Baking Process into your Agency

The creative agency world both despises and depends on workflow processes.

Usually one half of the agency can’t live without them while the other loathes the very idea of them. The thought of constraining creativity has driven some agencies to attempt the removal of processes altogether. The thought being that red tape and checkpoints actually slow the flow more than speed it up.

Process is needed to deliver on time, on budget without sacrificing creativity!

Cosmic Cupcake
As one of the resident bakers at eROI (no really, I used to work at Sweet and Saucy Shop a couple years back) I know that baking needs the right measurements, added in the right order, at the right time to be successful. Sound familiar? Agency process workflow involves more than note taking and emailing. Every project has the same ingredients that fit together through a process that involves measurement, cadence, and timing.

All cupcakes have the same basic ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Flavor Extract

All projects have the same basic components:

  • Account Setup and Discovery
  • Brainstorm/ Briefing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Creative Concepts and Content Framework
  • Creative Execution
  • Development Build/ Printing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Delivery
  • Performance

Skip an ingredient and your cake will FAIL! It’s not one ingredient that makes a cake, it is not one department that makes the project successful. Process is collaborative.

Cake Fail

In collaboration and communication, we create one team and deliver an amazing project. Just ask this Devvie!
So, what about creativity and flexibility?

Cupcake ingredients are the foundation for over 100 cupcake flavors. You can swap the vanilla extract for almond extract to make a delicious yellow cake. You can swap some white sugar for some brown sugar, add some chocolate, apple cider vinegar, and red food coloring – voila, you have red velvet. Swap the vanilla extract for coconut, add bourbon (totally fits the agency model), dark chocolate, and sweetened shredded coconut for some coco-loco cake. The possibilities are endless, but the foundational ingredients are still the same!

Agency process should operate in the same way. There are basic steps that every project must follow but we need to be flexible and knowledgeable enough to on-the-fly swap and add tasks to our project based on our clients’ and creative needs and the time given to get the project done.


Notice how I didn’t say to remove anything? If we remove tasks or steps our project is going to taste horrible. The foundation must still exist! You will always hear the excuse, “we don’t have time” or, “this project needs to move quicker” but when steps are omitted or tasks are removed the result looks like a birthday tantrum. Marketing Agency Insider put it simply, “Have a process, and honor it. It’s important to create clear, easy-to-follow workflows for every kind of project. This ensures that steps aren’t missed and that the final product has been vetted at each essential stage.”

If your agency is new to process or trying to revamp your process, my best advice is to establish your basic ingredients. Create recipes and how to best communicate them. Write them down and have a way to monitor them.

Messy projects just don’t taste good.

It will take training because nobody becomes a chef overnight and there will of course be some less than perfect cupcakes but your projects will begin to look less like this, and more like this:


About eROI

eROI crafts compelling digital experiences across email, web, and social channels. Our work has been consistently successful in driving revenue and exceeding goals for our partners.