Ok, quick one here on a topic I’ve spoken about a lot. I’ve always believed that marketing has to have the best internal communication in the company. No excuses. We’re the ones doing all the external communications, so we have to set the example in-house.
But the problem that I encounter is one I’m sure you’re familiar with: Everyone is too busy.
There’s just way too much going on that everyone forgets to take the time to talk and let the team know what they’re working on. They’ll communicate with the relevant stakeholders in their project, but beyond that, it’s radio silence.
Now you might be thinking, “So what? If the people who need to know, know, and the project gets done on time, then mission accomplished, right?”
Wrong. So wrong. That’s not a marketing TEAM. That’s a bunch of individual contributors breaking off into their own silos to accomplish projects that are unrelated to each other. The whole point of a marketing team is to have everyone pulling in the same direction to achieve a shared objective. And with most people still either WFH or in a hybrid work environment, communication has become even more important. So here are 3 regular habits I employ to make people talk more and keep the whole marketing team on the same page.
1. Post Your “Big Rocks”
One simple practice I use with every marketing team I manage is to ask each member of the team to post their “big rocks” for that day in the marketing Slack channel. Their big rocks being the major things they want to accomplish that day.
This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how few people use Slack to keep the team updated on what they’re working on.
The idea here is that everyone gives a high level overview of their big projects that will have some bearing on the rest of the team, not their heroic personal effort to get to inbox zero (though Godspeed).
This serves a couple purposes:
- It gives the team a clear view of what the overall priorities are for the team
- It gives everyone a chance to contribute to every project
“Oh wow, I didn’t know we were building out that new ebook. I have a few graphics I’ve been saving for something like this, if you want them.”
Just by taking 1-minute first thing in the morning to let everyone know your basic priorities, you can create a much more unified marketing team and get new ideas and contributions to your ongoing projects.
2. Encourage Oversharing
Keep taking advantage of the marketing Slack channel. Everyone has their big rocks posted at the beginning of the day, week, etc. Now make sure they’re giving status updates.
And I don’t mean vague posts like “the blog is almost done.” Show some real progress. Post the headline to your blog to remind people what the topic is. Send a rough draft of an ebook graphic to show people what the initial vision is. Drop the overview of a new product marketing launch and give everyone the chance to add to it.
The whole idea here is that you can get feedback while a project is still in progress. If you build something all the way out, and THEN seek feedback, you might run into some trouble. If your vision doesn’t match that of marketing leadership or there’s some major flaw in the project, then you’re going to have to start from scratch. So now you’re frustrated at having to duplicate your work, and leadership is mad that you’re going to miss the deadline. It’s a lose-lose. Constant updates give everyone a chance to give their two cents and create the best representation of the team vision.
Everyone knows and probably has some form of a team standup. But it’s worth mentioning here because not everyone uses the standup correctly.
Whether you have one daily (like I do) or one a week, the standup shouldn’t be some 2-hour drawn out meeting that takes up everyone’s time and keeps them away from their work. It should be a quick-hit roundtable meeting where everyone, regardless of where they fall on the corporate ladder, can speak to their ongoing projects and seek feedback.
I choose to do it daily because it guarantees everyone has to talk to each other every day. That’s not only good for communication, but it keeps up team morale. One of the most common pieces of feedback I heard during the height of COVID was that everyone missed the little watercooler interactions they would have with other members of the team in the office. It’s conceivable in a WFH environment that you could go days without seeing the majority of your marketing team. That’s why as a marketing leader, you need to facilitate interaction, even if it’s just a quick “hello, how are you?”
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Check back in on Friday.