Marketing is more important than ever. What does that mean for marketers?

by The Smartsheet Team

Today’s marketplace has put marketers in the spotlight. As customers’ needs are rapidly changing, organizations must pivot with new messaging and ways of reaching them -- and fast. This sudden shift in strategy has turned marketers into MVPs. 

According to the 26th annual CMO Survey in February 2021, 72% of marketing leaders said the role of marketing in their companies increased in importance during the last year. As companies invest more resources into customer-facing digital interfaces, communication methods, and tracking, marketers have been impacted in three ways:

They’re working more

In a June 2021 survey of 840 knowledge workers by Smartsheet, marketing leaders were most likely to indicate that their team members are working more than they were pre-pandemic. They’re stepping up production, with 65% of respondents saying they’ve created more content over the last year.

65 percent of marketing respondents said they've produced more content over the last year

In an April 2020 survey of marketing leaders for NewsCred by Sirkin Research, marketers were expecting a 66% bump in social media posts followed by a 57% increase in blog content, and 50% additional video productions. 

They’re collaborating with more external partners

In the NewsCred survey, 42% of marketing leaders said their marketing team lacked the bandwidth to quickly create all the new content the organization needed. To keep up with the demand for content created by the pandemic, organizations are engaging external agencies and temporary project-based freelancers. Sixty percent of marketers in the Smartsheet study said they’ve seen their external collaboration increase, which is the highest increase among the knowledge workers surveyed. 

Nearly 60 percent of marketers have seen an increase in external collaboration

They’re looking to improve visibility and oversight

More than half of marketing leaders said managing shifting priorities or strategies was the top challenge, according to NewsCred. And 48% said another major challenge brought on by the pandemic is providing visibility into fluid plans. The need for oversight has created new opportunities within marketing departments. According to the Smartsheet survey, 25% of respondents indicated that their company added a marketing operations lead over the past year to oversee the new strategies and campaigns. 

25 percent of marketers indicated that their company added a marketing operations lead over the past year.

Using technology to address these challenges 

With so many balls in the air, marketing teams need a way to manage them. With an increase in content needs and a distributed workforce, many organizations are investing in collaborative work management (CWM) platforms. In fact, the NewsCred survey found that companies that use planning and project management tools were less likely to be challenged with changes inside their organizations, such as having to realign talent resources, manage outside vendors, and keep their teams centered around fluid plans. A CWM platform can tackle all three challenges outlined above. 

To alleviate the feeling of overwhelm

Marketing teams are being stretched, and the approval process for new content can add time to the workflow. Platforms that use automation can move things forward. For example, leaders can automatically assign content within the platform. Tasks are completed or content is created, automated workflows can push the review cycle to the next stakeholder for feedback — and collect all feedback in one place. This eliminates the need for marketing teams to be “traffic controllers” and allows them to get back to their job of creating content and managing campaigns. 

To foster collaboration

CWM platforms provide a streamlined vehicle for collaboration with internal and external teams. A dashboard can serve as a centralized hub to provide visibility into the work being done, so everyone knows what’s expected from them and can be held accountable. Features such as forms, templates, and reports keep everyone focused on what they need to do, rather than focusing on manual data entry. The single source of truth ensures that everyone has access to the same information, keeping messaging on brand. 

To improve visibility

The pandemic showed that plans can change on a dime. To continue to drive growth and revenue, marketing leaders need oversight, which requires visibility. By understanding your organization’s strategies and goals, teams can quickly pivot messaging to meet new needs. 

A CWM platform, like Smartsheet, that provides a high-level view of all of the marketing campaigns that are currently running in one place, while providing the ability to drill down into specific projects and campaigns, can give leaders and their teams better visibility. This helps them to set goals, prioritize work, manage campaigns, and analyze results. 

Having a single source of truth also helps marketers make better decisions. Leaders can see the content development cycle data with asset usage data next to performance data to understand if they’re creating the right content for the right channel. Bringing together these insights with your organizational strategy empowers marketers to create the content that helps convert customers.

Marketing is more important than ever and so are the tools that enable the best results. Learn more about how Smartsheet for Marketing can help you and your team keep addressing all of the challenges facing marketing today to help you improve your outcomes.