So, you’re on the hunt for the best marketing workflow software to make your marketing management a breeze. Making sure a tool ticks all the boxes can be time-consuming. Which one is the best?
I wish I could point you at it up front but — different marketing teams, different bids. Some need extensive collaboration tools with flexible approval processes; some dig advanced project management features.
But worry not: this guide will help you identify the needs of your team and choose the right tool for your marketing cool (plus my top five options included). Read on!
What is marketing workflow software?
Marketing workflow software is a category of digital tools that help marketing teams streamline and organize their marketing efforts. Usually, it supports task management, creative asset oversight, collaboration and feedback functionalities, and marketing automations that enable you to manage marketing campaigns and simplify the execution of your marketing workflows.
Examples of marketing workflows and their challenges
The digital marketing world is diverse, and so are marketing workflows. Here are the six most common marketing workflows you can run across.
Social media workflow
Social media marketing workflows outline the steps to deliver marketing results through social media channels. This workflow is characterized by a large volume of bite-size content, meaning social media managers will ping their higher-ups for approval much more often than long-read authors. It makes approval the most time-consuming part.
Content writing workflow
Content marketing workflow refers to blogging and other forms of bigger content and includes several core stages: research, writing, review, publishing, and analyzing results. Often, the keyword research and briefing for a future article is done by one team member, and the writing — by another, sometimes outsourced one. Efficient collaboration is vital for content marketing workflows to ensure all parties stay in the loop and deliver on time.
Email marketing workflow
This workflow is all about email marketing campaigns. Besides leveraging extremely conveying and converting content, another challenge of email marketing workflows is segmenting the base to hit your target audience. Since email marketing is a very targeted communication, polishing the wording and implementing A/B tests for better results is crucial, so remember to include these stages in your workflow.
Marketing campaigns workflow
A marketing campaigns workflow is a structured approach that helps teams manage complex marketing campaigns and automate the sales funnel process. The marketing workflow ensures campaigns are targeted, cohesive, and aligned with business objectives. Marketing campaigns are always about continuous optimization: producing new creatives, assessing different wording, and implementing tests.
Brand asset management workflow
Businesses deal with many marketing assets, from social media pictures to printables, merchandise and even job offer letters. The marketing asset management workflow ensures all brand assets come from the same source and comply with the branding guidelines. What makes a good asset management workflow? The ability to quickly retrieve the files you need and put them online without fear of breaking the branding.
Digital PR workflow
The PR workflow aims to build the business’ image in the public online space. It involves sourcing potential media partners and influencers to expand the brand’s visibility and monitor the media coverage while amplifying it. Among classic repetitive tasks in digital PR is press release creation:
- Identify the news beat
- Create the text
- Gather assets
- Distribute the press kit among media
- Analyze the outcome.
What are the benefits of adopting a marketing workflow tool?
If you ask me, workflow software and marketing automations are a blessing to every marketing department. We always have our plates full, and the right marketing software can significantly ease the pressure — and here’s how:
Improved efficiency & productivity
Consider the marketing workflow the rails and all your marketing efforts — a train that glides on them. With more and more content produced daily, marketing managers need an efficient and proven pipeline to deliver on time. The right marketing workflow software helps you build this pipeline and stick to it effortlessly.
Swift collaboration with internal and external teams
Keeping multiple team members in the loop is challenging but critical, especially for remote teams. With marketing workflow tools, staying on the same page with all your internal and external collaborators is much easier. It’s like creating an ecosystem around your marketing team.
Smooth project management
Marketing workflows make the management process sleeker, and workflow management software enhances that. Most workflow management software includes task management and feedback features. Managers can easily track progress and deal with potential bottlenecks, ensuring the team meets the deadline.
Simplified asset and content sharing
Exchanging assets through email or messenger is my personal nightmare — something inevitably goes missing and becomes impossible to find in a couple of months. Having a centralized asset library (like the one in Planable) helps your team navigate the content better: you can always find that particular asset you made a year ago for your client and revisit the attached task.
Easy task management
Marketing teams always run multiple activities, from the initial research to the final marketing campaign results analysis. Marketing workflow tools ease project planning and help you track what’s what. Break down the project, assign tasks to respective team members, set deadlines, and go with the flow.
Top marketing workflow software for marketing teams in 2023
Searching for the best marketing workflow management tool is often a trial-and-error path, so try several options before making your call (I’ve tried six before I landed on the one). Here’s some inspiration — check out the five best marketing workflow tools for any team and budget.
1. Planable: best software for marketing collaboration and approval workflows
Planable puts collaboration in the spotlight. Marketing professionals who value flexibility and real-time feedback will surely love this one.
Planable is a versatile marketing workflow software where teams can manage any sort of written content. This tool suits any content-related workflow: from crafting articles for the blog to scheduling social media posts.
Core features of Planable that can power up your marketing workflows:
- Real-time collaboration. Create any form of content in real-time: teammates can simultaneously work on the same file, leave comments and internal notes, and exchange feedback in context.
- Roles and permissions. Divide your in-house team and external collaborators, give out specific permissions, and build the workspace to fit your particular needs.
- Multi-level automated approval. You can choose from four approval types: none, optional, required, or multi-level. Once everybody in the loop approves the post, it will publish automatically (should you want it to).
- Content calendar. Planable has a very visual content planner with multiple views. You can schedule your communication, add tags and labels, and group and filter your content. This helps teams navigate their efforts x10 faster.
The only drawback I see in Planable is the lack of analytics and reporting options. Other than that, Planable is a fantabulous transparent and centralized platform for managing content-related workflows.
It’s very flexible. Planable offers 50 free posts with no time or feature limitation to get a grip on the platform. After that, you can upgrade for as little as $11/month and tweak the price based on the number of workspaces, features, and users.
2. Monday: best for mid-sized teams with bigger projects
Monday is a project management tool that many mid-sized remote teams choose as their preferred one. It helps teams manage complex projects from one dashboard and execute work more efficiently by weaving detached processes into one extensive workflow.
Key features Monday has to offer:
- Team management. Monday’s great for remote teams, as it includes many features related to project health, workload tracking, performance breakdown, personalized workflows and data visualization, and more.
- Collaboration features. Teammates can tag each other in tasks, set statuses to communicate the project stage, annotate files, and leave feedback to polish the final asset.
Monday is a robust project management solution that can be over the top for small teams or basic workflows. If your team doesn’t manage huge cross-functional projects, Monday might be too complex for you.
Monday has a free plan and four paid plans starting at $24/month.
3. Hubspot: best for marketing automation flows
Hubspot Marketing Hub is an excellent option for those who work with marketing campaigns. I’d say this is the best workflow management software for managing email marketing workflows, as it helps you automate trigger emails and convert leads into customers.
HubSpot’s core features to consider:
- Marketing workflow automation. Automate lead nurturing through emails and routine tasks using the visual workflow builder.
- Reporting tools. HubSpot helps you gather valuable insights on your outreach campaigns and fully understand your customer journey.
As for the drawbacks, HubSpot is not a multitool — it mainly concentrates on marketing and email workflows, leaving content-related ones out.
HubSpot has a free version and three paid plans starting at $20/month.
4. Asana: best for cross-functional teams of any size
Asana is a powerful and feature-packed project management tool beloved by many marketers. It is a good choice for those looking for marketing automation software, as it offers many options for customized workflow automation.
Key features of Asana:
- Project management capabilities. Asana allows you to create tasks, set deadlines and assignees, and manage cross-functional teams working together. The tool offers multiple views to assess your project status: from Kanban boards and calendars to timelines.
- Task automation. Using Asana’s Rules, you can automate routine parts of your workflow, such as pushing tasks to the next assignee, setting deadlines, changing task priority, etc.
On the downside: Asana only allows you to assign one person to the task as the main assignee.
Asana has a free plan suitable for small teams of up to 15 people and two paid plans starting at $10.99/month per user.
5. Trello: best for basic workflows
Trello is the most straightforward of all marketing workflow tools I know. Sometimes, that’s exactly what a team needs: a good tracker for marketing tasks with some automation. No flamboyant features.
Here are the features Trello offers to organize your workflow tasks:
- Kanban boards. Very simple and elegant: the columns represent stages of the marketing task, and the cards are actual tasks. Drag the card from one column to another — and voila, the task status changes.
- Automation with Butler. Butler automates parts of your workflow and allows you to concentrate on work rather than dragging cards. For instance, you can automatically transfer the task to Done after completing the checklist.
But Trello can be too basic for more complex workflows. It’s a straightforward tool where it’s easy to track a marketing campaign or blog article, but cross-functional teams or agencies may find it insufficient.
Trello has a fully capable free version (with no automation though) and three paid plans starting at $5/month.
How to choose the right marketing workflow management software for your team
There are tons of marketing workflow software options on the market. Choosing the right one will depend on your marketing team and its tasks, your company’s marketing strategy, and your budget.
Here are six features to pay attention to when looking for a platform to optimize marketing efforts:
- Task management
Look for marketing workflow software that allows you to assign tasks, set deadlines, and manage the workload across your marketing projects.
- Project management
The tool should let you stay on top of multiple projects to track progress and monitor the marketing teams. Visual insights like timelines are constructive here — they allow you to identify and eliminate potential bottlenecks quickly.
- Team collaboration
Extensive collaboration tools make everyday tasks much easier. That includes real-time content creation, feedback exchange, commenting, and assigning different roles within the team and external collaborators.
- Content approval
Super vital for marketing agencies and highly-dependent teams. Content approval workflow speeds up marketing operations, especially when it gets automated to push the piece forward to the next approver or publish the message once fully approved.
- Integration with other marketing tools
Depending on your core marketing activities, you may need different integrations. For instance, check whether the tool supports your prime social media channels and can publish content directly to them.
- Marketing workflow automation
Whether it’s automated abandoned cart emails or internal pings about pending approval, marketing automation software helps a great deal. Task automation is also a part of it — for instance, some tools automatically transfer the task to another assignee once it hits certain status.
Give that marketing workflow a glow-up!
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing workflow management. However, you can explore many marketing software options and choose whichever floats your marketing boat the best.
Let’s put your marketing process in line, then! Grab those 50 free posts Planable provides and give it a try — your team and clients will thank you.