Today we are going to discuss ways you can cut waste from your marketing
My name is Daniel Kirby & my company is called Tech Dept: we help people make
more from the web.
I am an entrepreneur in the creative and digital industries, having built and sold
agencies both on and offline.
I have been creating online strategies and web sites since the mid-90s, for brands like
PlayStation, M&S & Duchy Originals.
I am an active member of BAFTA, having helped establish and promote the
videogames awards, as well as sitting on various juries for the TV & Interactive
I, and most marketeers have approached the web primarily as a marketing
communications tools or a sales channel...
However, the web is equally effective as a platform to improve processes in your day
to day marketing operations...
This is often overlooked – but holds the key both to better marketing, and more
sustainable ways of working...
Why? That’s because the average creative process looks something like this.
Marketing management is often like herding cats – deadlines, media, agencies, sales
people, distributors, management, staff, technology. None of them stay in the same
place that long! Web based marketing operations help herd your cats...
OK, so the web helps better manage the marketing process, but what does this have to
do with Communicating Sustainability?
Most marketer’s offices are filled with unnecessary paperwork, admin and repetitive
tasks – and duplication (sometimes quadruplication) of efforts. This wastes time. This
wastes resources. This wastes materials.
How much post is posted (with the accompanying printing, ink, and stationery
Think how many couriers, postal vans and transportation that distributes these
All of which can be vastly reduced – by vastly improved marketing operations.
By reducing churn in your day, you better manage teams, streamline brand
management – and reduce waste.
Today we are going to discuss 3 ways the web can reduce waste in your marketing
The first of these is workflow – managing the creative & approval process
We worked alongside brand agency DKPM to manage the brand licensing activity for
kids animation Underground Ernie – one of the most successful shows on the BBC
Cbeebies channel in recent years…
The show had a corresponding licensing programme which included a wide range of
This wide range of products was created by a wide range of different licensees, each
with different products & product skews – each based in a different geographical
location, all over the world.
These licensees had to submit all proposed product designs to the brand agency for
creative approval, before being sent to the rights owners for their approval (which
included at least 3 individuals each in different officess).
Any feedback on an individual product (whether approved or rejected – and the
reasons why) had to go back from the rights owners, and agency – to the licensees…
As you could imagine, trying to manage this process by email & post would have
been almost impossible – without significant time & resource (ie staff)....
So we created a web based approval system, which would act as a central focus for
the creative and approval process.
Licensees were able to upload their proposed products to the online system. An email
alert was then sent to the agency, who would then review the product – and approve
(which would then be sent to the rights owners) or reject (with reasons). The rights
owners would do the same. All of this created clarity for all parties – via a dashboard
& email reminder system.
The benefits of this meant that the process was visible, clear, with distinct audit trail
& library of activity. Stats could show who was using the system and when…
All in all managing a complex approval process in a simple and easy to understand
The second area is in Procurement of marketing services…
We are developing ideas for a web based procurement system, for a national retailer.
Why? – imagine you need to retail this bottle of fizzy drink...
The bottle has to be shot for various different applications – advertising, PR, POS,
web, and print. Each of these stakeholders has different needs from that bottle – and
needs it shooting in different ways...
They also have different preferred photographers for each of these jobs...and often
there is only one (or a couple) of product samples to photograph. So the bottle is
couriered between the photographers / marketing teams.
Consolidating this process creates obvious cost – and time – savings, and
significantly reducing waste in the process...
A simple web based system allows the ‘owner’ of a project (eg a brand manager) to
collate photography requirements from each of the stakeholders, against a given
Simple community tools (eg a forum) can be created to allow discussion around a
topic – useful for distributed teams.
Once a Brief is finalised, it is sent to a list of pre-approved photographic studios, who
are given a deadline by which to respond with proposals and budgets. The responses
are reviewed outside the system by the Project Owner, and then the chosen winner is
logged in the system for later review.
The photoshoot(s) then go ahead with the knowledge that it is being as efficiently
managed as possible.
This is the average marketing department’s FTP site / file server. And if its not yours
– this is probably what your agency’s looks like...
By using a web based brand asset management system, you can create a central bank
of brand assets which are up to date, searchable – and can only be accessed by those
that are allowed to see them, when they are allowed to see them.
Features such as ‘yousendit’ style functionality and ‘shopping basket’ systems make
distributing & finding brand assets much more easy – across different stakeholders
such as internal teams, press, agencies, media, printers etc
All of this significantly reduces waste
Yet building on a brand asset management system are areas where you can really
reduce the amount of waste – while increasing effectiveness of brand management,
and return on investment.
We are working on a number of projects which better manage the creation of sales
presentations – linking from central asset management databases.
Often companies will have national or international sales teams which need access to
the latest product information, marketing campaigns, press reviews etc, yet have little
central support for this process
A web based presentation creation / management system helps the sales process.
By giving sales people the latest assets, recycling previous presentations, allowing
clear collaboration across the business, and managing the creativity within the
presentation itself – increases speed and accuracy of sales presentations...
What’s more, this core data can be output in a variety of formats – all within pre-
One of our clients saved a significant annual sum, and stopped the production of
several 1000 CD-ROMs each quarter – and their global distribution, by employing
Not only did they reduce costs and waste, they increased accuracy, flexibility and
We have looked at 3 ways the web reduces waste in your marketing department –
importantly, each of these 3 solutions are focused & simple to achieve, without
costing 100s of thousands of £’s.
They also have a range of real benefits…
These web systems help corral all your cats – keeping shifting activity closely
monitored in a single online location...
This has the benefit of streamlining your day, and better managing your brand...
It also significantly reduces – what we call in the trade – bullshit. It makes your
work-life better, by allowing you to focus on what you enjoy about your job –
marketing – rather than what everyone hates: boring repetitive tasks...
And this means that you can focus more of your time on what you do best – building
brands, communicating effectively, and helping generate sales.