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You're right that this cannot be done out of the box. While there may be API solutions to mimic this process, it's worth noting that unapproved assets cannot be referenced in smart campaigns. That means that you can't schedule an email in Marketo that isn't approved*, so your flow of schedule > approve > send is not possible in Marketo; it'd have to be approve > schedule > send.
I suspect you'll find that most people handle this with clear processes that are enforced by people and practice, not inherently enforced by the system. Personally, I have a documentation and checklist template that users have to run all programs through before activation. This includes specific sign off requirements. The responsibility lies with the user to ensure that they take accountability on this front - for both successes and failures.
You can restrict user permissions to allow only certain roles to approve/run campaigns, but I don't like that approach (I don't think many on community do) because it's inefficient, restrictive, and takes accountability away from the people who are likely using the system most.
Basically - training, processes, documentation.
*Worth noting; you can schedule an email that has an approved version and a draft version that has not been approved, because that asset is still technically approved.
Thank you for your insight!
Hi Grace - would you be open to sharing the documentation and checklist?
I have used a similar process with several companies and it varies based on who needs to approve various aspects of the email:
- Design - who makes sure font, images, etc are all correct? That it is mobile friendly, works across various browsers, etc?
- Proofing - who signs off on grammar, spelling, links working correctly, tracking links, etc?
- Audience - who is responsible for deciding who is included and excluded? Who verifies that the technical set up for the email includes and excludes the correct people?
Based on the answer for the above questions, I make an approval template for each person/dept that walks through exactly what they need to check. I usually do this as a google spreadsheet so they can physically initial/check off each item as they verify it.
For the person setting it up, they should have a pre-flight checklist that includes sending tests to each of the reviewers you named above, then checking off approval from each person/dept. Send any info needed to other departments involved (e.g. sales, customer success). Once they have sign off from everyone needed, THEN approve and schedule.
I hope that helps!
I can't readily share my current one as it has some specific business info in it, but I might look at posting a generic one in community at some stage if people are interested...