How many times have you struggled to get a designer’s time to ship a project with a deadline?
Or had a homerun idea gather dust in the backlog of your creative team’s kanban board?
Marketing plans look great on presentation slides. But once the execution starts, the elephant in the room rears its head: There aren’t enough resources to go around. 🦗
If more resources were all it took, these problems would go away as companies grow. Instead, these dysfunctions tend to get worse in larger enterprises.
The solution? Better creative operations to remove the ceiling on your strategy and execute competitively in this new era of marketing.
CreativeOps combines talent, technology, tools, templates, processes, budgets, and skill sets that enable creative production to scale in a way that's time and cost-efficient for your business.
By investing in CreativeOps, marketing teams can finally have:
With the CreativeOps chops to produce a large volume and variety of creative assets, a whole new world of marketing tactics opens up to you, enabling you to do more and win more—with less.
Marketers often refer to untraceable social sharing in closed channels—like LinkedIn direct messages, Slack groups, and text messages— as “dark social”.
And while much of the focus has been on the uncontrollable attribution, the one facet that is in your control is how you entice clicks or convey the message you want by optimizing your link previews through the Open Graph Protocol
Open Graph tags allow you to customize the title, description, and image that renders when a link is shared both publicly on social media and privately, like in this Slack post for Superside’s Insourcing vs. Outsourcing guide.
This extra polish can have a big impact, especially in B2B marketing contexts where:
Without an open graph, you get a blank image that users will scroll past.
Take this example from a Canadian fintech sharing a Canadian national newspaper article.
Make good use of that open graph real estate!
The recommended specs to optimize your open graph are:
Use a tool like opengraph.xyz to see how your open graph tags look right now. Some Content Management Systems allow you to customize the open graph directly for each post. If not, ask a developer for tips on how to implement it.
“The link preview could be someone's first interaction with your brand. Does the image you've chosen represent what you do well enough? Does it lead to someone clicking? Do they understand what they'll get by clicking? Stock images can be fine, but it’s best if your title and description add to the image, working together to make someone click—or at the very least come away with a positive image of your brand.”
—Brent Stirling, Director of Growth at Carbon6
Tip: Some channels like LinkedIn, Slack, and iMessage can even render motion in the link preview if you assign a GIF as the open graph image for the page (it should render as a static image on most unsupported channels). Here’s an example in this LinkedIn share for Superside’s How to Use Motion Graphics in Marketing.
Apple’s iOS 14 update, which led many iPhone users to opt out of app tracking, forced performance marketers to rethink how they run ads on Meta and other advertising platforms:
Mary-Rose Sutton, a Digital Marketing Consultant who’s run social media ads for almost a decade for eCommerce brands like Roots, Mejuri, and Knix, believes: “Ad creative needs to work harder at capturing the attention and selling products to a larger user base that may not already be in-market for what you’re selling. Facebook can no longer curate the perfect audience for you, so your creative needs to have wider appeal and be more persuasive than before.”
Retargeting audiences based on website traffic are smaller and less reachable than before.
But retargeting audiences built on social engagement are still accessible.
Having engaging content and keeping up with video trends is more important than ever.
—Mary-Rose Sutton, Digital Marketing Consultant
Brands like Squarespace have been building engagement-based retargeting audiences through ads that feel like educational content:
As a bonus, a solid CreativeOps foundation lets marketing teams run A/B tests and refresh their ads on their own timeline (without sucking up their internal creative team’s bandwidth).
With so many players now competing for the same handful of SERP spots, and only 1 in 3 Google searches in 2020 resulting in a clickthrough, it’s an understatement to say SEO has gotten competitive.
SEO tools like Clearscope and Fraze.io have become ContentOps table stakes for scaling long-form content production. But it's surprising that images and videos are still considered nice-to-haves despite such clear and compounding benefits:
Search “Twitter marketing” and you’ll see a variety of images, from header images with eye-catching copy to examples to infographics.
If that's not enough, YouTube, the 2nd most popular search engine in the world (acquired by Google in 2006) and is now deeply integrated into Google search results. The example below shows a blog post and a YouTube video about design team structures on the same search results page.
But YouTube isn’t the only video-focused search engine around. Vertical video social app TikTok is also being hailed as the “search engine for Gen Z”. The company has even started to experiment with new features in this area like search query prompts to help you find videos related to the one you’re currently watching.
Becoming more like a search engine would increase the shelf-life and discoverability of content posted on TikTok, making it even more attractive to marketers.
It also helps that Google itself is introducing TikTok and Instagram videos into its search results.
Anywhere from 5 to 20+ hours can go into a single piece of content. And yet the distribution necessary for the content to find its audience is often an afterthought.
Even when content is distributed, it often translates to a checklist of basic link-sharing tactics after publishing. Like posting the content on social media, reaching out to blogs for backlinks, or asking the sales team to promote it on LinkedIn.
One approach gaining traction in B2B content marketing is developing repeatable content models where CreativeOps enables a single piece of content to feel like ten.
Yes, that's right, CreativeOps can enable a single piece of content to feel like ten.
It sounds simple, in theory. Turn one blog post into 2 YouTube videos, 5 TikToks, 2 LinkedIn carousels, 3 Twitter threads (and a partridge in a pear tree?).
In reality, this approach requires you to pre-plan distribution when developing content ideas, build repeatable content models you can improve over time, and set up the necessary CreativeOps for efficient execution.
Let's say you're a B2B SaaS brand and want to incorporate case studies into your content strategy. You could interview customers, write up an article, hit publish, and then try to get the link out into as many places as possible.
Or you can develop a content model that offers a repeatable creation and distribution process that works backwards from audiences and channels to determine the necessary creative:
Awesome ideas on paper. But to bring them to life, you’ll need to make the following investments in CreativeOps:
Account-based marketing is hyper-targeted, often going beyond verticals and audience segments to focus on specific customers. But that degree of campaign personalization requires the CreativeOps muscle to deliver quality, on-brand creative assets without compromising speed.
It’s easy to justify a designer’s time when a campaign will reach a large audience.
But when your audience is small—in some cases, just one account with ABM—you may have a harder time making your case.
CreativeOps saves you from choosing between tactics to execute. You can have your cake and eat it too because Creative Operations multiplies the ingredients of your recipe.
For your ABM strategy, it enables:
Gum Gum, for example, produced this comic book-inspired lead magnet to close a big account at T-Mobile based on a hunch a key decision maker was a Batman fan. It’s an example of how creative bets can pay off.
Eliciting a pretty cool reply from the CEO of T-Mobile (at the time) who has over 5 million followers.
User-generated content (UGC) is any content that is created by users of that channel, who are, in most cases, also your customers.
UGC can be incredibly powerful when promoted as an ad. It can be a tweet, a TikTok, an unboxing video, or a review. But to scale its impact, you need the video editing and motion design muscle to adapt what was created for one channel to others.
Grocery delivery service Imperfect Foods took a UGC video created for TikTok and, with Superside, was able to turn it into a TikTok ad, Instagram story ad, Facebook ad, and even a commercial. Plus, they can AB test different variations to find the winners—without overwhelming their internal creative team.
Experienced media buyers like Sarah-Jane Gwira say UGC is now more about rapidly testing and squeezing value out of the content to find what works.
“What you’re competing with is not necessarily which audience is going to be right, it’s which piece of creative can you ride into the night with to connect with your audience,” says Sarah-Jane, who’s noticed a shift in her clients’ needs since iOS 14. “Now it’s, can we get this much UGC made? Can we get graphics that look like that? Can we try GIFs? Can we test an iteration where we change the first three seconds and see how it does against the original?”
Creative operations may seem dull next to marketing’s many shiny objects. But without it, your strategy will always be restricted by your capacity to execute.
CreativeOps helps you keep your creative production costs manageable, gives you access to the necessary skills to execute, and reduces your time to market by unshackling the marketing team’s creative pipeline from the creative team.
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