Meeting discussions, comments on printed documents, replies to emails … marketers don’t just communicate with the market but also with each other. The way in which the internal communication within a marketing team proceeds is therefore a particularly difficult issue that leads to quite a few … discussions. However, communication about marketing planning issues also extends beyond the team. How do you communicate with freelancers, with key stakeholders, with management and, in the case of marketing agencies, with customers? In this article I review the most common techniques for streamlining the communication within and around marketing teams.
Are you a marketer? Then add up the minutes that you spend every day preparing and answering emails that are directly related to the marketing process. Your management wants information about campaigns, colleagues pass on concise to extensive information, sales wants to know the status of promotions and campaigns, customers check on the progress of a campaign ... no wonder your mailbox is continually being filled and you are busy all day long answering emails.
Mail overload is a well-known problem within marketing and a trigger of stress and burnout. Anyone who lives by mail communication cannot possibly be productive as a marketer, let alone achieve the desired results. Yet marketers still persist in using mail for internal and external discussions about marketing planning, promotions and campaigns. And those who get buried in a stream of CC emails can forget about work comfort, productivity and results.
Don't get me wrong: mail is an essential part of a marketing team. Anyone who analyzes the emails, however, sooner or later concludes that they are being misused. You simply should not use emails for short messages or questions, with colleagues or customers in CC. You should also avoid long emails, because people don't read emails, they scan them. So, use mail only for concise messages to the right people and avoid a chain reaction of emails.
Chat programs such as Slack and Microsoft Teams explicitly portray themselves as "collaboration programs". These days you can find such applications in all kinds of flavors. Chat software is specifically designed to facilitate communication with others. It enables you to conduct personal marketing chats as well as create group channels around a specific topic, such as a campaign or a customer. Marketers can exchange files, set automatic reminders ... Mobile chat applications are also available on Android and iOS. Furthermore, there is a long list of other apps that can be integrated into the program. That's all good news for the moment. So, will every marketer be chatting from now on?
I am a proponent of good use of chat within a marketing team. Please note, I emphasize "good use". Within our team we use Slack to communicate with each other, but only after we have clearly discussed what we still communicate via e-mail, what we use chat software (Slack) for and what communication belongs in our marketing planning software. In any case, the biggest bonus of a chat program within our team is a drastically reduced use of email for internal communication, the incentive to send short and concise messages and the possibility of importing data from external applications into a chat channel.
As far as I am concerned, a chat program is a perfect solution for marketing teams and marketing agencies that have not yet digitized their planning in a digital marketing planner, where the marketing planning for promotions and campaigns is still in Excel and communication about this planning is mainly via email. They must consider whether the email communication cannot be done smarter via a chat application. Marketers who have meanwhile taken the step towards digitizing planning can make better use of the chat module in the marketing planner. Why, you will find out in the next section.
Are your marketing discussions and marketing chats with others primarily about current promotions and campaigns? Then the use of self-contained chat software confronts you quite quickly with an important disadvantage: the discussions are about marketing planning, but they are separate from it. For example, a conversation about the content and timing of a blog article can be much quicker and easier via chat than via email. But you don't see the schedule in front of you when the chat message arrives.
As you can see: I'm a fan of chat within a marketing context. But, on the condition that there are clear agreements within the team on how people communicate with each other on the chat platform and how that relates to email communication. Whoever manages that, gains in efficiency and productivity thanks to a better focus on tasks and planning.
Finally, I want to make a brief plea for the integration of chat within a planning context. All too often a chat application is hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread for team communication, but people are not aware enough of the impact of a new, self-contained, software application within the team. If you buy a lot of non-integrated tools, you will eventually shoot yourself in the foot. You fragment the data and the communication about that data in such a way that the team gets stuck in a maze of apps. With the result that people ultimately fall back on ... email and Excel. This is not only a waste of time and resources invested, it also fuels resistance within a marketing team against future ideas for better cooperation.
Slack, Zendesk, Microsoft Teams, Intercom
|Marketing Project Management tools|
Husky, Wrike, Percolate
This blog article is part of a series on shared marketing planning for efficient collaboration. Below you'll find all the articles that will help you find your way around.