Feedback on passing along feedback to your writers
The dance takes place every day in marketing departments throughout the financial services industry. Drafts of marketing materials are circulated to key stakeholders for comments. Updates are made, more reviews take place and then, at some point, the cycle concludes and the pieces are signed off.
How smoothly the review process runs hinges largely on how feedback is gathered and disseminated to your writers.
Full disclosure: This post takes a writer’s angle on feedback, so the perspective will be skewed for sure. If you’re a marketing manager or in another role where you pass along feedback to writers, please be sure to send along your challenges and experiences and we’ll be happy to share.
Feedback comes in many forms
First off, reviewers of marketing materials work in different parts of the company: from product, sales and marketing to legal, compliance, investments and more. So it’s not surprising that everyone has a different way to provide feedback. We’ve seen it all over the years:
- Tracked changes or blackline edits
- Comment boxes in the document
- Edits appearing in different colours
- Copy revisions made using the “text highlight” feature
- Handwritten changes of varying legibility
- List of comments via email, a phone call, fax or in person
- Sticky notes plastered onto hard copies
- Insert your favourite method here
Needless to say, the review and feedback process can easily derail if it’s not managed effectively.
Compiling vs. consolidating
One way to provide feedback is to compile it. In this case, a marketing manager circulates drafts and then sends all edited documents to the writer.
Some marketing managers will take it a step further and compile all the feedback into one document. That’s closer to what a writer needs, and it can position the marketing manager as the true “point person” on the project. We believe that the most efficient way to move feedback to the writer is through consolidation, not compilation. Why? Sometimes reviewers provide conflicting comments.
The most efficient way to move feedback to the writer is through consolidation.
For example, someone might write, “This sentence would be great in the intro. Move it there.” Another reviewer might say, “This sentence belongs in the close. Move it there.” What’s a writer to do? The marketing manager can weigh in and decide how to direct the writer.
One more example to consider
Sometimes reviewers pose questions. There may even be a running debate as different points of view are aired. It may not productive for the writer to sift through these unanswered questions in order to figure out next steps. This is where the marketing manager can step in, meet with or call the reviewers involved, and resolve any outstanding issues before the consolidated feedback goes to the writer.
It takes and strong team and a locked-down process to produce the strongest, most compelling marketing materials possible in an efficient manner. And this is a great opportunity for marketing managers to shine. How efficient is the review/feedback cycle in your company?