Project collaboration is an effective cornerstone of any marketing procurement strategy. Working closely with all the stakeholders, from the ad writers to the marketing managers, enables a strong yet flexible approach to any campaign. But working together and sharing information hinges entirely on open communication and reporting. Everyone involved in a project must know about things as simple as a file upload and as complex as a change in overall designs. In order to understand this circumstance, it’s best to know which project events need to be shared as well as the bottlenecks that occur when they aren’t.

Planning for events

Collaborative communications should be centered on project events. We see these as the tangible actions that occur during the project that you can report. When you request a quote from an ad agency, receive an estimate, complete a change order or confirm the specs for an ad design, each of these is a single event that you can record. You can share most of these situations with all members of the team, including your suppliers and the ad agency.

The importance of recording these events should be obvious. Any time there’s a change in the marketing or procurement strategies, stakeholders must know about it. Creating project visibility is an essential part of marketing procurement because it allows for better coordination between marketers and ad agencies. In our 2014 report on marketing procurement, we found that the average project has 33 fully reportable collaborative events. While that seems like a lot, that only translates to one or two events per week when you’re developing a new ad over the course of six months. These actions, while infrequent enough to not clutter up a marketing department’s workflow, are still significant.

Figuring out the bottlenecks

Of course, there are many reasons a new event goes unreported and unnoticed for an extended period of time. It’s often because of poor communications systems and skills. A marketer may inadvertently close off lines of communication for various reasons, according to Demand Media. Someone may get an email containing an important change to the project, but fail to forward it to all the key stakeholders. Or new details get placed in a spreadsheet that is continually updated, so you may not receive an alert. When team members fail to receive adequate information, the project will stall due to hang-ups that would have been addressed with proper notification. This leads to delays and cost overruns.

In order to address these issues, Tech Republic suggests planning out the project in terms of how communication channels function. That includes identifying key areas where employees fail to communicate on a regular basis, or areas where channels as open as they are. Companies should expect their employees to report any new developments on the projects they work on, even if those new development could cause a holdup down the line. That way, they can anticipate and adjust for the change to minimize any snags.

In addition, utilizing a collaboration software program can help deal with communication bottlenecks that can appear in marketing procurement. Instead of manually sending out emails about new project events such as a file upload, all stakeholders will find out through an automated process. If necessary, companies can send files directly. Marketing departments gain crucial insights and can temper expectations based on any new developments. In turn, they can prepare for adjustments to the overall schedule and budget of the project to account for any hang-ups. The end results are more efficient projects that get out to the market faster with more effective results.