Illustration by Marta Monteiro
Illustration by Marta Monteiro

Product Tips

3 ways marketing teams use Dropbox to streamline project management


Published on August 20, 2019

Just a wild guess, but I bet you didn’t start your career with the dream of answering emails and searching for files all day.

We were supposed to be brainstorming big ideas, weren’t we? Somewhere along the way, we got bogged down in the boring details. 

Though you’re probably a pro at the major functions of most cloud collaboration apps, some include features you might not know—ones that can help you avoid snags you face every day. 

At Dropbox, we’re building new features to reduce “work about work”—all the boring chores and tedious tasks that drain your energy and distract you from the work that matters most. 

To introduce you to the ones that can make life easier for marketers at any enterprise company, we asked PMMs on our own marketing team to tell us about the features they rely on every day. 

"Before using Paper, I’d have a thousand tabs open. But when I can consolidate my files into a single document, it helps streamline my projects.”—Elisha Hoffman

1. Collaborating in one place

When you work with multiple teams inside and outside your company, coordinating feedback on creative reviews gets complicated. It’s not just the variety of reviewers. It’s the variety of file types: Word docs, Google Docs, PSDs, JPGs, MP4s. With Dropbox Paper, you can bring all of those file types together and view them in the same doc—even if you don’t have the software installed. 

“I'm a visual thinker and learner,” says Elisha Hoffman, our Ecosystem Product Marketing Manager. “With Paper, you can easily embed a variety of different file types—from videos, to Office 365 files, and more—which provides a consolidated view of all the different files that go into a project. Before using Paper, I’d have a thousand tabs open. But when I can consolidate my files into a single document, it helps streamline my marketing projects.”

Embedding rich media files in a Dropbox Paper doc
Embedding rich media files in a Dropbox Paper doc

Paper also helps Hoffman coordinate campaigns at every stage of development. “Many of my marketing campaigns are complex, cross-functional initiatives,” says Hoffman. “With Paper, I can streamline the editing and feedback processes between the cross functional teams at Dropbox and the cross functional teams at our partner companies. Paper makes it easier to develop concepts as a team from early brainstorms to final production”

Once the content is finalized, Gridley moves it to a shared folder, creating a centralized hub of information for cross functional teams.

“You can also link to other Paper docs in Dropbox,” says Hoffman. “So it provides a much more contextualized experience in terms of the content you need to access, and people you need to tag and incorporate into your editorial and revision process—all in the same document.”

Shared folders are another way to create a central hub of information for cross-functional teams. “I create a lot of content for the sales team for sales enablement and to help them sell,” says Hilary Gridley, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dropbox. 

Once the content is finalized, Gridley moves it to a shared folder with the Sales team, creating a centralized hub of information for cross functional teams. “The team always knows where to go for the most up-to-date content, preventing problems around version control.”

In addition to keeping internal teams in sync, Gridley appreciates the way Dropbox and Dropbox Paper enable collaboration with external partners, like agencies. When kicking off a new brief with the agency, she can provide clear ownership at the start of a project by listing stakeholders at the top of her brief in a Dropbox Paper doc. 

“Then I can link out directly to the shared folder,” Gridley explains. “The agency then drops all the files in this folder so we can collaborate in the same place. Then I add some background about the project, competitive examples, and a production timeline I create using tables in Dropbox Paper.” 

2. Creating a central source of truth

How do you keep everyone on the same page, when they’re not even in the same time zone? With so many team members working in different locations, information can easily get scattered across tools, email threads, and notes. 

“Marketing is such a cross-functional effort,” says Gridley. “We're working with sales, with creative teams, with the finance team, with the legal team, with the product team. With Paper, you can have multiple people in a doc internally and externally all putting in different kinds of media and interacting and commenting on that in ways that are all very centralized,”

“I’ve been on email chains that included either the wrong people or too many people,” says Melody Chen, Product Marketing Manager for Dropbox Paper. “It’s hard to keep track of where the chain splits or what people are referring to. It’s a lot easier to tag people in a Paper doc to review content so everyone has the right context. Communication is clearer and no information is lost.”

“Since product launches are so cross-functional, I’m constantly coordinating with teams such as brand, legal, comms, product, and more,” says Chen. “I keep track of launch plans in Paper, so everyone is in the loop and has real-time access to the information and files they need. It saves everyone from having to message back and forth or search through various tools.”

3. Speeding up the process

When campaign timelines and tasks are developed and tracked in a different place than where the content is created and reviewed, it leads to fractured workflows. Managers need a way to develop campaign timelines, assign tasks, and track the progress of content that’s produced along the way.

“I work with external agencies to review media content,” says Chen. “That's where the ability to annotate images and leave spot comments comes in handy. We storyboard the animation, then I'll provide comments or take a screenshot and embed in the Paper doc to say, ‘This is what I want changed.’”

“We create a ton of demo videos for integration partners,” says Hoffman. “Being able to add time-based comments directly on videos in Dropbox has helped streamline the editorial process with our production teams. It's so simple.”

Adding time-based comments to a video in a Paper doc
Adding time-based comments to a video in a Paper doc

“All of our partner communication and document distribution is managed through Dropbox,” says Hoffman. “Since we leverage a wide variety of file types, being able to see document version history, set version controls, and tag people in files helps us effectively manage projects, move faster, and work smarter.”

To stay organized, Chen says she uses the checklist feature on a daily basis. “At any time, I'm probably working on five to 10 projects a day,  just switching back and forth,” says Chen. “I use a Paper doc with different things I have to get done for that day. It's a document that only I see. I tag myself and assign due dates. Under each of the to do's, I have a bullet with related documents. So it's easy for me to keep track of which documents I need to look at over to get through my day.”

Creating checklists and setting due dates in a Paper doc
Creating checklists and setting due dates in a Paper doc

“Viewer info is one of my favorites, actually,” says Gridley. Designed to help you follow what happens to your file after you’ve shared it, viewer info lets you see which team members have accessed the file, so you can easily track progress and skip the follow-up emails.

“Sometimes our stakeholders are out in the field selling and don't have time to provide detailed feedback," says Gridley. "If I'm wondering, is my content good? Is it useful? The easiest way for me to know is just by checking to see if people are actually using it. Are people looking at the content? Are they downloading it?”

“Viewer info is an easy way for me to know if the content I'm making is actually useful,” says Gridley. “I know this person hasn't even opened the doc yet so I need to ping them. Having transparency and visibility like that makes a huge difference when you're working on anything with a deadline.”

To learn about more features that can help your team communicate, collaborate and coordinate, check out Dropbox Business.