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Feb 15, 2021 | Strategy

How to get buy-in from stakeholders to scale your creatives12

It’s increasingly clear that the tech we use shapes the work we do in different ways, so choosing the right tool for our workflows is absolutely critical. And even more so when we’re trying to choose a creative automation platform, also known as a creative management platform or CMP, that can be used by creative teams around the world.

Andreea Serb

Content Strategist at Storyteq

It’s probably not new that in a world of competing endeavours and resource limitations, it can be challenging to persuade stakeholders to give a new project like adopting creative automation the green light. 

First, it can be difficult to justify spending resources on a new platform without having the data.

Second, depending on the size of your team, you may not be able to instantly flip a switch and work with new platforms immediately. So the more complex your organization is, the more important it is to pick the right approach. 

To get started with a new platform, there are a few questions you can start asking yourself:

  • “How do you manage the process of buying a creative management platform?”
  • “How do you ensure all the stakeholders see the value of creative production through your lens?”
  • “How do you adopt it without scaring people that they might lose their job?”
  • “How can your creative team be less concerned about their creativity being automated?”

By answering these questions, you can tackle the problem the same way as you would with any other work project, which helps to ensure everything is well considered. Besides that, it’s important to find advocates in your organization who will share your ideas and help to influence stakeholders.

So if you’re looking to understand the power of creative automation and dynamic creatives, and want some facts to back it up, then look no further. We’ve compiled some steps to guide you and your team’s decision-making process.

💡  Want to learn more about how creative automation can help you scale your ad production? Read all about it here.

Start with why

Would you invest in a major piece of ad tech without envisioning exactly how it would help your team? Probably not. You can apply the same due diligence to creative automation. You’ll want to ensure you know how that investment is going to be put to work and – ultimately – pay off.

So it’s really important before kicking off this process to ask yourself: Why do you need such a platform? Is it just out of curiosity and excitement or are there clear requirements in your department for this kind of platform?

To prove the value of creative automation in your marketing mix, first come to the table with a number of key selling points.

These can be reaching your audience where they are, personalization at a granular level, scaling your ad production in a leaner way – and so much more.

Ronald van de Worp, Online Growth Manager at Squla: “You have to be enthusiastic and really believe in the advantages it will give your brand. Do an introductory meeting with the vendor and talk about several business cases. Dig into the topic, make a business case and test plan, and with this, you can persuade every stakeholder.”

Carmen van den Berg, Online Marketing Specialist at VriendenLoterij, shares that her team’s job is to approach their customers with relevant messages and do this in a relatively fast way.

The solution is to create your experience around the why behind producing creatives at scale and drive your team to an aha moment. In Carmen’s case, this revolves around relevancy around messaging and dynamic elements.

Adopting a new platform starts with a clear understanding of why you are buying it; another important thing is that for the end-user this kind of platform will not be a threat, but an opportunity to make their workflows more efficient (and more creative).

Carmen van den Berg, Online Marketing Specialist at Vriendenloterij: “All our campaigns ask for tons of ad creatives. It takes a lot of time to come up with concepts and to develop them, especially when you’d like to add dynamic elements in multiple creatives.”

Understand your goals

Like with any new marketing endeavor, setting up specific, measurable goals around your strategy right from the beginning will help you determine success.

First, figure out what you want to achieve with creative automation. Go deep to really identify what’s out there to inspire you.

For example, are you aiming to reach the right audience with your digital ads and offer them a more personalized experience

For every ad campaign, you need to create a variety of creatives. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with these ad experiences. Is there someone within your team who can do all the work needed to scale, resize, personalize the assets needed, or do you need to look elsewhere and outsource this task?

Once you understand your challenges and put all the fundamental pieces into place, you’re ready to kick off the project and drill further down into the goals. These ingredients are critical to have in place before you break down your goals and start pitching a solution to your team.

💻  For the digital marketing team: It can be to enable them with more opportunities to create advanced ad strategies and increase the performance of their current ads, and having a more data-driven approach to their target market.

🏠  For in-house design teams: It’s about regaining time spent on doing nitty-gritty work like versioning, re-sizing assets and creating hundreds of variations of the same template. Just think about all the time they could be spending on the creative process instead.

At Squla, the team was facing a similar challenge so they started thinking to elevate their online campaigns as most of their audience was getting content featuring the same messaging.

Their objective was to create personalized content to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

“We were looking into options which could help us provide different banner messages for different audiences, but also the possibility to test the best performing ads,” mentions Ronald van de Worp, Online Growth Manager at Squla.

“We discussed this with our creative agency and they came up with Storyteq. After the first meeting, we discussed the possibilities and options to test many banner versions, in a fast manner,” adds Ronald. 

Once you’ve understood what your goals and objectives are, it’s time to align your intentions with the stakeholders.

Identify your stakeholders’ values and priorities

As you prepare to pitch a creative management platform to your team, you’re going to involve other people, so it’s ideal to conduct a stakeholder audit.

Knowing who is approving and advising your project is the first step. But before you dive into the execution mode, try to understand your stakeholders’ values and priorities and match your projections to theirs.

  • You’ll want to make sure that you are aligned on the overall objectives and strategy right from the get-go. To do so, think about writing the answers to these questions:
  • “What do your stakeholders care about?”
  • “What are their priorities?”
  • “What challenges does your department face?”
  • “How can you share these challenges with your stakeholders?”

Among the various stakeholders you interact with, it’s also key to identify the approvers up-front—and to make sure that everyone involved also knows them.

If you require considerable input from more stakeholders with relevant expertise, you could designate a single approver with other stakeholders acting as advisors or sponsors.

Advisors can, and should, provide critical feedback to ensure the success of a project, but it is ultimately the approver who decides whether a project of this magnitude gets funded.

Rogier Ros, Commercial Lead st Storyteq recommends you to get sponsors or stakeholders who back up the project because they experience the challenge themselves and see the value in it up-front.

As you think through this process, develop a more nuanced communication strategy. Ask yourself how the problem you’re highlighting impacts the rest of your team, and what value your solution offers.Practically, this could be a good old-fashioned brainstorming session where you consider and assess how this project will impact your stakeholders directly. During this step, be intentional about understanding:

  • Whose workflows will be affected
  • Whose approval you’ll need to complete this process
  • How marketing and design teams will benefit from these new workflows 
  • How the platform will impact and bring benefits to your organization in the short and long-term

Explain the creative automation ROI

At Storyeq, we often talk about the importance of removing or automating non-essential steps from our daily workflows.

As a tech-savvy company, we strongly believe technology is not a threat but an opportunity – and this opportunity lies within freeing up time for work which you’re actually trained for – in the case of marketing and design teams, setting up great ad campaigns and conceptualizing ad designs that stand out.

For Carmen from VriendenLoterij, identifying the value of creative automation was something her team did from the very beginning.

“We did a vendor selection process and Storyteq matched our requirements. It was quite a process of consideration,” explains Carmen. 

“In multiple teams, from sales to retention, a relevant approach was key. It’s fair to say that all teams could benefit from the Storyteq platform,” adds Carmen.

“By the time the first campaign was live, we initiated a lot of meetings with different stakeholders, such as designers and consultants of the digital agency we work with. After all those meetings, we were convinced by Storyteq.”

Carmen van den Berg, Online Marketing Specialist at VriendenLoterij

The ROI of creative automation could be about scaling your production by using technology as the backbone of your process but also gaining full control to maintain brand consistency at a global level.

In the end, the reason you produce ads is to tell a story, showcase a product or service, and influence consumers to act. And the process to do so should be enhanced by the tools you bank on.

As Guido Derkx, CCO at Storyteq, puts it: “Technology will not replace people – it will enable them to do their work better and more efficiently.”

Personalization builds trust

When the Squla team started working with dynamic videos a couple of years ago, they saw the benefits immediately.

“Our commercials are made with dynamic videos in mind and as a focus point. This way, we can create several options to test online and apply changes really fast,” explains Ronald.

A campaign the Squla team worked on was creating standalone videos for different subjects like math or languages and include different dialects found in The Netherlands and reach different children’s age groups.

“In the videos, we could easily show, for example, to people from Friesland a video with a Frisian accent,” explains Ronald.

In this case, the versatility of the creative itself is the most powerful thing of the entire campaign – it’s the only tangible thing for your consumer but the level of personalization is important to communicate personally with your audience.

“In the end, the reason you produce ads is to tell a story, showcase a product or service, and influence consumers to act.”

Guido Derkx, CCO at Storyteq

If you know that you have real-time insights on who your audience is, how people act, when you produce something, you need to keep in mind that it needs to be adaptable to how people will react to it.

Define a clear roadmap of what you want to achieve

Creative automation helps remove bottlenecks in the creative production process by shortening, personalizing, and making the process easier for your entire organization to create and adapt visual assets. 

As you’re trying to persuade your team to improve these workflows, think about the road ahead and paint a story of how this new platform could help you solve your bottlenecks and make you more creative at the same time. 

This could mean how you are going to fully make use of the platform to serve your ad campaigns but also who the people involved will be.

Above all else, personalized content builds trust. If your brand is struggling with building relationships in a more authentic way, then crafting your content to serve each audience member is a must.

For VriendenLoterij, this is what they needed when they launched a campaign dedicated to the  Dutch Eredivisie (Football League).

“As the proud social partner of the Dutch Eredivisie, each football season starts with a themed Eredivisie sales campaign. For this campaign, we started with an overall concept and for each individual Eredivisie club, we made the creatives using the Storyteq platform,” mentions Carmen.

Start with a small scope before you scale up

Switching from one tool to another or adopting a new one altogether is not for the faint-hearted, so don’t instantly make the change – allow for a transition period instead. Use that time and learnings to collect feedback, understand the platform’s value and functionality, and stay objective.

After all, no matter how exciting a new platform may seem, you’ll never know if it’s the right fit for your department until you try it for real.

With a creative management platform, port some assets in and carry out a test from start to finish depending on your requirements. 

Instead of assuming your entire team will understand your grand plans and how their contributions might fit in, create specific workflows and start creating different asset formats, messaging, or CTAs.

If you’re a global company, start with a local workflow and move on to test two or three markets only after you’ve nailed the local one.

Rogier Ros, Commercial Lead at Storyteq, recommends that if you want to work with video ads, you can follow this framework to make the most of your trial:

  • Define what you need to test 
  • Identify the group of people who will be involved in the process
  • Test your dynamic video ads on multiple touch points
  • Repeat on a larger scale

For the Squla team, setting up such a scope meant creating new video assets for campaigns that would normally take a long time.

“We worked with a Facebook Ads specialist from Storyteq who managed our campaign and shared insights during the campaign with our online and brand team. Based on these learnings and creative direction from our brand team, she helped with the video asset optimization,” mentions Ronald.

“Due to the intuitive feeling of the platform, we were capable of quickly creating new video assets during our “Back 2 School” campaign, which would normally take a lot of time and investment as these edits would need to be made by our creative agency.”

Ronald van de Worp, Online Growth Manager, Squla

Leverage the vendor’s knowledge to make your business case stronger

The best way to move ahead in a stakeholder’s mind is to proactively answer any potential questions they might have — and you can’t do this without having the right information, like relevant metrics, use cases, and case studies.

To stay informed, call on the subject matter experts and, at the same time, pool the vendor’s collective knowledge to make the best case.

There are also going to be situations when you don’t have an answer but you don’t have to struggle. Access the platform’s online resources where the majority of answers can be found or tap into their support team who can help to clarify the unknowns.

As marketers and designers will start to rely on the new platform completely, it becomes more crucial than ever to have consideration and empathy for your team members. Make sure everyone knows where to address these questions and provide them with all necessary support and educational materials.

Wrapping up

It’s helpful to remind your stakeholders why you believe in the power of creative automation, so whether you’re looking to scale your ad production, or even if you’re just getting started on your first dynamic creative, you can keep these selling points in mind.

Implementing creative automation can yield some great results and will help you stay ahead of the curve as more and more businesses ride the dynamic creative wave. 

As marketers, it all comes down to personalizing your messaging and the way your target audience likes to consume content.

Chances are, your competition is already making great use of it in their marketing strategy, so get in that meeting room and start convincing your stakeholders before you’re left behind.

Need more best practices, tips, and examples on how to scale up your ad production? 

If you’d like to read similar pieces, we’re delivering quality insights from top industry leaders right into your inbox once a month. Let’s connect!  💌

Andreea Serb

Content Strategist at Storyteq

Andreea is a content strategist at Storyteq and is passionate about writing, storytelling, and cross-functional collaboration. When she’s not busy typing away, you will always see her reading a good book.

Andreea Serb, Content Strategist at Storyteq

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