Remote worker's laptop

Since the advent of COVID-19, many companies have moved towards a remote working arrangement. The need for social distancing has forced many companies to adapt their work arrangements and how their team collaborates. 

In this article, we’ll outline how you can build and project manage your marketing team, remotely. From understanding the strategy to building your remote team, to determining your marketing channels, and lastly, on how you can project manage your team members to ensure your marketing campaign success.

Benefits of a Remote Marketing Team

Remote workers can often be more productive than office-based workers, with productivity benefits arising from the increased autonomy and lowered distractions.

Building a remote marketing team for also brings about numerous benefits: including cost savings from reduced employee overheads, lowered time in recruitment, and increased employee satisfaction. You also gain access to a wider range of talent for your marketing needs, who are not within your city, or do not necessarily need to be on full-time payroll.

Building A Remote Marketing Team: A Fluid Structure Comes First

When it comes to building your remote marketing team, determining the right structure and the expertise you need comes first.

One big mistake many companies make is to hire generalist brand marketers with no real deep expertise in the different facets of marketing: performance marketing, search engine optimisation, email marketing or content marketing.

Instead, your remote marketing team should be fluid and allow for your business to test which marketing channels are profitable for your business.

Firstly, determine your strategy: what skill-sets and channels do you first require for your business, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) your remote marketing team should hit.

Secondly, construct your team structure based on these channel needs and KPIs. Hire a mix of senior roles and junior roles; many companies make the mistake of hiring junior marketers to run big marketing campaigns, which often leads to low return on investment (ROI) on their campaigns.

Lastly, adopt the modern view with marketing teams, with the analogy of “out with the bomber, in with the sniper”.

Traditionally, marketing used to be generalist and about shouting your message far-and-wide to reach potential audiences (“bomber approach”). Now, with the advent of marketing technologies, you can target so precisely that you are now able to know exactly who your audience is, and how to target that audience at any moment (“sniper approach”).

Coming in with the right macro-view to your marketing brings in many benefits in project management later down the line. 

Next, Determine Your Marketing Channels:

In the era of COVID-19, the marketing industry has been upended, with renewed focus on different marketing channels and their cost efficiencies. The pandemic has affected how customers respond to ads and what media they consume.

COVID-19 has pushed forth the shift towards digital marketing channels, away from physical marketing such as events, conferences and out-of-home advertising.

Your remote marketing team should focus on the digital domain, running marketing activities such as content marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media advertising such as Facebook and Instagram ads, as well as paid search (Google Ads, Bing).

Managing Your Remote Marketing Team: 5 Key Processes

1. Automate, Automate, Automate

Improve your marketing ROI by automating key marketing activities. Marketing automation is available to companies, both large and small, to optimise their marketing budgets and labour productivity.

Examples of marketing automation include building marketing lists via landing pages, or setting up onboarding sequences with leads through personalised email campaigns. Ensure that your remote marketing team uses the latest marketing automation software to improve their productivity. These tools include Buffer for scheduling your social media flows, to Hubspot marketing automation tools.

2. Build Your Team Tool Stack

Use the right team tool stack to allow your marketing team to collaborate effectively, and ensure everyone on the team uses these tools to communicate. 

Use team communication tools like Slack as your digital workspace, where team members can share ideas and collaborate a lot more efficiently than email. 

To catalog your team’s learning and insights over time, use a knowledge base like Notion. The software integrates different components for knowledge management, such as databases to store your marketing data, kanban boards to plan your marketing projects, wikis, calendars and reminders.

Lastly, use project management tools like Asana to manage your marketing workflows over time, so that your team can see at a glance how your projects are progressing and where the team gaps are.

3. Set the Right Culture Focused on Accountability:

Ensure that all your remote marketing team members’ onboarding includes an understanding of the company’s culture. 

Co-create and adapt your company culture over time, annually, to encourage embodiment of the company’s culture amongst all employees.

A culture of accountability holds everyone responsible for their performance. As a leader, you need to be the role model by embodying this in your day-to-day work.

4. Set Your Objectives, Key Results (OKRs) and KPIs Regularly:

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a management framework used in practice by leading companies from Spotify to Airbnb, Google to Twitter.

OKRs are a simple organisational goal-setting tool that helps you and your team build and measure specific actions that contribute to your main marketing KPIs. It also allows your management team to monitor progress over time.

Each remote marketer sets their own OKRs and is accountable for their performance.

5. Encourage Social Cohesion and Collaboration:

Encourage social cohesion by creating opportunities for members of your remote marketing team to meet or socialise. This can be done virtually through hangouts on Zoom, facilitated with company benefits such as sending drinks and snacks to each employee’s home to simulate an in-person happy hour.

If the budget allows, organising an annual retreat also helps each team member meet and bond in person, outside of the virtual workplace.