The words "the paper trail" might evoke thoughts of modern white-collar crime thrillers in which investigators follow the money and the receipts, looking through ledgers to uncover how the criminals cooked the books and to identify who's to blame for the crime.

Well, paper is a crime. In today's marketing departments, using paper is a criminal offense. If you're relying on paper to track and manage the day-to-day operations of your marketing department, consider yourself on notice.

Is Your Organization Efficient?

We've made great strides in automating the delivery of our campaigns, but too many companies have yet to embrace marketing resource management (MRM) technology in their strategic and tactical activities. The fact is... people still use Microsoft Excel to manage complex marketing projects. But contrary to popular belief, opening another tab in a workbook doesn't bring greater efficiency to a department that's working on a deadline and on a budget, and creating material that needs to be critiqued, edited, and approved before going into production.

What every good marketing foot soldier, and general for that matter, needs is transparency and accountability in the department. The problem with a spreadsheet is that it's subject to "versionitis," the phenomenon of every person having a different version of the official document.

There's no accountability in saving a document to a local or network drive if your colleagues are working off another version. There's no transparency if deadlines are not met and no one knows that balls are falling and cracks are swallowing the whole of a program or campaign.

A Common Problem

Before centralizing and automating its marketing program, Laerdal, a leading global provider of healthcare solutions, would rely on "the pink sheet" or the document that contained the approvals for a given project.

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image of Len Shneyder

Len Shneyder is director of industry relations at Message Systems. He has 10+ years of experience in email and digital messaging.

Twitter: @LenShneyder

LinkedIn: Len Shneyder