There’s a lot that goes into determining the success of any creative project, which is why leadership teams often use SMART goals.
This process is designed to target and identify inefficiency and to optimize campaigns for fast, efficient delivery. Granular tracking is important but for creative and marketing teams there is one flaw: the reliance of time based tracking as a primary metric.
Tracking by time has its place in goal and resource measurements, but time is a surface metric that doesn’t always provide insight into real performance and efficiency. It can also incentivize inefficiency and create other problems on a project.
For example, a team or employee up against a deadline may be incentivized to cut corners, letting quality slip in order to speed up completion and make a deadline.
On the flip side, If a certain number of hours are allotted to projects with a deadline it’s possible for one or more of your team members to sandbag. They’re essentially running down the clock if they don’t feel like they need to deliver before the deadline.
Every team needs to be tracked. Data born from team and project measurement is vital to measuring efficiency and benchmarking performance.
Here are some better ways to track and manage the success of your team.
Start with performance metrics
Your creative team will be involved in a variety of projects, both internal and external. For any kind of marketing campaigns and customer-facing content, there are a variety of performance metrics that help show the effectiveness of the work that’s been done.
While these apply only after the work is completed, they can help evaluate the quality of work coming from your team. This includes metrics like:
- Conversion rates for ad copy, landing pages, and product pages
- Engagement rates across social channels
- On-page engagement rates
- Goal conversions throughout the buyer journey
- Referral traffic and acquired links from content marketing campaigns
- Coupon code redemptions during checkout
- Cart metrics like higher order values and reduced cart abandonment from improved user/consumer experiences
Not all metrics will be tracked based on internal data. Whether you serve a B2B or B2C audience, customer satisfaction metrics can be used to make sure your creative team is performing on point.
Using customer satisfaction outreach tactics on internal stakeholders can provide insights, especially in a B2B project where a stakeholder may not be outspoken during the production process. Using customer satisfaction more traditionally (for B2C customers) can also offer insights on your brand’s creative that wouldn’t be available without prompting.
In B2B scenarios, communication is a critical point to assess performance:
- Is your team communicating with the stakeholder about milestones and deadlines?
- Does the stakeholder feel like they know who to contact and how to get in touch with them?
- Is your stakeholder satisfied with how often they receive updates and information on the project
- Are they satisfied with the detail of the updates?
- Are they happy overall?
For B2C, customer outreach can provide qualitative data alongside the performance metrics you measure. Again, asking the right questions around what your team produces is key:
- Why did you choose our brand?
- How easy was it to navigate the site?
- Could you find the information you were looking for quickly?
- Did we provide you with enough information to make an informed purchase? (or did you have to do extra research before making a purchase?)
- How did you find us?
- What did you think of (marketing asset; email, blog posts, guides, videos, etc.)
- What do you like about (us, or content, the shopping experience, etc.)
Asset volume vs. forecast assets
In a project that contains a lot of creative assets you should be tracking the volume of assets being produced (and how long it’s taking to produce them) against the forecast assets and the overall timeline of the project.
Overseeing creative operations means you’ve got two primary goals:
- Deliver more (all) assets on schedule
- Increase the production capacity of your team without sacrificing quality
Forecasting assets accurately is critical because if you’re not accurate it will manifest in delayed asset delivery, reduced quality from an overworked team and frustrated team.
When monitoring asset volume and efficiency you want a tool that can pool data in order to anticipate asset/resource needs and watch for trends while eliminating bottlenecks in the creative process.
Proactive monitoring leads to a more efficient workflow; your team will be less stressed, more focused, and monitoring asset needs lets you anticipate resource deployment so asset delivery remains on schedule.
Compliance looks at the overall project workflow and is best reviewed in conjunction with tracking the project’s timeline.
With compliance you’ll review the individual milestones and the performance of the team to answer the following:
Have we, are we, and will we comply with the required review and approval steps at each stage of the project?
If you are using time tracking as one of your performance metrics, this ensures the team is compliant with every required step in the approval chain without cutting corners. For each member of your team you can accurately ensure all assets are being created in compliance not only with the project scope in mind but also the expectations of clients/stakeholders along with the next steps of the project.
Bottlenecks: Work success vs. Work failure
Work success vs work failure may seem like a simple measurement where a failure-to-deliver would be obvious. Tracking this metric is more about identifying trends to pinpoint bottlenecks.
For example; if you aren’t immediately aware of the number of tasks completed successfully around a website launch vs the tasks that are postponed or cancelled then it’s difficult to comprehend the impact that has on project scope and cost.
Moreover, you wouldn’t know whether the failures and delays are a one-time issue or a chronic problem.
Tracking work success vs. work failure lets you identify individual bottlenecks at the staff level and will reveal costs associated with lost team hours, missed sales, costs of additional resources and more.
Every project has unplanned interruptions that range from a major crisis like a server crash to unexpected client needs, scope creep, pet projects from leadership, and even endless meetings.
Interruptions are costly time-wasters, capable of eating upwards of 6 hours a day per team member and should be tracked. Logging interruptions can reveal incidents such as an employee not prioritizing time, a manager occupying one or more team members with non-critical projects, and even cumulative personal issues that can significantly stall a project.
Once the why and how are identified you can address the interruptions as a team, such as implementing no-personal-call policies during critical milestones and dev hours, no email or social, PM authorization for work requested outside the department, etc.
Creatives aren’t fond of being tracked and they’re typically not ones to live by the numbers. Still, managing a creative team requires that you accurately track the contributions, habits, and tasks associated with each member of the team.
Make sure your team understands that tracking isn’t about catching them doing something wrong. Team tracking is about finding growth opportunities, improving productivity at the team and personal level, maintaining minimum standards of quality delivery, and elevating customer (and leadership) satisfaction across the board.