The Marketing and Communications team at the Purdue for Life Foundation, a staff approaching 20 people, with project management led by Emily Blake, director of project management, recently merged together when the alumni and development offices joined forces. This new organization includes a staff of hundreds of people, all supported by the MarCom team.
The mission of the Purdue for Life Foundation is to inspire well-being in the lives and global communities of all Purdue alumni, students, and friends. The role of the MarCom team is to develop content that ensures alumni, friends, and fans are connected to Purdue, get involved with events and learning opportunities, and ultimately give back, whether financially or by donating their time.
ignite helped facilitate a clean merger and client experience for the MarCom team, who now had a whole new set of customers and departments to work with. Building relationships in a newly merged organization isn’t an easy task, and it was made even more challenging by the pandemic and remote work. The team’s strong progress and high-quality work, powered by inMotion ignite, helped smooth the transition and spotlight the value of the team’s expertise with their new client base.
Emily described that the merger also brought with it a big change in the MarCom team structure itself. “We brought together the team from the Purdue Alumni side with a separate team from the University Development Office, and then we added a few new positions to create the team we have in place now. We had people coming from different departments with different work processes, so it was a big transition for our team in order to serve our stakeholders.”
Before the merger, the teams had different processes, including handling their proofs manually and using a homegrown project management system. Emily described why it was important to switch to a single online platform for managing projects and reviewing proofs. “We used to print out PDFs and walk them down the hall with a highlighter and pen. In this day and age, we couldn’t survive working like that. Over the last year and looking toward how we’re going to be working in the future, having really good organization and communication is critical.”
Having a single project management and proofing source of truth has proven critical for this busy team. “We do a bit of everything,” Emily explained. “Over the last year we’ve done a lot of webinars and virtual conferences, like our Women’s Conference this spring. We do emails, signage on campus, student engagement support, and a digital magazine that involves writing the stories, doing the photography, and putting together the layout. It might be easier to ask what don’t we do!”
One of their biggest projects was pivoting to virtual for their 2021 Women’s Conference. “Going virtual was new for all of us,” Emily explained. “Additionally, we also had merged two women’s groups when we merged into the Purdue for Life Foundation, so we also had to incorporate the new group structure into the virtual event. We were proud of ourselves for tackling this new challenge!”
Now that the MarCom team is onboarding their new team members and stakeholders, they are seeing improvements to their creative workflow in three key areas:
- Time Tracking
- Project Templates
Making their process more efficient has enabled the team to handle more work, complete it on time, and maintain the high quality their stakeholders have come to expect, which in turn helps the team fulfill the mission of helping the people who love Purdue stay connected, get involved, and give back.
Online proofing increases stakeholder engagement
As the MarCom team began working with their new stakeholders, they discovered that some of them were still using paper proofs to get feedback. This manual approach had obvious drawbacks that became even more apparent during 2020. But the benefits that came with Review + Approval in inMotion ignite went far beyond the remote work use case. The functionality provided by the platform transformed the team’s entire review process, helping them get higher-quality feedback, faster.
A couple of Emily’s favorite features in Review + Approval include in-context comments and side-by-side version comparison. “Just the simple fact that the reviewers can see each other’s comments has reduced duplicate feedback. It’s much easier for the designer to apply feedback when there aren’t three of the same comment. Similarly, the side-by-side view of the current version with past versions helps the stakeholders clearly see that we have applied their feedback. They know that we’re listening, and it makes them happy to see us take their feedback.”
Time tracking help establish benchmarks for new team
As the Purdue for Life Foundation is still a relatively new organization, they are still in the process of establishing priorities and benchmarks and understanding of how their team functions in this new context. Using time tracking and reporting capabilities in inMotion ignite has been helpful to this process. As Emily explained, “tracking the time we spend on projects has been an important metric for us to report to leadership. We can use this data to answer the question ‘do the hours worked on projects line up with priorities?’ Reporting on volume is really eye-opening to help us establish priorities or even cut work that is not a priority.”
Templates make it easy for the MarCom team to scale process
As the Purdue MarCom team continues to scale their process, one important area of focus for Emily is templates. “I’ve built a few templates for our email team and our broad-based campaigns team. They are just so great, and make life so easy, especially when you have auto-date calculations set up. It blows my mind every time. All I have to do is put in the due date and then all the task dates just pop right up.”
As Emily continues to drive adoption of templates on her team, her advice to other teams is to just jump in. “Don’t get caught up in thinking ‘is this project template-worthy?’ If you have similar kinds of projects a template is so helpful to get started quickly, and you can always duplicate existing templates and modify them if you need different versions. You’ll be glad when you have the template, and you can just apply it and the whole project is ready to go.”
inMotion ignite keeps creative work organized
Emily boiled down the benefits of having the Purdue MarCom team on inMotion ignite. “Our team has a lot of moving parts and a lot of people coming and going depending on the project. What ignite essentially does for us is keeps all of that organized and keeps everyone on the same page. I can change a due date, or an assignment, and the system notifies everyone that needs to know. Our process is transparent, and communication is a breeze. We’re taking our content workflow to the next level with inMotion ignite.”