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Creative Ops

Creative and Marketing teams clashing? These tools can help

May 11, 2022 · 8 min read

It’s the age of brand — companies across all industries are forced to produce a staggering volume of creative content just to keep up. 

Chances are, your CEO falls in with the 80% of executives betting on the marketing department as the primary growth driver. 

No pressure, right? 

As a result, marketing departments are reaching agency-esque levels of production — especially with visual assets. 

Graphics for web pages. Custom headers for blog posts. Memes for all those social media channels. And don’t forget about video assets.

Like all high-output content engines, your marketing department is walking the fine line between quality and quantity. Navigating that fine line often results in inefficient workflows between creative and marketing teams. 

But who’s to blame for this?

Is it Ashley in Marketing who’s constantly hopping between stored assets, brand guides, and creative briefs to deliver feedback? 

Or is it Jimmy in Creative, who is drowning in storage folders full of asset versions and still can’t find the most recent asset to share? 

Actually, it’s neither. All finger-pointing should be directed towards the real culprit: your legacy cloud storage system. 

In this post, we’re going to walk you through why Dropbox is the worst tech relationship your marketing department has, and what you need to look for as you move on. 

Short on time? Here’s a little TL;DR: 

  • Dropbox hamstrings collaborative efficiency between your marketers and creatives. It’s time to call it quits.

  • Managing mountains of creative assets, walking the fine line between quality and quantity, and navigating creative review all take time away from brand growth.

  • Here are 4 ways you can achieve a smoother workflow for your creative and marketing teams by updating your cloud storage: 

  1. On-asset feedback that reduces obnoxious back-and-forth between storage and communication tools.

  2. Kanban boards that visualize project management, giving your team a clear understanding of where assets sit in the creative workflow.

  3. Version stacking removes annoying duplicate assets and complex naming conventions and tidies your storage space. 

  4. Smart search makes finding specific assets a cinch.

  • Your marketers and designers could be spending more time productively collaborating, and less time getting blocked (and pissed off) by outdated cloud storage software. 

  • Free up your creatives and marketers to do what they're good at and watch your brand flourish.

It’s time to call it quits with your legacy cloud storage software

You know all too well how frustrating it can be for marketing and creative departments to collaborate effectively. 

Creatives have the grand artistic vision. Marketers develop ICPs and personas, and keep branding aligned with core values to drive growth. Together, both sides must work together to bring a compelling brand to market. It’s a constant back-and-forth of scope creep, missed deadlines, vague feedback, and a laundry list of other issues. 

What you might not be aware of is this — there’s a saboteur in your midst. Dropbox is siphoning your team’s energy and sowing discord.

Here are three of the major issues marketing departments face today that are directly related to legacy cloud storage: 

1. Navigating creative asset oceans — Who has time to argue over feedback or alignment when you’re struggling to simply find the damn asset?

2. Balancing speed, quantity, and quality — According to a 2021 Accenture study, just 17% of marketing executives say their department is successfully navigating the constant disruptions occurring in the industry.

3. Efficiently navigating creative review — Too much time playing find the feedback, not enough time focusing on producing compelling assets.

These issues eat up hours of productivity between your creative and marketing teams and ultimately reduce the impact of your brand — your bottom line takes the brunt of it. 

But there’s no need to suffer sub-par cloud storage any longer. Leave these instigators behind with cloud storage that automates what your team hates. 

What to look for in your next cloud storage platform

Smart search, Dynamic Feedback, kanban workflows, and version stack capabilities will have you saying “Dropbox? Who?” in no time. These functions help realign Marketing and Creative, allowing them to focus on core deliverables and KPIs, and will declutter your creative ops once and for all.

Here’s how: 

More on-asset feedback. Less SaaS-y feedback.

You’ve heard of sassy feedback, but what about SaaS-y feedback?

You know, the kind of feedback that has your team jumping back and forth between different software tools.  

Is it in Slack, maybe? Or in ClickUp? Oh, wait, no. It’s probably in that email thread. Just look up the subject line, or maybe Slack someone if you can’t remember it. 

That’s SaaS-y feedback — and it’s a major source of headaches for marketers and creatives.

(It’s also your daily reminder to pick up more Advil.) 

But what if it could be different? 

What if, instead of fumbling with frustrating feedback workflows, all the important steps were contained within a single app? 

Instead of spending time describing the section or frame that needs addressing in a Google Doc and then sending it through Slack or email, you simply draw directly on the visual asset, marking up the exact part of the asset you mean to address. Instead of scrounging through Slack and Dropbox for asset links and comments, you simply join a workspace that houses all this work in one place. Instead of saying “sorry, forgot to check this,” you receive an email or a mobile or Slack notification that prompts timely feedback. 

Our content marketer Francis Zierer perfectly sums up the impact of this feature on his ability to collaborate with designers: 

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“Without on-asset feedback, it’s difficult for me to communicate in the designer's terms. But with Air, I’m able to go in, circle a specific area, and say ‘there’s too much space here.’ It decreases the distance between a marketer’s feedback and the creative needs.” 

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Kanban-style workflows take project management from start to finish quickly

Your marketers are tired of searching through  “Asset approval” Google Sheets, click, click, clicking their day away, trying to find an asset they swear was approved but is nowhere to be found. They start mumbling something you can’t quite hear, but you make out the words “where the fuck did Jimmy put it?”  

Don't play the blame game with your team, Dropbox and Drive are the real culprits. 

Your team is conditioned to believe that creative production needs spreadsheets to succeed, but people hate spreadsheets. And those feelings are starting to seep into your creative collaboration... 

What you need is a cloud storage system with a function that provides a visual representation of where assets lie in the approval process. A system where all assets live out in the open, proudly displaying their status.

 A system like this:

Kanban helps teams visualize where assets are in the workflow —  from “to do” to  “in progress” to “approved'' and any additional stages your creative workflow has in between. 

This capability is a massive time-saver when paired with cloud storage, allowing stakeholders from Marketing and Creative departments to:

  • Drag and drop assets through the entire workflow 

  • Synchronize with project management tools

  • Banish those approval spreadsheets to the depths of your desktop recycling bin

Creative directors frequently report that a better understanding of the design process — particularly, how long it takes — is crucial for successful collaboration between creatives and project stakeholders. 

Kanban-style project management takes that institutional knowledge and makes it highly visual. No more secret resentments fuelled by Dropbox.

Now you’re improving the creative workflow and breaking down barriers. 

Version stacking gives your asset storage space the Marie Kondo treatment 

What’s the only thing worse than sorting through a folder full of assets with names like “summer_visuals_V1_4_FINAL.PDF” ? Well, finding out your team isn’t even being consistent with these unwieldy naming conventions. 

Your cloud storage is full of imposter asset versions with annoying names.

Why does this happen? 

  1. People generally aren’t too good with long strings of symbols. Source: me. I’m terrible at this.

  2. Dropbox and Drive are outsourcing the administrative heavy lifting to your creatives, marketers, and freelancers. 

It should be the other way around. You should be able to outsource your tools.

Especially considering the amount of content companies produce every day, version stacking is a must for modern media storage. 

This feature is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of creating nested folders for different versions of an asset, you simply drag new iterations and drop them on top of the older ones. It gives your storage space the Marie Kondo treatment. The asset acts like a folder for all versions of itself.

It removes all the unnecessary steps that legacy cloud storage adds to iterative creation. No creating folders within folders within folders. No more playing “find the finished asset.” No more in-fighting about naming conventions

Smart search: If you can think it, you can find it

Creative collaboration is one of the most important parts of marketing asset production. It’s where you fine-tune creative and ensure it’s strategically aligned with your brand and values. It’s what sets one brand apart from another. 

Unfortunately, instead of focusing on delivering great feedback, most marketing teams spend hours each week slogging through storage looking for specific visuals. And what do they have to go off of? In-house naming conventions or the recollection of coworkers. Yeah, good luck. 

Even if it seems manageable now, it’s not the kind of problem that just disappears. 

As your company grows, so does the volume of content you put out, which means so does the sea of folders in your Dropbox storage. It’s the creative workflow equivalent of compounding interest. 

Except it’s not just eating up valuable time, it’s also eating up the bandwidth of your marketing team. 

This is where asset storage with smart search is such a game changer:

  • Upload a visual asset to the storage space

  • AI automatically scans that asset and attaches appropriate tags

  • Metadata about the date, designer, and uploader are all attached as well

  • You can now find even the most obscure assets within your storage space with ease

Smart search: simple premise, big impact. 

Get the cloud storage system your team and brand deserve

Marketers and creatives will always have a complex relationship — they’re like Ross and Rachel. 

It’s an issue that creative agencies have been battling for decades and one that’s spilling into in-house marketing departments thanks to the content boom.

Yes, back and forth about creative briefs, scope creep, and strategic alignment needs to happen in ambitious, creative teams. It can be highly productive. 

But not with Dropbox and Drive in the picture. 

You’ve grandfathered these dinosaurs into your MarTech stack for long enough, and their limited functionality is poisoning the creative well. To get your marketers and creatives collaborating effectively again, you need a storage system that automates the things they hate. 

But don’t sweat it, it’s only the growth of your brand at stake.

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