Article

Is your marketing team ready for the next disruption?

by The Smartsheet Team

If there’s anything the past year had to teach marketing teams, it’s that being nimble matters. Messaging and goals need to change in reaction to a fast-paced world. To stay in the game, today’s marketers must be willing to reposition existing offerings, rethink sponsorships, and reimagine events—all in real-time.

A successful pivot requires that teams be on the same page so they can move together. Since remote working arrangements are still a reality for many employees, managers should implement purposeful strategies that drive connection. As you plan campaigns for 2021 and beyond, make sure you incorporate these three essential steps.  

1. Align internal teams and external agencies 

To succeed, marketers must align all stakeholders, including employees and external agencies. In the past, internal teams had the advantage of proximity; alignment is more manageable when people are physically close and have opportunities for several touch points throughout the week. However, those days may be over.  

As we enter a post-COVID world, many organizations have chosen to continue with remote or hybrid arrangements. In fact, employees are asking for them. The Future of Workplace study by Cushman & Wakefield found that 73% of the workforce believes their company should offer some work-from-home option. 

 Collaborative work takes up 80% of the average employee’s day, according to Harvard Business Review. While employees crave flexibility, a dispersed workplace sets the stage for disconnected teams working off of disaggregated data. To continue to deliver quality results, employees need to unite under a shared vision or “North Star.”  

A centralized platform that maintains these best practices and systems can help support and foster collaboration. A common infrastructure helps organizations build strong relationships and form partnerships between internal teams and external networks. It also provides a single source of truth for the data, strategies, and brainstorming that needs to happen to plan and execute new initiatives.

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2. Empower people to respond 

Productivity and speed matter if marketing campaigns are going to stay relevant. As a result, teams need to be empowered to build the solutions they need to respond to the task at hand. According to a Mercer Global Talent Trends Study, more than 90% of organizations plan to reshape their organizational structure, decentralizing decision-making to extend authority to semi-autonomous teams.

Today’s successful organizations define outcomes instead of specific actions. The mindset shift puts people in charge of the methods used to deliver them. A job satisfaction study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 70% of employees rank empowerment as an essential element of their engagement. With the responsibility and control, employees will feel more connected to the outcome, motivating them to find ways to deliver results.

Pushing the decision-making to the edge also puts it as close to the relevant teams and outcomes as possible. Senior leadership should provide their teams with the support and tools they need to execute those plans. For example, decision-making requires real-time performance data on existing campaigns to test their effectiveness. Employees need seamless access to insights paired with a clear understanding of the organizational strategy to have the confidence to move forward on a plan. 

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3. Adapt, together

It’s a marketing leader’s job to create a plan for driving growth and revenue for their organization, but those plans aren’t set in stone. Today’s organizations need agility—the ability to quickly move and pivot in response to the changing needs of the customer and marketplace. 

 A survey by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Forbes found that 92% of C-level executives believe organizational agility is critical to business success. Still, just 27% agree that their organization is highly agile. 

Creating an agile organization is crucial as it delivers significant financial benefits. A study by Accenture found that truly agile firms are more than twice as likely to be in the top-quartile for economic performance. And a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that agile companies grow revenue 37% percent faster and generate 30% higher profits than their non-agile counterparts. 

While being agile and adaptable means being flexible about changing campaigns, it also requires some standardized ways of working, such as communication with stakeholders, work plans, and results tracking. Adopting a common language can create the path for the smooth execution of new strategies and techniques. 

Technology can facilitate processes, such as an intuitive, cloud-based work-management platform that enables real-time communication and visibility across departments and eliminates the departmental silos that slow down collaboration. With greater visibility into work streams, teams can quickly pivot strategies to meet the new content and messaging needed to grow their business.

Marketing is the foundation of organizational direction. As the world becomes more complex and more connected, leaders need to define and implement new ways of working. Companies that are aligned, empowered, and agile will be among those that thrive in the new marketplace where disruption is no longer unexpected: it’s a given. 

Learn more about how Smartsheet for Marketing can help you and your team keep your campaigns relevant in a fast-paced market.