Despite the training, the years of experience in executing campaigns, and the first-hand knowledge in different creative disciplines, managing a marketing team of different personalities never gets easy.
If this weren't challenging enough though, today's world of offshore creative services and internal team members in different regional offices ushers the additional pressure to get people from remote locations together on the same page.
When it comes to management, our leaders have found the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) insightful. We've taken pages from some of our greatest clients who manage a multitude of tasks and people in internal and offshore Creative and Marketing teams.
In this two-part blog post, we share lessons we’ve learned on managing and leading starting with the former.
Part 1: Managing processes with systems built for accountability
- Work towards at least an intermediate understanding of different creative fields.
A lesson our best clients have passed on to the inbound marketers at StraightArrow is to take the time and effort to study the fundamental principles behind and the technical terms used in different creative fields.
Realistically, marketing managers may be highly skilled in about two aspects of creative work but you should also immerse yourself in the rest. This would provide you with a deeper understanding of the team, their capacity, and their processes. This, in turn, is useful for planning work hours required (marketing automation takes a lot), turnaround times, and sprints. It will also help you provide feedback more clearly by being able to specify QA issues on tone for writing, or kerning for design, for example.
- Design accountability into your team's environment.
A good chunk of managing marketing operations involves designing a system to shape how people act and make decisions within the team. This system can include a physical or virtual leaderboard showing the metrics each member is accountable for, so everyone knows where everyone stands and can identify where additional support is needed. On the operations front, these metrics can include turnaround times and number of revisions You can also set calendar invitations for consultations and reminders to repeat regularly. Doing so can transform new practices like raising issues and sending updates into habits for your team.
Communicate regularly enough.
Defining the word "enough" can be subjective. The best way to determine what this means for you is to discuss it early on with your team. Different creatives will provide different answers and you will need to compare these with your own needs: what do you need to know, when do you need to make decisions about them, when do you need to inform stakeholders outside of your team.
This initial discussion can help your team establish a balance between being out of the loop and micromanaging. For some, "enough" means a 10-minute SCRUM every morning and a bi-monthly sprint. For others, it could mean a weekly 90-minute level 10 and open communication in person, on Skype, Hangouts, Basecamp, Trello, or email.
Document your team's processes.This can be a text file on Basecamp or a set of shared documents, or it can be a wiki accessible to your team members and other stakeholders. Documenting your processes and challenges is a change management tool to ride the waves of the inevitable team restructure, reassignment, resignation, temporary substitution for people on holiday, or additional headcount.
A continuously growing library of process documents can help you and your team track progress in terms of hitting the numbers, reducing steps, and making results more repeatable. As your organization begins to scale, you can use these to share lessons with other teams.
Keep your processes and your people working in tip-top shape with an understanding of their expertise, a focus on accountability, systems for open communication and a documentation of your performance. For more tips, subscribe to our blog.