4 ways to power digital work with a marketing system of record

A home office set up with a laptop open to work management platform

None of us will ever forget experiencing a worldwide disruption in Q2 of 2020 that required us to rapidly shift to a virtual workforce—and spending the rest of the year trying to chart a new course in the midst of unpredictable market changes.

As we accelerate out of crisis mode, it’s time to turn our attention to empowering digital resilience and maintaining business agility. And marketers who leverage a marketing system of record will be well positioned to power and optimize digital work, as Linnie Ciepielowski can attest. Linnie is a project manager at Esri, a leader in geographic information systems data that helps organizations visualize and understand data spatially, from mapping the migration patterns of birds to analyzing traffic patterns to determine where the next Starbucks should go.

In our webinar “How to Build a Marketing System of Record,” Linnie shared four reasons Esri's marketing team has been able to capture, analyze, and improve processes with Workfront, despite the disruptions of the past year.

What is a marketing system of record?

A marketing system of record is a centralized place for managing all marketing work, making all data and information readily accessible to your team as well as leadership, to show the value and ROI of marketing. A small minority of webinar attendees currently have such a system in place, according to this live survey:

Do you have a system of record for marketing in place?

With a marketing system of record, you can…

1. Future-proof your marketing team for instant pivots.

“We used 74 different request forms and 18 request systems before implementing Workfront,” Linnie says. “I can’t imagine it would have been easy to pivot if that had still been in place when the pandemic hit.”

Because Esri’s marketing system of record had been in place for several years, the transition to remote work in early 2020 was seamless. “Our system of record has real-time data to support us no matter where we’re working,” she says. Esri’s marketing department is fairly event-driven, so it still had to reorganize work to better accommodate the transition to virtual events. This gave urgency to building out better end-to-end processes, combining disparate assets into a one-stop-shop for anyone requesting a webinar.

2. Improve end-to-end processes for the lifecycle of marketing work.

According to Cella’s 2020 In-House Creative Industry Report, less than half of marketing teams (47%) have fully documented workflow processes. Our live poll conducted during the webinar supports these findings:

How well developed are your team's marketing processes?

A marketing system of record makes it easier to implement set processes for frequent types of work, which gives your team more time back for actually executing on the work. Linnie’s team approaches this process “from the perspective of the requester: what can we do to make their lives easier and get their asset produced seamlessly?”

Her team has iteratively tweaked and refined their processes for the new virtual environment. All work is ingested through an intake queue, and multiple channels are set up to invite feedback, including regular open office hours for process questions, data pulled from Workfront, and candid comments gathered through surveys at the end of each project.

3. Use real-time data to make critical decisions.

“When we built out our processes in Workfront, we were mindful to build them around the reporting capabilities,” Linnie says. “A lot of people think about reporting last, but a good understanding of how it works up front can really benefit you because that governs the way you build out your templates and intake forms.”

Because of that, her team is better able to predict how long things will take and even budget for projects a quarter or two in advance, including asking for more help to staff up temporarily during user conferences. “Seeing that in Workfront helps us validate what we already know: that we’re short on resources during that time,” Linnie says.

What kind of visibility do you have today into marketing work, informing your decision making?

4. Develop and manage to the right KPIs.

Without key performance indicators being tracked in a marketing system of record, it’s difficult to tie back the work you’re doing to actual, measurable results. KPIs can keep your team and work aligned, help you focus on the right initiatives and track them, and take action to mitigate risk and adjust plans when needed.

“Having the ability to see this data, see the work you’re doing, and keep projects going in the right direction,” Linnie says. “You can’t even put a price on how imperative that is.”

For more insights from Linnie about how Esri’s marketing system of record has helped the team adapt quickly and empower digital resilience, watch the full webinar on demand.