by some members as being pointless, but soon became valuable. It broke down the ‘them and us’ mentality and resulted in less rework on projects. The coordinators had always had contact with stakeholders, but now they were able to focus on details of requests and prioritisation, using some of the agile training, rather than just providing updates.

Get in touch if you want this kind of improvement in your business.

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