For many marketers, the approval process for new work and marketing collateral is rife with inefficiencies that slow down the rate at which a market-ready campaign can come out the door. We look at ways to speed them up.

The reason many approval processes are so slow is the rigor and attention to detail required from a large number of key stakeholders. From junior staff keen to get their work across the line, to senior brand managers and the legal team, everyone has a slightly different opinion, priority, and level of experience – with all these factors combined, time can quickly be chewed up, or worse yet, wasted.

A lot to disapprove of

Marketing departments are notoriously fast-paced – finding the serious time required to review an iteration of agency work in everyone’s schedule can be near impossible, unless planned well in advance.

The downside with plans in advance however is, that by the nature of the work, leeway and flexibility around delivery dates is often needed – agencies cannot predict technical issues, outrageous render times or, for both parties, unexpected issues or crises.

The alternative to an all-in meeting is proceeding with only some of the decision-makers required. This isn’t the best move either, as key details or context from the agency can be left out to latecomers, and valid opinions may trickle in from people who weren’t able to make the meeting, which need to then be articulated to the agency.

It is common as well that agencies may be dealing with file types marketers do not have the programs necessary installed on their systems (for example, Photoshop or Premiere) – causing more back and forth between the agency and business as they agree upon a format which will open on everyone’s computers.

Once agreed upon at one level and passed up the chain, it is common for more experienced senior staff to pick out objections with the work which junior staff may have missed.

Coupled with the invariably subjective nature of what is being approved, and you have a recipe for overblown timelines, budgets, and the increased possibility of missing your live date or media buy.

More agreeable workflows

Thankfully, there are ways around the inefficiencies of a slow approval process. For one, marketing teams should strive to provide agency teams or external creative and design studios with a clear and comprehensive list of considerations from the word go, from a legal perspective as well as brand values and other mandatories. This rigor upfront minimises the potential for less satisfactory work being presented later down the line.

Dropbox Business provides an easy way to share all this sort of collateral with agency partners, as well as a one-stop spot for agencies to place any deliverables, and the marketing team to review any work.

Where possible, try go through iterations of work with a representative from the agency involved – to act as an ear in the room, as well as a spokesperson for any decisions made.

When diaries cannot be coordinated, consider sharing work on a platform that allows comments and feedback to be incrementally added to it to avoid prematurely sending work back for reiteration without everyone’s feedback.

Dropbox Paper offers clear feedback and reply chains for this purpose – team members are clearly identified by different colours, and their feedback tracked. You can also assign tasks with a due date and see when someone has viewed the document, reducing any confusion over who is accountable for which task.

You can also see when someone is working in the same document as you, engage your team with commenting and stickers, and collaborate in real time with external agencies on things like copy writing and design. You can also easily share you your ideas with colleagues in a beautiful, clean presentation using ‘Presentation’ mode, saving time that would otherwise be spent on creating decks.

The end result is hopefully a quicker turnaround for high-quality market-ready campaigns which tick all the boxes, and keep within project timelines and budgets. There’s only one question left to ask – do you approve?

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