In modern-day reality working together with other companies in order to create or produce something becomes more important than ever. Collaboration is the key as it enables people to engage with each other more productively and efficiently.
This is why collaboration in the workplace is what truly makes teamwork successful and why organizations that collaborate well, are likely to be more financially successful
At Touch 2019, Vlad Caluș, co-founder of Planable, talked about how teams should work together in the ever-changing world of marketing. He shared a realistic audit of the industry, best practices and key lessons on how to master your marketing operations with multiple stakeholders.
Planable is a social media content collaboration platform that allows brand teams, agencies and social media marketers to collaborate with their clients. It’s one place to create and approve social media content.
So how to improve and make your marketing team more efficient?
That’s the question every marketing agency should ask themselves. In his talk, Vlad presented a workflow, multiple processes and ideas on how to make it even more efficient.
The best part about it is that it's very simple and lots of marketing teams are already doing the same.
The state of content collaboration
Today marketing teams are working in the following workflows: they are creating social media campaigns, newsletters, articles, blog content, etc., then share them on email.
Afterwards, they make sure that everyone can see this information. Everyone will just start expressing their ideas, sharing feedback.
In such a way, many social media managers just get lost by the amount of information, content, ideas and feedback that they receive.
Normally, it's very easy to get lost when you have so much information out there and it's hard to collaborate in a way that was not created for this.
It's also very shocking that marketing professionals, creating some of the best and most innovative marketing campaigns, are working with some of the worst tools that are not created for this environment.
And this is proved by lots of real data from Los Angeles to Sydney:
- 42% of content marketers point to staying organized as a top challenge.
- Another majority of marketing professionals said that lack of alignment and collaboration leads to weaker financial results.
- 47% of employees complained that the meeting volume is the number one time-waster at an office.
Planable recently published an ebook: Marketing Teams of the Future which navigates content marketing’s journey from the early beginnings and dives into a profound analysis of today’s industry.
So to understand how other marketing teams are working, they created a workflow on how some of the best and most innovative marketing teams are working. In this summary, we are going to share it with you.
Here are the three main pillars of a marketing team: People, Processes and Tools.
Understanding and implementing these three points in what you do will help you get better results in marketing.
* The first point is establishing clear roles
All you have to do is just get your marketing team into one single room and have a simple and straightforward conversation. It's typically a very big problem for small, medium, even big companies or startups.
The fact that everyone is juggling from one thing to another one, one marketing manager will do newsletters, another one will do social media, sometimes one will do the other thing and so on.
It's very hard sometimes to understand what everyone is doing in a marketing team and it's normal because there are so many activities, so many ideas, articles, growth hacks and things that everyone is trying to replicate.
However, most of the marketing teams are just getting lost.
In order to avoid it, you can create a simple framework that works for you. We’ve seen other marketing teams doing this well: finding positions for four types of people.
1. The first one is a marketing project manager who is typically a head of marketing or chief marketing officer or the one that is overseeing the marketing operation, someone that will actually say and see what do you plan to do in the next couple of months, weeks or years, what are you working on at the moment and who is working on what.
2. The second person is a marketing engineer. This is a person who is thinking about the marketing ideas that can be created, understanding what are the growth hacks that you want to focus on, be it a marketing experiment on the website, new website for a new initiative that you do or maybe a social media campaign that you are promoting next month.
3. The third position to be implemented in your team is a growth marketer who is not a person responsible for the growth, but, in our terms, a person who is actually implementing all of the ideas generated by the marketing engineer and overseen by the marketing project manager. This is the person who is actually creating lots of content, who is on the frontline of doing the marketing results.
4. There is also a marketing designer - typically the second person or the second growth marketer, but also a designer who is very helpful in creating a better marketing workflow.
* The second point is ownership .
After you define roles, there comes establishing what the ownership is for you, basically who does what
Lots of marketing teams are working with multiple people doing the same thing, for example, two people can be doing newsletters each week, each month, for a period of time or multiple people can be doing social media.
However, it's very hard to understand who is actually responsible for that.
This is why you need to have a clear ownership. You can just write what the ownership is for everyone, whether it’s customer support, content articles, special initiatives, or just overseeing the marketing operations.
* The third point is understanding your hybrid of skills
Especially today that marketing is changing so fast and so many ideas appear, so many social media platforms grow just by the day, it's very important to understand and personally assess what are your internal skills and also what are the external skills that you need.
For example, whether you are good at content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or design or whether you don't have the power to have many other things you are trying to do be it podcasts, video blogs or creating a new website for your platform.
This is why you can just start looking at third party people - different agencies, freelancers and other people that can be part of your team who can also just comment, have real conversations with you and the brand and start bringing immediate results.
It's totally normal to also keep many of your marketing operations in-house, but you can also start working with many agencies or freelance professionals as there are different benefits to that.
- there is no need for training, they easily come up with a fresh vision, they are very time-efficient, they require
- less hassle, bring work very fast and also they have access to more talent. Compared to having this in-house,
- you are not gonna have to hire someone, go for a recruiting process, look for other administrative things. You can just hire an agency and they will start working with you directly on some specific marketing collateral or some specific marketing piece that you have.
- you can also work with lots of freelancers to help you with the things that you just don't have the manpower to do. They are very efficient, they typically adapt to your brand because they are working very close to you. They don't need a lot of time to assess what you want to do and also they are budget-friendly, That's why for your team it's very important to understand what are the skills needed on your marketing team and honestly assess what you can do and can’t do. However, lots of you might be working in some bootstrapped companies or companies with not so many resources to work with other external people. This is why it's super helpful to just start learning this yourself depending on what you do.
- The second main pillar of a marketing team.p;
In terms of processes, there are three main parts: alignment, transparency and goals
- One of the key elements of alignment is planning.
You can try establishing OKR planning (objectives and key results) which is not a typical planning. This is a planning used by many companies (including Microsoft and Adobe) in order to understand what are the problems that you want to solve based on your objectives.
For example, having quarterly meetings once in three months with all of your marketing team on understanding what worked and what didn't, what your marketing activities are, what your marketing problems are that you want to fix, and also understanding how you can actually do better.
This is outlining the planning not only for the whole marketing team, but for each team member personally, so that everyone has a clear guideline and clear agenda of the next three months of what everyone else is doing.
- It's also important to iterate easily and fast because of other monthly and weekly meetings in order to understand what is actually working from your planning.
Some of the ideas may be planned on your quarterly meeting, but then dropped in just a couple of weeks because you understood that this is not working right now and you'll try to get back to it in six months.
You can just mark them as dropped to move on to other ideas, but keep the mindset that you need to iterate fast and annually for marketing activities
- It's also important to be consistent with this because consistency is the ultimate thing that will help your marketing team succeed.
Without consistency, you will not bring any results because you might try to do lots of social media, write newsletters or create blog posts, but if you drop this in just a couple of weeks or months, you are not gonna succeed.
The second part is about transparency
It's very important to have a complete and transparent environment in your marketing team.
One way to do that is for everyone in your team to have the access to exactly the same information, so that no one will ask for the access to this design, this article, this login on WordPress or any other platform.
Everyone will have exactly the same access to the information and everyone can see exactly the same thing, thus, no misunderstandings can happen.
The third part is about the goals
As a marketing team, you can try to understand what are your short-term goals (weekly, monthly), what are your long-term ones (quarterly, yearly) and what is your vision (five years). Constantly getting back to these visions will help you understand what is actually working, are you sticking to these goals or not.
Here are also some of the ideas of the goals that you need to understand for your team and start tracking or some of the problems that you want to fix. These are also the goals that can work not only for a marketing team, but also for engineering or finance teams and other startup companies.
Brand Awareness: to establish a presence and increase your reach on social media.
Traffic: to drive traffic to your website or blog.
Lead Generation: to collect key information from your prospects.
Revenue: to increase signups or sales.
Engagement: to connect and engage with your audience.
Community Building: to gather advocates of your brand.
Customer Service: to help and serve your customers.
Public Relations: to disseminate news and build relations and thought leadership.
Social Listening & Research: to listen to your customers and understand your market
Hiring: To recruit top talent.
One of the good things Planable is doing is trying to encourage lots of marketing teams to use as many tools as they need.
However, it's important to stay patient and understand what are the actual tools that you can use and also if these are the ones that you actually need.
Here is the guideline of some tools, platforms you can choose that works for you & your marketing team:
- Grammarly for content mistakes - if you’re creating lots of content, publishing lots of articles, you can check all of the pieces of content by Grammarly to make sure that everything's fine, that you are not messing up with the content.
- Planable for social media collaboration - Obviously you can use Planable for social media collaboration and stay on top with all of your marketing activities.
- Zoom for online meetings - Especially if you are a distributed and remote team.
- Figma for visual & media files collaboration - this is a really great tool for designers and marketing teams that are working with lots of media assets.
- Ahrefs for content inspiration - a marketing platform that helps a lot with understanding your SEO progress and also to get a lot of content inspiration and start researching all of your competitors.
- Dropbox Paper for content creation - it's a super visual platform helping to create content and very simple to use.
- NotionHQ for wikis libraries - The all-in-one workspace for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. Here you can keep all of your marketing activities that you do and also OKRs.You can also keep here your policies, for example, how to promote a new content article or what's your onboarding process for new people in your company.
- Personizely for lead gens - a conversion marketing toolkit which helps websites and e-commerce stores better engage with visitors using website widgets. Start your relationship with potential customers using lead capturing popups.
- GetFlow for task assignment - Flow is an all-in-one tool that unleashes your team's potential. It brings together your tasks, projects, timelines, files, and conversations, and integrates with your favorite tools, to help you achieve more.
- Zest.is for content knowledge - probably the ultimate platform to use for content promotion, it’s basically marketers’ source for pro content discovery. For marketing teams, this is a really important platform that helps to simply have lots of ideas and inspiration when it comes to marketing because this is a curated list of articles on different topics, for marketing companies for social media companies, for finance companies.
So the ultimate part is just understanding what are the actual tools that you want to use and what is the marketing stack that you want to use in the next part.
Also understanding what are the actual processes and how everything is working for you because you can try to understand what works for other companies, but ultimately you need to also be aware of what is actually working for your team.
All the marketing teams are hybrid, they are different and it's important to acknowledge if this fits you or not.