As we enter what seems like the millionth week of the government-mandated stay-at-home order, many tech marketing departments are trying to adapt to the new reality of working remotely for an extended period of time.
With in-person meetings a thing of the past and marketing KPIs that are no longer relevant, now is the perfect time to examine what you can do to streamline your tech marketing team's operations.
Digitize your project kickoff meetings
The work never stops coming in for tech marketers, even when completing projects remotely. At Kiwi Creative, we start all new projects with a kickoff meeting. We get the entire team together and outline the project's:
- Scope (pricing and estimated hours needed)
- Project goals
- Point(s) of contact
- Work schedule and deadline (via a GANTT chart)
- Tasks for our team members
These kickoff meetings are super easy to hold when everyone's in the office. However, there are some added challenges when working remotely.
It's important to remember that remote work aligns with self-sufficiency. Team members cannot walk down the hall or peek over a cubicle wall to ask a question about a project. Instead, we try to answer our own questions and remain independent. As such, now, more than ever, the digitization of your project is so important.
When kicking off a new project, create a digital library that your team can refer back to down the road. During a virtual kickoff meeting, screen share and have a whiteboard session that you can screenshot and upload to the cloud. Mark-up your project's scope with tidbits, clarifications and answers to team members' questions within platforms like Google Docs and Dropbox Paper. Plus, these platforms have bookmark-able links for future reference. Create a virtual resource that your team can fall back on when completing the project work.
Without frequent check-ins or collaborative work in the same room, it can be easy for projects to go off track. Keeping your entire marketing team "in the know" and providing access to essential project documents is integral to a marketing team thriving while working remotely.
Use sprints to your advantage
Remote projects can appear overwhelming at first glance for marketing teams. To lessen this, use sprints to focus on specific tasks within projects. The "sprint" methodology breaks down large projects into little pieces completed in a specific timeframe. Sprints reduce a project's vastness and can boost efficiency by focusing on one part at a time.
To create project sprints effectively, follow these steps:
- Based on the project's scope and schedule, derive the tasks needing completing
- Determine what task(s) to complete in the sprint
- Form SMART goals that can track progress and the success of the sprint
- Divide the team into working groups, or assign specific tasks to individual team members
- Outline what components of your project backlog reside in the sprint and what the specific output or deliverable is
Sprints, when used correctly, can boost your marketing team's success and efficiency. They help to keep projects on track and reduce some of the pressure when working remotely.
Screenshare vs. Slack-ing
Just like with kickoff meetings, project managers and designers do not have the luxury of sitting side-by-side to revise designs. Minor edits are a time-intensive process, especially for large-scale designs like an eBook. At Kiwi, when we complete a version of a design, our project manager QAs it and works with the designer one-on-one to revise minor things, like spacing, icons and sizing.
Remote work makes this more challenging. While it's tempting to call up your team's designer and recite minor edits over-the-phone or write them a quick Slack message, this can be excruciating. No one wants to deal with:
- "What page are you on?"
- "So you want the icon shifted one pixel where?"
- "Well the color looks right on my end, why doesn't it look right on yours?"
Instead, use your video conferencing system’s screen sharing capabilities. Over a video chat, you and the designer can look at the same screen and add in minor edits in real-time. This eliminates any confusion or frustration and increases the speed in which you turn around design projects.
Revise KPIs and goals
Many teams set their KPIs for each quarter back in January. But the economic environment has changed just a bit since then, eh? Due to COVID-19, company spending is decreasing and there is less of a focus on purchasing new products and services.
Since the market has changed over the past months, your KPIs and goals need to change too. Ask yourself:
- Are your KPIs in-line with how the market is structured currently?
- Are they too large or unattainable?
- Are your customers interacting with your company online the same way?
For example, you might see a decline in many areas, like your web traffic. But on the flip side, a study by HubSpot found that email open rates have increased by an average of 21% during March 2020.
Consider changing your KPIs from metrics like deals created or sales meetings booked to educational metrics, like email opens or social media engagement. As you shift your marketing strategy, revise how you judge its success.
Bonus: keep up (virtual) team bonding
Just because we're all working remotely doesn’t mean your marketing team needs to lose their sense of camaraderie! Have some after-hours fun with your team to boost confidence and happiness.
At Kiwi, we've had some laughs with the Netflix Party plug-in for Google Chrome, which allows you to watch movies together while using a chat feature in the sidebar. You could also give out e-gift cards as a reward to boost productivity. Or amp up your use of memes and/or gifs in Slack. Or just drink booze together during a virtual happy hour.
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Working from home during the COVID-19 crisis can be a great opportunity for your team to thrive! As you continue to work remotely, check out some of our other resources to guide you and your tech marketing team.