A Google search on “Marketing Practices” returns a jumbled mess. Everything from strategies and trends to the overused “best practices”. If Google is confused, so too is the marketer. 

But, let’s change that. It's time to take back “Marketing Practices” as a real descriptive thing we can work on. An identifiable thing that we can improve and pay attention to. We can focus on finite practices and improve them without replacing your entire marketing or communications process.

For starters, a practice is the way work actually gets done. Marketing Practices therefore are how marketing gets done. Marketing practices make up our daily routines and your weekly meetings. They include our tasks, behaviors and overall mindset to the work of marketing. Those are your marketing practices.

Marketing: A Practice of Action

Practices are productive and unproductive; intentional and unintentional. Some become bad habits that need to be broken. They are diverse.

But here’s the real problem: Our practices haven’t caught up with the changes in marketing. Our marketing practices haven’t caught up with marketing technology. And its literally effecting everything. From the success of the work to those lost nights and weekends.

Marketing practices need to catch up with marketing and the technology that drives it. Leading marketers are adopting new routines and adapting behaviors that benefit the overall process. In many cases, designing marketing practices around our new marketing tools. 

Put simply... We need new behaviors for an increasingly complex profession. 

Go Beyond Process - Think Marketing Practices

Say it with me now… Practices make up your Process. Practices are the “how” of your marketing process. They are the modules you can switch-out or the dials you can use to tweak your process.

Practices are the basic atomic unit of your workflows and reviews that comprise your marketing process. They are your deliverables, your routines and behaviors. They are your next-level down of process definition, the next layer of your marketing process. The things you can individually focus on to affect change in your overall process.

To add some context, here’s a quick list of what some brands have put into practice:

  • Intel has a weekly content ‘War Room’ that coordinates content, channels, and campaigns across audiences.
  • Starbucks leverages a six-week work back plan across their social channels. Everything from the Pumpkin Spice Latte to the Red Cup campaigns go through this standard process.
  • The New York Times has the famous “Page One” meeting 2x daily to orchestrate a 24/7 news cycle.
  • Wendy’s has an impressive governance process that reviews everything from the table top merch to the video that comprises its drive-thru menu content.
  • Southwest Airlines has developed a “Mobile Newsroom” in order to keep pace with its flyers.

Try These Marketing Practices

It’s just like riding a bike: You can provide a bit of coaching, and the learner may pick up a few techniques through observation, but there’s no learning to ride except through the act of trying. 

Practices are tried out and refined. Try them as written, or change them up to suit your team's specific needs.

#1 The Content Review

70% of marketers struggle with ineffective reviews of content. Even more indicate that their review and approval process needs improvement. Lack of a solid review is most likely killing your process.

Its a basic practice that ensures overall calendar accuracy, visibility of the pipeline and provides the structure for a faster moving team. Effective and regular reviews are fundamental to any marketing process.

#2 The Content Sprint

Content sprints provide focus, agreement on high-priority tasks and a rhythm towards increasing your pace of production. They are essentially finite periods of work-time devoted towards a common objective. A time-boxed set of tasks that need completion before a Content Review.

Sprints are ideal for orchestrating omni-channel marketing and communications as they bring together siloed resources who may not be working collaboratively together. We see marketers adopting this practice across B2B and B2C as they are better able coordinate their channels and campaigns more efficiently.

#3 Story Forecast

Fiscal planning calendars have almost no natural relationship with your marketing. Yet, every year, the Finance Gods demand that we predict the market, plot out significant spends, campaigns, and events.

Luckily there is a growing practice called Story Forecasting. It's a monthly or quarterly exercise where teams take a high-level look at the market, what stories are in market and what stories should be in market.

So... there is a better way. Start by measuring your effectiveness and be willing to adopt/adapt your practices. As new technology platforms and tools emerge, new or adapted practices are required. Technology alone won’t be effective without adapting your practices. Brand teams and agencies can innovate with new behaviors and evolving practices that improve the overall marketing process.

Better Still - Measure Your Collaboration

Opal developed the Marketing Collaboration Assessment to measure how individuals and teams are working together across marketing functions and roles. Specifically, we know that across work functions, Visibility, Alignment and Efficiency are critical to improved effectiveness and collaboration. If you're struggling with your marketing or communications process, take our 5-minute Marketing Collaboration Assessment. It begins the process of understanding of where your process is falling down.


Bryan Rhoads

Director of Strategy, Opal