Every manager globally is working to organize their team in a post-pandemic world. For those in marketing, their job will be significantly easier.
Marketing teams have three built-in advantages in a remote-first world. They are technology-driven, designed for asynchronous collaboration and have a strong digital focus.
Let’s look at each advantage in detail and how each marketing team can make the most out of each one.
Marketers Are Technology-Driven
To say that marketing teams love technology would be an understatement. The martech world is an expansive universe with thousands of options, entire conferences dedicated to it and many confused teams.
I have helped marketing teams sort through their technology over the past seven years, and I know how complex the world can be. Luckily, all of this effort on technology is now paying off in the push for remote work.
Marketing teams have countless tools that allow them to manage their campaigns digitally. Think of all the software for landing pages, managing copy, social media scheduling, analytics and so forth. The bulk of the marketing work is online already.
The challenge for marketing teams is to make sure their technology works reliably. For example, I once worked with a marketing team that used a fragile VPN system. Every time their VPN crashed, they could not access their email, documents or calendar.
The issue with this marketing team is that they were using a legacy VPN system that assumed people were working in the office. If any issue arose, someone from IT would physically walk over and help. The VPN software failed when people were at home or in a coffee shop.
Solving issues like the VPN one isn’t complex. They can simply purchase a new provider — remember there are hundreds of options — and be on their way.
Other teams that aren’t as technology-driven will need to learn how to purchase, install, manage and debug their software. Their learning will be long and difficult as they are effectively trying to pilot the plane while it is being built.
Marketers Love to Asynchronously Collaborate
When the pandemic started, knowledge workers found themselves stuck at home, staring at their laptops all day. Remote work was forced upon them, and the first few months weren’t easy.
Teams — marketing or not — simply replicated their in-person schedule and added even more meetings to replace the casual watercooler variety. Unfortunately, people spend hours on video calls leading to “zoom fatigue.”
Two years later, teams are starting to realize there’s a better way — remote work benefits from asynchronous collaboration, which simply means working independently of each other. Instead of hopping on a call and going through group feedback on the copy for a new landing page, the process can happen offline through comments on a document.
Asynchronous allows people to tackle things on their schedule and can reduce the workload by eliminating pointless meetings. Think of how many meetings you participate in that could be handled in an email thread. Meetings are costly events that companies have abused for years.
Many of the activities that marketing tackles are ideally suited for asynchronous communication. Campaign design, copy feedback, data reporting and more, can happen offline.
I’m not saying that marketing teams should cancel all meetings. Instead, they can focus meetings on the highest value activities — debating strategy and finding opportunities.
Related Article: Can Asynchronous Collaboration Survive Our Always-On Workplaces?
Marketers Turn to Digital Focus
The Mad Men days of marketing are over. Listen to any CMO talk, and you will hear plenty of digital marketing strategies. Running campaigns that aren’t trackable is blasphemous and a waste of money.
Marketing teams have naturally shifted to digital channels over the years. Of course, you still see big TV ads in the Super Bowl, but they are a minor part of an overall strategy. Marketing has gone fully digital, and there’s no turning back.
Before remote work, you could still work in a physical world supplemented by digital tools. Working remotely means living in a digital world.
You need to “eat your own dog food” to do that effectively. This means rethinking your work instead of just doing what you were doing before.
Questions to consider:
- Should everyone work the same schedule?
- How often — if at all — do you want people to come into the office?
- How will work be structured and managed in a digital environment?
- How will you build culture digitally?
Marketing understands that digital is the future. However, they need to make the same conclusion with remote work.
Conclusion: Embracing the New, Remote World
The shift to remote isn’t something that most marketing managers asked for. I’m still seeing plenty of companies fighting against the change. They are forcing teams back into the office full-time.
We need to embrace the future. Design work environments that mesh well with remote while maintaining the essence of being in-person. Are you ready?
Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy and Data and also the author of the Data Mirage: Why Companies Fail to Actually Use Their Data and Bulletproof Decisions: How Executives Can Get It Right, Every Time. He helps executives at the most innovative midsize and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class.