Last year, we wrote a blog on How to make remote collaboration work in marketing. Now, with the vast majority of Marketers working from home, the challenge is even more relevant.
So here we revisit our tips for remote working, and update them for a time when the challenge isn’t just of teams across different offices, but of everyone working in isolation.
How can Marketers stay connected, maximise efficiency and ensure marketing compliance when working remotely?
The changing nature of marketing collaboration
Before the situation we find ourselves in, teamwork among Marketing teams was already changing.
Once upon a time, a Marketing team would typically have been based in one office. Working together would have been straightforward; ideas could be shared and updates on current workload and priorities discussed across the desk.
In 2020, the Marketing team has grown; generalists have been replaced with specialists in digital, content, events and operations – there are more people involved in many marketing decisions.
In tandem, the growth of outsourcing has seen external agencies become an extension of the Marketing team, bringing its own challenges in terms of collaboration.
In usual circumstances, teams are often spread across offices, even countries, with some working at home. Job-sharing and flexible hours also mean that not all the team are in the same place at the same time. Currently, this is exacerbated, with most if not all Marketers working from home.
How can you keep Marketing project management on track when everyone is out of the office? What tools and techniques can you use – and can they continue to deliver benefits when we move back to a more ‘usual’ way of working?
6 ways to improve remote collaboration
- Make sure your communication is on top form. Whether you’re in touch via email, on the phone or on video calls, being clear and unambiguous is more important than ever when you’re not talking face-to-face. And ironically, being clear and unambiguous can be particularly difficult in those same circumstances.
Whether you’re briefing your creative agencies or keeping your internal team updated on project progress, clear and comprehensive communication is vital to set clear objectives and manage expectations.
Tools like Yammer can be a quicker and less cumbersome way than email to initiate conversations, get answers and brainstorm ideas. Zoom – the tool of the moment – can be a good way to share ideas via video conference if your business doesn’t already use a video conferencing system.
- Make sure responsibilities and next steps are clear. This is particularly important when you’re collaborating as a remote team – it can be easier for actions to fall between the gaps.
Someone needs to take the lead on projects – not necessarily always the same person, and not always the team manager. But having a dedicated project leader helps to keep everything on track and in line.
- Version control is another thing that’s especially important when remote teams create and review materials. Faultless version control will help you to avoid the headaches of rework, duplication and potential errors. One person needs to be in charge of a master document and all edits need to feed into this master version.
Not only will this save you time and unnecessary work, it reduces the risk of regulatory compliance breaches or other errors in branding or accuracy – which can often account for a lot of the changes Compliance teams need to make when reviewing financial promotions.
- Managing your marketing documents efficiently is essential when you’re not all working together and can’t resolve a question with a quick query across the desk. Poor digital asset management can mean recreating marketing assets unnecessarily.
Prevent this by creating a central asset library, accessible to everyone who needs to use, update or approve marketing collateral. We have more tips on achieving best practice digital asset management in this blog.
- Explore the tools available to help you. Collaborative and automated marketing workflow tools will come particularly into their own at the moment, but will also help to make your project management more efficient, and marketing compliance processes more robust, when we go back to a more usual way of working.
A good marketing automation platform can:
- enable collaborative reviewing
- make project management easier and more robust
- schedule reminders to keep you on track
- improve regulatory compliance
It can give you an instant view of all your tasks and timelines. This can improve marketing efficiency, making your projects transparent and straightforward. All document edits can be captured in a single file, making it easier to pick up projects from team members and work with external agencies and other teams to get them finalised.
- See whether time differences work to your advantage. Teams might be dispersed across the globe – but if you think laterally, a time difference can be a help, not a hindrance.
If you’re in the UK, your team members in the US are still part-way through their day when you’re finishing yours, and colleagues in Asia are finishing up. Hand over some key actions at the end of your day, and you should have an updated project by the time you come back into the office.
Don’t forget remote working etiquette, either. Take into account people’s time-zones when scheduling any calls, online meetings or training – and bear in mind that some colleagues may have other caring responsibilities that make some times easier than others to make.
You may need to put in a couple of different times for video conferences or team calls. This might seem unwieldy, but it’s polite to schedule meetings within people’s usual working hours where possible. Doing this will also increase your chances of having everyone you need on the call.
Effective solutions for remote collaboration
Remote working is a necessity right now. And while it might sound like an obstacle to marketing efficiency, if you take on board these tips, it need not be.
Following some best practices for effective remote collaboration should enable you to maintain an efficient marketing machine whatever the make-up and location of your team.
To find out why regulated firms are increasingly turning to automated workflows to help with this efficiency, you can download a copy of our free whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. You can read a free copy here.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.