[From Wrike] How Our Marketing Operations Team Work with Confidence

"Hey @marketingops! Do you think you can have this extremely important project back to me in two hours?"

Marketing Operations is pretty exciting. We live at the intersection of marketing, design, content, analytics, website development, and IT operations. We connect the dots between delivering planning, governance, and support to allow others to focus on delivering value. 

The Problem 🤔

We get to work with so many people. Which is awesome. What’s not so awesome are the complications that arise when we encounter their varying workflows. Every team works differently. And every team has a different idea of what ample lead-in time is. If we don’t plan things properly, chaos can ensue. 

How do we stay focused? We make sure to gather all the information we need as quickly as we can. But therein lies a challenge: How to collect this information? And how do we let teams know how long we need to work on projects? We could start with direct messages, meetings, phone calls, watercooler chats, or even sticky notes. But this is too messy. We wouldn’t be able to keep track of everything. 

The Solution 💡

Want to know what totally changed our lives? Two words: Request Forms. These centralize everything. We can see who is doing the asking, what they are asking for, why they are asking for it, and when they need it by. We can also specify mandatory lead-in times (give us a few days at least, please) and loop in as many, or as few, Marketing Operations squad members as we need.  

We live by them 🙌. Request forms always come first.  

It can be a challenge to get other teams to use these forms, though. As the Marketing Operations team lead, I pretty much evangelize them. Here’s what my Slack bio looks like: 

Why Request forms

  • It gives an overview of our expectations
  • It ensures answers to question the requester might not have thought to ask
  • It makes working together easier
  • It minimizes follow-up questions 

How You Can Do It 

You should try Request forms too. They’ll make your life a lot easier. Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Do a test run: Go over your Request form structure with your own team and with the teams you work with. Make sure everyone understands what's required. 
  • Explain their value: Let them know the reason you created the form in the first place. They’ll quickly understand that it saves everyone time.
  • Go with the flow: Make sure your Request forms can adapt around your team’s workflow patterns. 
  • Automate. Automate. Automate: Make sure to auto-assign Request forms to the team member responsible for workload management. And make sure they go into a dedicated Folder. 

Most importantly: Never be ashamed of asking people to fill out Request Forms. You’re making everyone’s lives easier by delivering clear processes that help them work with confidence 🙌. 

Mariam Vanyan Community Team at Wrike Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Mariam,

Great tip - Thank you for sharing your best practices! We would love to apply your Marketing Operations team's strategy and get our customers to initiate projects using standard Request Forms. Do you happen to have a template already set up in Wrike that can be adopted? Are there pre-built Forms available? I have been trying to find one to get started with and then customize for a specific solution set (i.e., a web site request/web page request form), and it would be preferable to avoid having to start from scratch and reinvent the wheel, if a Wrike form already exists, especially one that has been tested and used successfully.👍

Kindly let me know. Thank you!

Nadia

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Nadia, 

Thanks for your interest! I was on vacation, but thanks to request forms, all the tasks came through during my vacation in a structured way 🙌
 
Some people might think it's hard to make a form general and still gather all the needed details. I don't believe that to be trueAs with all forms, sometimes it's hard to think of questions that will cover all eventualities, but you can add a structure to help cover everything you need to get the task started
 
Let me show you tips on how I structure requests for my team (as well as website page creation, email campaign execution, infrastructure adjustment). So whatever the request is try to structure it with a 5Ws+1H approach:
 
What: questions are as straightforward as possible, so when your team looks the resulting task, then understand it straight away.
Where: if it's particular webpage, subdomain, or tool that needs to be used.
Why: how will the execution of that campaign/task will be measured?
Who: are there other teams that need to be involved, a list of dependencies and stakeholders?
When: the chosen deadline?
How: here is the part of the form that gives freedom to the requester so they can add specifications, ideas, references, etc.
 
You can add the first question as 'Request Type' as a dropdown: e.g. page creation, email campaign launch, etc.
 
One piece of advice before we start is to put hints to all the questions, that way you can get well-shaped replies.
 
As you talked about web page Request Forms, let's imagine you want to create webpage for an event coming up in March
1*. Request type with dropdown: Choose request type: "Web page creation"
2*. What: Name your request
  • hint: structure it as <Action>+Asset (e.g. Create page for Awesome Event)
3*. How: Please, define, what should be placed on the page. 
  • hint: target audience of the page, structure of the page, webforms if needed, content, any design wishes 
4*.  Where: Specify where this page needs to be created
  • hint: choose subdomain if applicable or write what part of website this page needs to be created.
5*. Why: What's the goal of this page?
  • hint: %conversions, #visitors, #opportunities crated, etc.
6*. Who: List here key project dependancies and stakeholders
  • hint: if you already have dependent tasks created, paste your links here
7*. When: Define the due date of your request
  • hint: for webpage creation allow 2 weeks lead time
8. Any other information that might be useful for us
 
*-required fields
 
One more piece of advice is to add 'deadline' as the last question: when requester goes through all the steps, they'll then understand why your hint says "allow 2 weeks lead time". If it's at the start of the form they might not first understand why you need that much time to complete the task.
 
Let me know if you have any follow-up question, happy to share more in-depth insights if needed. Hope you find this helpful 🙂

Mariam Vanyan Community Team at Wrike Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Thank you for this article! I swear by request forms and as their capabilities improve so do our internal functions.

For those of us interested in how simple or complex these can be, I've provided two samples that we use (that loops so you can't submit anything).

Hopefully the below examples help you and your teams in creating your ideal request forms:

Marketing Project Request Form Sample - Simple

Email Campaign Request Form Sample - Complex

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Stephen

Hi Cameron, this is great! Do you think you could also add this as a standalone post in Best Practices with the title of 'Examples of Request Forms for Marketing teams', when you have a minute? I think people here would really like to see these and they'll be able to find them easier in their own post. Thank you! 🙌

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Hi Mariam. Is there anyway we can set up an auto response for each request forms we'll be receiving? If its existing please let me know. It will actually help a lot specially during holidays. Thank you!

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Stephen

Hi Jabelle, jumping in here for Mariam.

Here's how to set up auto-response emails for Request forms. Keep in mind the response you choose is the same for all External Request Forms in your account.

Take a look at the above link and let me know if you have any questions 👍

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Hi @Mariam,

I found the information you posted very, very helpful and thorough. I certainly admire your sense of spirit in educating and serving your customers. Great example to follow!

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Thank you for the idea Stephen. I've posted the new best practices article here. Hopefully it can help others as they create their own.

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Stephen

Just took a look, Cameron, fantastic approaches there! Thanks for sharing it here for everyone to learn!

@All, if you're interested in marketing-related request forms, Cameron's examples at the link are very solid. It would be great to hear your thoughts there, or any request examples you use 👍

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