The world has changed, pretty much overnight. For a large percentage of the population, we’ve been thrust into remote working situations with no real sense of how long it might last. For remote marketing teams, the challenge of coordinating multiple projects and campaign components can seem like a logistical nightmare.
Now might seem like a good time to dial things back, soften up on promotion, and slow down a little, but that is a critical mistake. Now is the time to push forward. As our competitors soften their message, we are presented with an opportunity to solidify our position and message in the market. We’ve entered a period of “Scary Times,” but with a little planning and organized collaboration, we can meet, and exceed our goals and ultimately come out on top. Even after the chaos passes, these tips will help you maximize the potential of your team.
Here are 5 things that will help you organize your remote marketing team's efforts.
1. Establish Regular Communication Schedules
Communication is key for a remote workforce. Without it, deadlines get missed, everyone has their own interpretation of a project at hand, and motivation can dwindle. Set regular check-in calls with your team to establish and keep a pulse on what is happening. At Imagine, we hold a quick huddle on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday where we share our top 3 tasks for the next day, whether we completed our previous important tasks, and any problem areas that have come up. This helps create accountability and insight into what the team is working on. Don’t forget about project kick-offs and brainstorming sessions! These help create clarity, unlock the genius of your team, and maintain connection.
2. Define Your Tech (And how to use it)
Technology has the ability to help us work more efficiently or create even more confusion. Where will you notify team members that you need something from them? Do you need to create and assign a task for that or will a simple question get you what you need? Where should you ask that question? Where will you track projects? The questions are endless, and it’s not enough to just pick your tools, you have to define how you will use them. If one team member is sending emails, while another is using a tool like Slack, and yet another is assigning tasks in a PM software like Monday, you suddenly have 3 places where you have to keep track of your work. This will cause confusion and inefficiency, not to mention increase the likelihood that something will be missed! Define a system that works for you and your team and set clear guidelines of where certain types of communication need to take place.
3. Briefs and Templates
Again, communication is really key! Spending a little extra time to define your project upfront helps avoid a lot of headaches down the road. Spending an extra hour writing a detailed brief is a whole lot better than losing an entire day of work because something was left to interpretation. If your team is struggling with comprehending the project, ask them to read over the brief and then share what they interpreted as the necessary actions they need to take. This not only helps identify holes in your communication plan, but it also helps your team feel confident in the work they are doing.
If you frequently run similar campaigns or projects, create a template or checklist to follow. Assign specific components to individual team members so everybody is clear what they should be working on.
4. Set deadlines
Whether it's a project review meeting or a delivery date, setting deadlines with your internal team will keep everyone on track. The theory of Parkinson’s Law - the idea that work expands to the time that you have - is a real thing. Setting the deadline creates urgency and shortens the time-frame that the task can expand into. This will help everyone stay on track and motivated towards accomplishing goals. If you are working on a large project, establish milestones and deadlines for those steps. Getting started on a small task is much easier than trying to figure out how to eat the elephant whole!
5. Make time to chat about more than work. Seriously!
Our work situations changed with little notice, in a way that nobody could have anticipated. While this won’t last forever, it’s likely that the mindset around remote work will shift long-term, so we have to find ways to maintain and build connections. Chatting around the water cooler, talking about the funny thing your dog did, are important parts of our day, and they help unlock our creative genius. Make a conscious effort to send your teammates a funny meme, or just ask how they are doing! Even set aside a few minutes each week to get on a video call just to chat. We aren’t designed to run at 100% capacity all the time, so breaking up the work, and remembering that we are more than the 2D image on the computer screen, helps everyone do their best work! And don’t forget to celebrate wins!
There is a lot of uncertainty in the world around us right now, but one thing is certain, now is not the time to slow down. For marketing teams, it is especially important that we do not retreat. If we define a plan and create a clear path for execution, this scary time can be turned into an opportunity for long term success. But these tips apply to more than just this turbulent time period. Utilizing and maximizing the full impact of our marketing teams, remote or not, can benefit greatly from a little upfront planning.