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From chaos to compliance: Creative marketing survey results

5 min read
Mike Puterbaugh

As a marketing professional, what are the biggest roadblocks that you run into on a daily basis? A growing workload? A lack of review processes and actionable feedback from management? You aren’t alone.
Creative marketing teams have more on their plate than ever before. They are required to produce more work product, often with fewer resources and less internal support. As the rise of digital marketing has shifted the industry landscape, companies and their creative teams have found it difficult to adapt to the rapid changes while maintaining the processes that help to drive high-end creative work in previous decades.

What we'll cover


In recent years, the growth in digital channels has opened the floodgates for creative teams. There is an unending number of digital channels to market through, and each needs their own content and collateral to connect with ideal customers. Hyper-segmentation and personalization have reaped huge rewards for proficient marketers and companies, but have also altered the expectations of your average consumer.

To put it simply — marketers and creative teams are required to do more with less. Stagnant processes and fewer resources are driving an output that, in some cases, has doubled or tripled in the last decade. In our recent creative marketing survey, we took a look at how creative teams are dealing with the changing times and pinpointed areas for improvement. We surveyed more than 500 marketing professionals to find out what issues they were facing.


 Here are a few important bits of information from our study that might (or likely, might not) surprise you:

Creatives are Swamped

According to our study, more than 60% of creative marketers managed more than four unique projects on a weekly basis. This, combined with a growing number of stakeholders for any given project has created a creative traffic jam within many companies, making it difficult for teams to deliver the quality that they once did.

The workload of marketers has grown at such a rapid rate that many companies have had a tough time filling new roles and implementing processes to deal with the increased workload. The one upside here is that the wealth of tools and technology available to teams today makes managing several simultaneous projects more simple. Still, the high workload makes it difficult for creative teams to spend the required time polishing and perfecting their work, which results in missed opportunities for the company.

The Feedback Cycle is Stifling Creatives

As workloads continue to grow, our study found that one of the largest roadblocks for creative teams was dealing with the creative content review process. Because creatives are working on shorter timelines, there isn’t as much time as there once was to go over every piece of copy with a fine-toothed comb.

Surprisingly, our study found that many companies completely lack standard review processes across all of their different channels and types of collateral. In fact, more than half of the marketers that responded to our survey said that they lack a consistent process for the review and approval of their creative content. The reviews that do take place are often sporadic, with managers prioritizing certain projects over others.

Feedback is essential for facilitating a better end product. Without set processes in place, many creatives are left throwing darts in the dark when it comes to their work. Nearly 4 in 5 of the respondents featured in our survey said that they encountered regular issues with receiving feedback on their creative projects, which doesn’t bode well for project success. More than half also stated that when they did receive feedback, it was often vague or non-actionable.

Marketing Compliance Slowing Marketers, Lacking Processes

Marketing compliance wasn’t always as complicated as it is today. Decades ago, creatives just had to worry about proper trademark attribution and copyright considerations. Today though, there can be several different layers of compliance that affect any single project.

According to our survey, 78 percent of all work was subject to at least one type of compliance. Today, marketers have to worry about several different forms of compliance:

  • Regulatory & industry compliance.Industries like healthcare, law, financial services, and data storage have their own unique regulations that must be taken into account when creating content and collateral.
  • Brand compliance. Agencies and the brands they work with have their own internal brand guidelines and in-house styles that must be followed to the letter, adding additional steps and tasks to every project.
  • Internal compliance. The rules governing your own internal work product can present another checkpoint you have to consider with any type of creative.

The lack of reliable feedback procedures compounds compliance problems. Using channels like email, hard copies, and sticky notes can make compliance auditing difficult, if not outright impossible. Brands are required to protect themselves and keep a close watch on the messages they convey and the way that information is presented, but many lack the internal review processes to guarantee that it is completed appropriately.

Companies Should Embrace Cloud-Based Tools

As companies integrate more channels into their marketing, delivering creative projects isn’t going to get any easier. Creatives will have their hands in more projects across more channels than they ever have before. With all this in mind, it comes as no surprise that companies are having problems finding the right processes for handling creative reviews and giving each individual piece of collateral the time that it deserves.

However, companies that have embraced online proofing and reviewing systems have reaped the benefits. Ziflow and similar tools provide a structure and workflow that is just not possible when you are managing projects through email and other communication tools.

Want to Learn More? Ziflow’s recent report, “From Chaos to Compliance: What Creative Marketing Teams Are Struggling With Today,” covers these and other topics that are hampering creative marketing teams. 


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