Marketing teams responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and worldwide social tensions have witnessed their workloads, budgets, and priorities being put under scrutiny during this time of upheaval. With events either being cancelled, put on hold, or switching to a virtual environment, social media and digital campaigns along with increased demand for targeted content, have increased. Alongside this, the workforce has also moved online and those water cooler conversations and the ability to just drop by someone’s desk in the office has also been curtailed.
Marketers face a new beginning
This environment has created both opportunities and challenges for marketers. With an ever-increasing focus on content, they now face demand for larger volumes and faster speed of delivery. Often, they lack a single, unified view to visualise all their campaigns, content and every other marketing project. There is increased noise in the collaboration and communication process as a result of remote working, with endless email threads and instant messages popping up on the screen every other minute. Projects are being managed in spreadsheets scattered across various locations with often tedious long-winded processes in place to manage them.
This is all compounded with unstructured requests coming in left, right and centre, resulting in misalignment around projects and tasks, often leading to duplication, version control problems and issues over ownership.
Tools and platforms that help marketing teams
Tools like Google Docs and Dropbox, among others, do help to alleviate some of the problems. However, that only solves the ‘storage’ of assets, not the processes, the communication issues, or the project management.
Without a tool that acts as a single source of truth, keeping track of all marketing initiatives can be very time consuming, especially if your team is spread across different regions. Whether it is a webinar, PR or social and content campaigns, all marketers need visibility into what’s on the docket, and a spreadsheet is no longer efficient enough (was it ever?) to track the intricacies of today’s multichannel campaigns. A unified way of keeping the team aligned will also help to avoid duplicated tasks lists, enabling the marketing team to deal with multiple requests. This will ensure that no deadlines are missed, but equally that the right work is prioritised.
Having clearly defined processes is the obvious first step, but we need tools to support those in an effective way. Without the right tools that help marketing teams manage and prioritise these requests – providing visibility into workloads and how projects are progressing – activities can quickly get out of hand.
Here at Clearvision, we use a project management tool that enables us to govern every aspect of our work. This includes projects and tasks, the team’s workload, the calendars and deadlines, the approval workflows, and most importantly, all the communications that relate to each of those activities. This promotes collaboration and provides transparency, increasing team efficiency.
Maximising productivity and avoiding admin overload
This is where using a project management tool makes every marketing initiative incredibly efficient, from a simple collateral request to a full product launch project. This is available to everyone who needs access, whether they are part of the marketing team or from another area of the business. This enables multiple projects to be tracked and collaborated on simultaneously, while providing the desired clarity and visibility needed to run them successfully. This sounds straightforward, but for geographically dispersed (or remote) teams that work on several projects at any given time, that need input and/or approval from other teams (e.g. a technical product datasheet), this is crucial and often very time consuming.
You also need to know that productivity is being optimised, but that no team member has an overwhelming list of tasks to work through. You need to be able to answer questions such as “Do I have enough resources?” “How busy is my team?” “How are my projects progressing?” “Where does this request that I have just received fit around other initiatives that are currently underway?” Of course, people have been answering these questions throughout their careers, but having a visual and intuitive tool that is easy to use and doesn’t require technical skills to operate, provides a holistic view of all campaigns and projects in one place.
Everyone in the team has more time to exercise their talents; we saved an incredible amount of time on project meetings, which are now shorter and more effective. Our inboxes have fewer – and shorter – emails, we don’t waste time looking for things, and it is much easier to plan the next project, or activity for the next quarter. In 2021, we’ll have more time to deliver higher quality work; and together we can be a better, more collaborative team.
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