Great Enthusiasms

Kath Chalmers’ musings on business, marketing, and other fun things in life

How to Organize Your Marketing Files

Disorganized marketing files are epidemic among rapidly growing companies (and many big ones too). One of the first things I have to do for most of my consulting clients is help them sort out what they have and help them find the files they need.  When you’re under pressure to churn out a lot of new material and launch more and more programs, it’s tempting to skip taking the time to tame your growing electronic monster until it bites you in the ass. As your team grows, the problem grows.

Why you’re not too busy to organize your marketing files

How much time do you waste every week fetching and fixing marketing assets for other people? How many projects take you half a day instead of half an hour because you have to search through your hard drive, dig out your old computer, and email four other people to track down the photos, illustrations, and fonts you need (in the right formats) to produce a new piece of marketing collateral? Here are three reasons why it’s worth investing the time to tackle this chore:

Make your sales team self-sufficient (and less dangerous). You’ll want an easy way an easy way for sales people to get assets in a way that helps keep them happy and in reasonable control.  If they cannot find high quality materials easily, they will start making their own god-awful crap that does NOT conform to your messaging or branding standards. Stop this problem before it starts my making it stupid simple for them to find what you want them to use.

Work more effectively with your vendors. Giving vendors the right building blocks and instructions increases the probability that their work will be right the first time, saving you time and money.  Why pay to reproduce a collateral piece if you can easily find

Save money. If you can easily access existing marketing assets and source files, you don’t have to have things reproduced or relicense photos and images again. You’ll pay less and get more value from nearly every marketing vendor.  Your graphic designers can work directly from source InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop files instead of creating new ones based on your PDFs.  Your public relations firm can re-use the press release and backgrounder templates you already created.  You can quickly update your infographic with this year’s data without having to send it back to the original designer.

Getting Started: Who needs what?

Deciding what kinds of files to make available is easy when you approach the question in the same way you target each of your customer segments.  Each group you work with will have slightly different needs and preferences.

Employees One of the best ways to keep your company’s communications looking great and consistent with the branding effort you work so hard to promote is to make sure everyone has well-designed, easy to use templates and tools available.  From basic letterhead in Microsoft Word format and presentation templates in PowerPoint.  Including standard non-disclosure agreements and common documents pre-approved by your legal and human resource teams prevents a lot of problems before they occur.

Sales Team In addition to the files all employees need, your sales team needs quick, easy and intuitive access to your most popular marketing collateral and sales tools.  When you make it easy for them to access high quality, well-targeted materials, they can spend more time contacting prospects instead of hacking together botched flier layouts in Paint.

Partners Making the right materials available and reliably up to date for your technology and channel partners is crucial for supporting your partner marketing programs.  This is especially important for small companies who have to compete with monolithic brands for attention with partners’ sales teams.

Vendors If you’re not working collaboratively with your most trusted marketing vendors, you’re missing significant opportunities to enhance the quality of the work they deliver while cutting costs for both of your firms.  Make sure they have access to your branding guide and relevant vector graphics, high resolution artwork, and collateral source files. Why pay to have every piece of artwork or collateral recreated when you could easily adapt existing materials? Neither you nor the vendor has time to waste on twelve back and forth emails trying to get the right version of the logo into a new flier.  When you both have easy access too the files, you can simply swap out the logo file when you review the document.