Kanban – organize your marketing

kanban in marketing

How to organize time for creativity in marketing activities? Kanban comes to the rescue, a method that not only organizes, but allows to achieve the set goals in the first place.

To have… or to be? 

My biggest challenge while working in an interactive agency was Shakespeare’s choice between…having and being. On the one hand, I wanted, along with my team, to be innovative and creative, create products that will amaze, delight, cause sadness or tears – evoke emotions. On the other hand, the money came first. Briefs and the enormous amount of tasks brought us down to earth every time – something that each of us struggles with every day.

When you were children, you certainly heard “business before pleasure”. That’s how I felt back then. Willing to create something new, I had to face the crazy amount of responsibilities with the ASAP label. The problem was that often there wasn’t enough time for “pleasure”. Tragic irony, isn’t it? 🙂


For several years I tested, experimented and debunked the myth of creativity by researching the work of advertising agencies, until I discovered the power of processes. Let’s face it – that’s not an easy task. At Project: People, we’ve spent a whole year on organizing (marketing, but not only) processes, which you can read about in our summary of 2019. Today, however, I can say that it was worth it.

Processes are especially useful when we have many repetitive and complicated tasks. Example? Creating social media posts by a team of several, in several languages, for several channels. Each process should be directed towards one specific, measurable goal. Weekly or monthly progress should be saved and tracked (using the OKR method – Objectives Key Results for example).

kanban in marketing

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    It’s worth engaging the entire team in creating the process to achieve synergy – together we’re able to work out a much better solution than alone. Also remember that once created, the process does not have a “status quo”. So when you take the time to develop it – upgrade and update it as many times as needed. Let it be useful.

    A method called Kanban is great for working in the process.

    Kanban in marketing

    Kanban. What’s this about?

    Kanban means a signboard in Japanese. In free translation it means visible list. As a method, it was created in the 1950s in Japan to improve the control and organization of processes in production factories. The basis of functioning is a kanban board, on which we mark the next steps in the process and tasks along with their progress. Thanks to it, we can easily visualize the process. Kanban board is not everything, however. Kanban is a method that requires implementation, also when it comes to organizational culture. 

    Where is Kanban worth implementing in marketing?

    Wherever we deal with repetitive activities that we can organize into processes. Especially in situations where more people are involved in the process.

    Examples of such activities include:

    • creating posts,
    • creating blog articles and case studies,
    • creating content for an e-mail marketing campaign,
    • acquiring influencers,
    • running advertising campaigns.

    Kanban board – how to prepare one?

    1. Goal. Start with the goal – answer the question why exactly this whole process should happen. Write it down, let it accompany you when creating the kanban board.
    2. Then write down the next steps. For the process of creating content for social media, these steps may look like this:
      kanban in marketing
    3. The steps have already been defined, now determine the persons responsible for the particular step and work in progress limits. What are these? Kanban’s advantage is its continuous bandwidth. If a bottleneck appears, it means something went wrong. That’s why it’s worth setting limits for each step, due to which we’ll avoid surplus work.
      kanban in marketing
    4. And what if we want to publish a post that wasn’t planned. Real time marketing – time counts, in a moment this meme won’t do that well anymore. In this case, create a line for ASAP Posts. Settle with your team that these posts should be prioritized, meaning they should be done first. Such a fast lane.
    5. Tool. Choose the right tool where you will create a board together with your team. First of all, it should be easy to use and easily accessible. Trello will be great for some, Excel for others, and others will use a physical table. The easier the tool, the more convenient it is.

    Are there any rules here?

    The Kanban board is already lights up with all the colors of the cards, but…is that really all? Of course not, it is important for the entire marketing team to know exactly what is happening on this board. The person responsible for the process should therefore explain the specific rules.

    kanban in marketing

    By definition, kanban is based on the “seven times – none” principle

    However, translate these principles to your needs and adapt them to the team and the process you’re working on. I can recommend you five must-have rules.

    1. We have a specific, clearly defined, measurable goal.
    2. We don’t go back – if the post requires correction, it’s moved to the beginning of the process.
    3. We watch over the limits so as not to create bottlenecks, delays and lines. If a person has already completed their tasks they can support others, especially when a delay shows up.
    4. Simplicity is everything. The fewer tools the better. The board should be sufficient.
    5. We work “on time”, we don’t create supplies. We produce as much as we needright here, right now.

    Moreover, it’s worth introducing regular meetings. They can take place every day (so-called daily routine) as a quick review of work progress, and/or weekly as the so-called weekly planning, where the whole team determines the work structure for the next week. It works great when planning content. From time to time, it’s also worth organizing a review of the entire process and individual activities. And let’s not forget about continuous upgrades.

    Processes vs. and creativity

    But before you dive into the process, think about why you want to do it. What is your goal? Work based on Kanban streamlines operations, organizes and saves time. However, it’s up to you how you use it. Apparently, processes seem to destroy creativity, while they allow it to develop. They work in favor of creativity. All you need to do is use the time gained well and…creatively.

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