Seven Strategies For Leading Hybrid Marketing Teams

Cindy Apt

SVP Marketing of CUJO AI, 15 years experience marketing for tech companies, Ph.D. of Economics, more than 60 articles in business magazines.

Should your marketing team be present in the office for the 9 to 5, or is it okay to let them work remotely?

The Covid-19 pandemic shaped a new reality where the remote working trend emerged to meet shifting employee needs. While there are distinct benefits to working from home, many workplaces feel the need to have at least some of the employees present some of the time.

These employers are stuck in a conundrum. They want the benefit of a present workforce while the staff wants to take advantage of remote work flexibility. This is likely part of what has given rise to hybrid teams.

While this could improve work-life balance, this may not always be the case for marketing departments. They are often already inundated with time-consuming approval processes, miscommunication, duplication of work and the possibility of delayed deliveries. These issues can become even more exacerbated with marketing teams scattered and working remotely.

Hybrid Workplace—Why Businesses Should Embrace The Change

Marketing teams must be agile to survive in the challenging and competitive digital landscape. I believe hybrid work is here to stay; as Deloitte’s 2021 Return to Workplaces survey found, 68% of respondents said they planned to implement some kind of hybrid model once freedom of movement was allowed.

The following are some of the best ways to keep business moving in the right direction while following the hybrid model of work:

1. Building Trust And Inclusivity

One of the biggest challenges for leading remote or hybrid marketing teams is to build trust among remote team members. It’s a challenge to create boundaries of respect and fairness when everyone isn’t even under the same roof for most of the week.

A reliable way to overcome this dilemma is for the marketing manager to involve every team member in online or in-person meetings. I’ve found that this helps build a sense of belonging and establishes safety by giving managers leeway to recognize the efforts each person makes, whether they are working remotely or in the office.

2. Flexibility And Independence

As of right now, we can’t be sure what lies ahead, as the marketing landscape may undergo a significant transformation. Marketing departments should be prepared for the changing circumstances and take measures to facilitate flexibility.

Moreover, some team members may get jealous of their teammates’ flexible work schedules, or they might not personally like working remotely. No matter the reason, the marketing manager should provide flexibility to everyone by allowing them to choose a schedule that works for the company and individual team members.

More importantly, every team member should clearly understand that progress and results matter, not where or when they work.

Besides this, a survey conducted by GlobalWebIndex on behalf of Slack in 2020 found that 72.2% of respondents prefer a hybrid remote-office model. Certainly, to be competitive in the current marketing world, organizations should offer flexible hybrid operating structures and teams composed of on-site and remote workers.

3. Creating A Sense Of Accountability

Marketing managers can achieve accountability by working closely with their teams and continuously providing support and coaching. Remember that managers should have knowledge of their team’s job descriptions and progress without coming off as too aggressive or like micromanagers.

When leading hybrid teams, marketing managers should clearly articulate priorities, set goals and focus on productivity. As a result, the marketing team can build commitment and focus on achieving shared goals regardless of working schedules.

4. Setting Clear Goals

To continue with the idea of open communication, marketing leaders should discuss what they expect from everyone in today’s ever-changing circumstances. It is important to set clear goals, identify KPIs, address areas for improvement and tackle relevant issues for each member of the team.

The hybrid team is a relatively new concept. Therefore, marketing managers should ensure a strong start by establishing a “team charter.” In short, set clear marketing objectives stating what the team needs to achieve and what the process is for achieving those goals.

5. Communication

Leaders should establish ground rules for communication, including transparency and collaboration guidelines among remote and in-person members. Feedback is equally important, as it allows the team to increase efficiency in a collective manner and eradicate obstacles related to marketing and media efforts.

Leaders should pay attention to employees’ personal goals and focus on showcasing empathy and genuine caring for each member’s well-being. Remote workers may worry about being excluded from spontaneous workplace conversations, and this could make them feel less valued. It’s among the “lift and shift” skills that marketing managers should have to include remote and in-person employees.

6. Burnout Awareness

Marketing is a challenging field where workers might feel overwhelmed with the workload and their work-life balance. And hence, end up causing stress and burnout among employees. Managers should remain vigilant about their team members’ situations to ensure the team achieves the desired marketing goals. DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2021—which surveyed 2,102 human resource professionals and 15,787 leaders globally—revealed that the leadership skill that most mitigates employee burnout is empathy.

7. Using The Right Tools

Hybrid teams heavily depend on digital technologies to stay connected; hence, it’s important to take advantage of the right collaborative tools that are designed specifically for remote teams. Spend time finding the right tools for your team. Most of us know Zoom, but nowadays, the market is overflowing with countless collaborative tools, such as Google Meet, Skype and so on.

Getting Started On The Path Toward Leading A Hybrid Marketing Team

I believe the future of work is hybrid.

Marketing teams face a number of diverse challenges, but many can be overcome with the above best practices. Offering flexibility, reducing burnout and enhancing collaboration among in-house and remote workers could be key to the success of a hybrid working model within the marketing landscape.

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