5 easy ways to enhance marketing collaboration
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
– Henry Ford
Collaboration should be something at which marketing professionals excel, right? We are communicators. We list “people skills” as one of our biggest strengths. Sometimes collaboration can be easier said than done, but I think we can do a few things to ease the pain and make workplace collaboration rewarding – and even fun.
Utilize shared drives, cloud collaboration and/or project management tools
I recently had what could have been a devastating experience: my computer crashed. Fortunately, I learned the hard way to not store everything on my desktop. Keeping meeting notes, design proofs and project lists to yourself is the killer of collaboration – and can be the killer of your company’s momentum on a project. When you’re sick, you don’t want important information stuck on your local hard drive. When collaborating, whether within your department or across different departments, make sure everyone has access to as much as appropriate. When collaborating, whether it be within your department or across departments, make sure everyone has access to as much as appropriate. Make your files accessible and convenient; we’re all too busy to search for a misplaced or weirdly named file.
Spice it up: alternate meeting locations
No matter where you work, everyone needs a break from their surroundings sometimes. When scheduling meetings, try to utilize alternate locations when possible. You don’t have to go anywhere exotic, and even rearranging or redecorating a conference room can make a difference. If it’s a beautiful day (and your boss allows), try meeting at a nearby coffee shop or an outside location; a little fresh air can improve anyone’s mood!
Don’t downplay the importance of (some) meetings
Unnecessary meetings are frustrating and counterproductive. But sticking to regular catch-up meetings with stakeholders or customers can really help prevent you from being blindsided with unrealistic deadlines or missed objectives. Create an agenda beforehand and share minutes afterward; it may seem like a lot of work, but you will be glad you did it when something comes up down the road and you have a record of conversations and action items.
Have your fellow marketer’s back
In our profession, we have the opportunity to bring creative ideas to life, to engage customers in strategic and exciting campaigns and to be part of something bigger than ourselves. But… we also have to put out fires and manage unrealistic deadlines and last minute requests. It just comes with the job, and always will. While there are ways to minimize the stress of these responsibilities (as listed above), I’ve found it’s the most helpful to have a support system to rely on. Is your workload lighter this week? Maybe you can help a scrambling colleague. It’s likely they will remember and do the same for you when you’re in need.
Build trusted vendor relationships
Cherish those trusted vendors that can help you accommodate the last-minute promo item request or the printer that will turn around your rush job and understand you’re swamped. These people exist, but the relationship takes work. Do you have trusted vendors like this? Ones that can save your project and your sanity? If not, seek them out and nurture the relationship (in-person meetings, thank you cards, phone calls). If you do, hold on to them for dear life!
For more tips on smarter collaboration for marketers, check out our posts on modernizing internal marketing departments and overcoming typical communication hurdles.