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5 Contingency Plans to Overcome B2B Marketing Production Challenges

By Jenni Schreiber

Feb 04, 2020

About 9 minutes

TSL Marketing Project Manager K

Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said: “It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” This, too, applies to B2B content marketing.

Lessons learned from bumps in the road during the production of B2B marketing collateral should be seen as opportunities to strengthen and improve your company’s content planning and production process.

Senior Director of Strategic Account Management Kerri Vardon (pictured above) is one of several TSL Marketing project leads serving on the front lines of our clients’ B2B marketing content creation. Her duties range from overseeing budgets to leading client-facing meetings, but just as important is her editorial planning role.

Below, we’ve presented Kerri with 5 B2B content production process risks and scenarios and put her quick-thinking and problem-solving capabilities to the test. Her suggested recovery strategies can benefit both internal marketing departments that handle stakeholders’ projects and outsourced marketing agencies that work for B2B clients.       

Scenario 1: Content Marketing Strategy Redirection

Half-way through the project, stakeholders have decided they want to change their content marketing strategy. Instead of a landing pContent marketing strategy redirectionage for the technology company’s new reseller incentive program, they would like a microsite, a much more in-depth undertaking.

How often does this happen in B2B marketing?

Kerri: A lot. People change their minds, especially those overseeing marketing efforts. We must learn to evolve with the needs and wants of our stakeholders.

What problems does this cause?  

Kerri: This is a bump, but a small one.

What action should the marketing team take?

Kerri: As Vanilla Ice says, we need to “Stop, collaborate, and listen.”

STOP – Bring the current project to a halt until more clarity is given.

COLLABORATE – Set up a call with the stakeholders to figure out the business driver for the change in scope. Ensure everyone is in agreement on the best path forward.

LISTEN – Consult your production team to find out what’s been completed in the current project and what (if anything) can be used as a springboard into the new microsite. Then work to scope out the rest of the microsite, review production members’ schedules, and set new expectations on timeline and deliverables.

Can you provide some preventive steps?

Kerri: It’s important the stakeholders understand the exact content piece they contracted us to execute and how it fits within their overall B2B digital marketing strategy. If that part isn’t clear, there may be some uncertainty with the marketing approach.

The TSL Marketing approach:

Kerri: The more TSL understands about what you’re trying to achieve, the better our strategy team can guide you in the direction of the tactic that will serve your purpose the best.

Scenario 2: Project Timeline Troubleshooting

A copywriter has fallen ill and your stakeholder is expecting a draft of a long-form blog post in a week. The deadline is firm because the blog coincides with and will link to an upcoming webinar. 

How often does this happen in B2B marketing?

Kerri: People get sick. That’s life!

What problems does this cause?

Kerri: Nothing big. The stakeholder has done us a solid by communicating their firm deadline with enough notice for us to be able to pull an audible here.

What action should the marketing team take?

Kerri: First, check if an alternate production team resource has availability at the ready. Work with the team to see which current projects (if any) have more flexible deadlines in an effort to accommodate this firm deadline.

Can you provide some preventive steps?

Kerri: Ensure all resources (hard copies and verbal stakeholder requests) are available to the team. As a precursor to this blog project, arrange a copy intake call with an SME.

The TSL Marketing approach:

Copy intake calls are always recorded so the assigned copywriter (or a fill-in copywriter, in this case) can replay the call in fire drill situations such as this.

Scenario 3: Product Image Accuracy

A web page design for a new product is created, but the image doesn’t match the product description. It seems the design department received thProduct image accuracye wrong image file. The developer is waiting for the design so he can build the web page, which is slated for today. 

How often does this happen in B2B marketing?

Kerri: Infrequently, but it can still happen from time to time.

What problems does this cause?

Kerri: None.

What action should the marketing team take?

Kerri: The Project Manager should reach out to the stakeholder for the correct file, and guidance should be given to the designer to deliver the design as-is to the developer. The developer can go forward with creating the page and then easily replace the image once the correct file is received.

Can you provide some preventive steps?

Kerri: Look at your client-provided assets and resources prior to the start of a project. Take stock in what you’ve been given so there is time to ask for what you’re still missing without creating a major time crunch or production delay.

The TSL Marketing approach:

There are other tasks related to the creation of this web page that the developer can start on that are not dependent on this image file. Let’s make the best use of time!

Scenario 4: Marketing Collateral Redesign

A key stakeholder has just returned from a week-long vacation, during which time an eBook was created detailing one of his company’s MSP services. The eBook has been developed and is set to be released tomorrow through an email campaign workflow. But upon his return, the key stakeholder has requested several copy and design edits.

How often does this happen in B2B marketing?

Kerri: More often than marketers would like.

What problems does this cause?

Kerri: This scenario is a bit more challenging because we now need to rally a copywriter, designer, proofreader, and strategist to process through the edits that the key stakeholder wants to see. This involves juggling multiple schedules to accommodate these last-minute (and probably out-of-scope) changes.

What action should the marketing team take?

Kerri: Set up a call with the key stakeholder and request they come prepared with all requested edits in one document. In prep for this call, the Project Manager should have checked the availability of the team’s resources to action these requested edits. The PM should communicate if the additional round of edits will have any effect on the email workflow launch to properly set expectations. 

Can you provide some preventive steps?

Kerri: Ensure all key stakeholders and/or channel partners are a part of the approval process for both the copy and design phases of the project. Also align project timelines to take out-of-office time and buffer days into account.

The TSL Marketing approach:

Upon adjusting the production team’s schedules, we would set up a quick internal call for the copywriter, designer, proofreader, and strategist to communicate what needs to happen and when.

Since one task is dependent on the other in this situation, taking time to circle up for 5 minutes as a team will ensure everyone knows which task is next for this round of edits.

Scenario 5: Valid Website Credentials

The SEO team has just whipped up some effective keywords to increase a B2B company’s web page SERP position. The copywriter has woven these key phrases into the page’s current copy on a Word document and highliValid website credentialsghted them for the website developer to add to a product page. The developer, however, is having trouble getting access to the back end of the site to perform his task. The credentials he’s been given aren’t working.

How often does this happen in B2B marketing?

Kerri: Not too often for TSL’s clients, as we normally ask for these credentials at the onset of a project.

What problems does this cause?

Kerri: A delay in execution that is dependent on client response for us to continue.

What action should the marketing team take?

Kerri: Have the developer shift focus to another project to allow the Project Manager time to reach out to the stakeholder for the new creds. This could be a turnaround of minutes or days.

Can you provide some preventive steps?

Kerri: Get all website login credentials, as well as any file-sharing platform permissions, at the beginning. Save in a secure place.

The TSL Marketing approach:

Ideally, the TSL team has a login or username unique to our efforts so any one-off user password changes do not affect our work.

Final Thoughts: Editorial Planning Risk Mitigation

There are many more things that can go wrong outside of what is listed above. Try to mitigate risks before they become issues and put contingency plans in place as soon as possible.

Allot time in the schedule for the unknown. Keep the communication lines open so that issues are identified and addressed quickly.

Most importantly, take note of issues faced during content production and review them with your team at the end of the project. These lessons learned can ultimately improve and streamline your company’s content production processes.

While TSL Marketing specializes in providing start-to-finish B2B digital content creation services, we’ve also been brought in during various stages of our clients’ own projects to troubleshoot or fill skills gaps in their workflow.

Our Customer Experience team members and strategic account managers can act as problem-solvers for your most-pressing B2B marketing content creation issues. Find out how we can help you.

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Tags: design, customer experience, content marketing, digital marketing, marketing methods, website strategy, Digital Strategy, digital campaign management

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Michele Balze | November 5, 2019

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David English | December 14, 2018

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Ryan Nicholson | June 2, 2015

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Jenni Schreiber | March 24, 2020

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Michele Balze | March 12, 2020

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Rowena Winkler | February 21, 2020

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Michele Balze | November 5, 2019

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David English | December 14, 2018

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Ryan Nicholson | June 2, 2015

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Jenni Schreiber | March 24, 2020

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Michele Balze | March 12, 2020

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Rowena Winkler | February 21, 2020

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Ryan Nicholson | June 2, 2015

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Jenni Schreiber | March 24, 2020

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Michele Balze | March 12, 2020

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and SaaS firms have many business partners (BPs) that market and sell their ...

Read the Full Story

Rowena Winkler | February 21, 2020

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, B2B technology companies want their messaging to stand out among the rest. ...

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Michele Balze | November 5, 2019

Websites present great opportunities for converting prospects into customers. However, if visitors don’t have a good ...

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David English | December 14, 2018

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Ryan Nicholson | June 2, 2015

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