How to Drive Kick-Ass Collaboration for Marketing Teams

Creative collaboration is more important than ever. Here's how you can build it into your agency's culture.
By CROOW Staff Jul 9, 2020

Marketing teams run on creativity. Ideas flow, sparks alight, and cross-departmental collaboration is the uniting element that turns vision into reality. If your agency doesn’t foster brainstorming sessions and constructive communication, employees can end up burnt out and frustrated, stuck in communication silos. With the right procedures and tools, you can avoid these pitfalls, and empower your team to collaborate and thrive. Creatives enjoy the unknowns — they just want to teammates to navigate them with.

Why It Matters

According to a report by Dynamic Signal, 70% of employees feel overwhelmed because of broken communication methods and fragmented information. At the same time, GoRemotely reports that 75% of employees regard collaboration and teamwork as important. So it is understood that working together is key to success, but without a clear structure in place, disorganized communication can be a source of frustration.

Think about your own marketing team structure. Content is likely created by different people — one person may be driving the social media vision while another may be generating copy for your website or blog. Voices will vary slightly, but they should be aligned. Without a consistent and clear process for collaboration, it can become frustrating and duplicative trying to align goals and stay on the same page. Luckily, there are best practices you can employ to avoid these road blocks.

What To Do

Make Meetings Matter: Planning meetings, brainstorms, and sprints are all useful to fostering collaboration among your team members — but beware the disorganized meeting. A study by Doodle concluded that in 2019, $399 billion was wasted in the U.S. on poorly organized meetings. Additionally, disorganized meetings can lead to confusion, loss of focus on projects, and a lack of time for more important tasks. Make sure that when you set up a collaborative meeting, you have an agenda that you share with participants in advance. This can help attendees come prepared for the meeting, and focus their energy and attention on the task at hand.

Set Team Goals: Each team within your agency will have a different set of goals based on their individual tasks, which makes it easy to put blinders on. Set quarterly or monthly goals as a larger team, with each department’s individual goals outlined as well as the agency’s holistic goals. This helps your team understand where the dependencies and overlap might lie, and helps your employees think ahead about who to engage, and when to do it. If there is an agreed-upon agency vision, you can feel confident that all of your employees have that as their North Star to guide in their decision-making.

Agree on a Workflow: A creative agency’s workflow helps streamline processes, identify where tasks can be automated, and keeps employees organized. A marketing workflow is another way to ensure that your teams aren’t duplicating efforts, because it helps define roles and responsibilities. It can also help you make the most accurate estimates of timelines for your projects. By reading up on the best practices of workflow management, you can give your team more time to focus on the most important aspects of collaboration, like brainstorming.

Embrace Technology: In the digital age, collaboration isn’t limited to meetings and in-person brainstorms. You can adopt a collaboration tool for marketing to improve communication, project management and task delegation. Ideally, this can take place in a centralized project management platform, so you can cut down on training, tech support, and time-wasting that inherently comes with storing assets across multiple applications. Tech can also help you in instances where collaboration is needed, but ad-hoc and with speedy turnaround. For those “quick questions,” you can chat a co-worker instead of clogging their email inbox or adding another meeting to their calendar. Use your best judgment to find the right balance between face-to-face collaboration and technologically assisted collaboration.

If you build a culture of collaboration into your meetings, goals, workflow, and technology, working together will be second nature to your teammates. As collaboration increases, relationships will strengthen, building a stronger foundation for your business and leading to great new ideas. As Ken Blanchard said, ”None of us is as smart as all of us.”

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