Get on Board with Better Marketing Tools

  • Categories:

    Strategy

  • Date:

    August 22, 2019

Get on Board with Better Marketing Tools



Strategy

Are you an early adopter? Did you install a smart home security system before any of your neighbors? Did you advocate for cloud-based team hubs while your co-workers were still getting used to simple team messaging apps?

If you’re anything like me, you have an affinity for new products and technology that can make your home or work life easier. New tools — the right tools — aren’t a pain in the neck. They’re your friends.

But early adopters make up a small percentage of the world. In fact, most people and many companies initially shy away from new tools. They see something new and immediately worry about how it will affect them. Are they complicated? Can they be simplified? Will they create more work? As a result, a ridiculously large percentage of companies aren’t using modern tools such as Google Drive, Slack and Zoom — even though most of their employees likely use similar productivity solutions outside of work.

It’s easy to understand. Change can be hard.

So, why bother with more tools if you’re getting along just fine with what you already have, thank you very much?

Tools increase efficiency.

Efficiency is one of the elements I’m always keeping an eye on. Efficiency is about finding simpler, better ways to do work. If you’re a marketing project manager or producer, you absolutely want to improve your speed to market. And you need to do it without sacrificing quality.

Here’s the best part: Sometimes, even the simplest tools can make a big difference.

  • At Wray Ward, when we use a Google folder to share things with clients, they can receive things live and on-demand versus having to wait for everything at once. It’s more organic.
  • Virtual workspaces complement real, old-fashioned face-to-face time, which is still valuable but also less likely and feasible in a global workforce.

Tools create checks and balances.

Mistakes are part of being human. Imagine a team of five working in a shared spreadsheet stored on a server. One person’s edits may not get captured; another person’s may save over someone else’s changes. The result? A version history crisis — every marketer’s worst I-have-to-present-this-deck-in-five-minutes-and-I-can’t-tell-which-version-is-correct nightmare.

On the flip side, teams working in the cloud can see and share and react to their teammates’ changes in real time. Teams working in the cloud don’t have a where’s-my-file panic mode.

Tools strengthen relationships.

Relationships are crucial, and in today’s 24/7/365 work-from-wherever global workforce, we need ways to work together more openly and efficiently. If you’re anything like me, you likely have messages coming at you from different directions and many different people. Shared environments — natural, nonintrusive, collaborative spaces — allow agencies and their clients to work as if they’re sitting together, even if thousands of miles separate them.

  • Instead of having to send a long email or pick up the phone to end up leaving a voice message or wait for a once-a-week status meeting, can you communicate with your agency, clients or colleagues via Slack? It creates drop-in touch points and shortens the runway to completing a task. It also relaxes parts of the process that really don’t need to be formal. Work evolves more organically, more quickly and with better results.
  • Virtual workspaces elevate clients to the role of invited collaborators, recognizing the value they bring between project kickoff and final approval.

Remember, tools aren’t designed to dehumanize our relationships or our work. In fact, when we use them correctly, tools draw us closer and help us create better work together. The right tools take human connections and workflows that are finite and siloed and make them more fluid.

How can you make changes now?

Smooth adoption is all about having the right mindset. Just the idea of forming new habits can cause some people to shut down or defend the old way, but even small, incremental changes can make a huge difference. I’m talking about small leaps forward rather than total shifts in direction.

Consider the positive habits already ingrained in yourself and your team culture and catapult them to the next level. Are you saving files to your server using a universal file structure? Take that same approach and make it cloud-based.

A few words of caution ...

  • Start with a test-drive. The danger is investing in good tools such as Slack without the resources or the commitment to take full advantage of them. Examine systems you already have in place. They may not be perfect, but they can help you understand how to get better. Use these so-so tools to form, improve and create good habits.
  • Resist the all-or-nothing urge. Even the best tools shouldn’t replace earlier formats — think whiteboards and good old pen and paper. These simple tools only increase the sphere of influence and make you more efficient. Have you ever taken a photo of a whiteboard sketch and sent it to your agency or client partner? Imagine that kind of communication happening on Google.
  • Consider your needs. This is critical. Sometimes, those same fear-inducing technology products become the shiny new object everyone wants. You don’t want to miss out, but you also don’t want to adopt a tool just because everyone else is doing it. Choose a tool because it can provide a solution to your problem, and tailor it to your unique needs.
  • Use it; don’t lose it! You can sharpen a pencil, but a pencil will always grow dull with use. Technology tools are quite the opposite. That means an unused or underutilized tool is worthless. Don’t adopt the tool and say, OK, we don’t have to think about that anymore. That’s dangerous. You should constantly think about it. Use it. Evolve how you use it.

Still not ready for change?

Remember, you’re doing a lot of this stuff now. Identify a few opportunities for incremental gains and apply your already solid habits to new systems or tools, one by one. Find internal ambassadors — people who know the tools and speak the language and have the passion to encourage their co-workers who aren’t already in line to board the change bus. Get out there and start exploring. See what you can do.

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