How to create a knowledge base for marketing work management
Marketing work management tools can benefit your organization in a number of ways, including adding productivity and efficiency. They also help manage teams that work remotely. But with all of these capabilities, it’s important that team members know how to use them. Building a knowledge base for your marketing work management system is essential to making sure everybody using it is on the same page. Here are some tips on what to include in your marketing work management knowledge base. “The knowledge base…is for your team and any collaborators in the tool so that they can reference at any time instructions and guidelines on how to use the tool best,” said Brianna Miller, director of marketing and demand generation at healthcare compliance analytics company Protenus, at The MarTech Conference. The marketing work management tool is important for adding projects, submitting them for approval and sharing other important updates. Communications related to projects should be done, in most cases, within the work management tool. If a project request or another project-related update comes in through another channel, there should be guidelines in place on when to leave these updates where they are and when to add them to the marketing work management tool. Here is an example of guidelines to follow. Your organization might use email or messaging apps like Slack differently, but this is at least a good place to start. Guidelines on how a task or project can be initiated You should also have specific guidelines on how a project can be initiated. These guidelines should be broken down by channel. Provide examples on how requests should be handled when they come in via: Email. Slack/Teams and other messaging apps. A meeting (virtual or in-person). Request forms. Dig deeper: How to decide if you should get a marketing performance management platform Guidelines on who can create a project and change key project information “Have guidelines on who can create projects and change key project information,” said Miller. “This small thing can make a big difference because then there’s one ownership and there is one person who knows when the due dates are and when the project might be changing.” Set up naming conventions for projects and tasks Clear titles help team members understand the kind of task they are looking at in the marketing work management tool. This saves time and helps avoid errors. “As great as any search functionality is, and any tool, creating clear titles will save your team so much time,” said Miller. Your organization’s naming convention might consider using a “drill down” method, which proceeds from more general terms to more specific words about individual projects. Here are some other rules to consider adopting for your team’s naming conventions: Use numbers and dates in the title. Add context by naming the department and project type. Shorter is better. Use verbs to designate task-related actions (write, design, draft, review, etc.). Guidelines on processes in the system Include guidelines on processes in your knowledge base so team members know how to go about completing tasks and projects. Also, clearly define the difference between tasks and projects, and be specific about what processes apply to the task level versus the project level. Here are some examples of guidelines on processes: All work should be documented in the task description. The comments section should be used if something specific to the task needs to be discussed. Only if the question is related to the project as a whole should comments be made on the project level. Once work is ready for review in the task with attachments uploaded, mention team members who are required for review and change the status of the task to “In Review.” Once the review process has been completed, the task owner will change the status on the task to “Complete.” When a project is completed, the Project Owner should move the project to the appropriate “Archived” folder. Register and watch The MarTech Conference here.
6 reasons why you need a marketing work management tool
The shift to remote work has created the need to bring teams together using work management platforms and project management tools. Regardless of whether the majority of your marketing team is back at the office or still working remotely, the entire organization can benefit from implementing a marketing work management platform. “There has been an increase in the output that marketing teams are required to bring to the table, and even more focus on metrics and ROI than ever before,” said Brianna Miller, director of marketing and demand generation at healthcare compliance analytics company Protenus, at The MarTech Conference. “And sometimes managing all of these different moving parts can feel next to impossible, but that’s where a marketing work management system can come into play.” Here are some important reasons why you should consider a marketing work management platform. 1. Marketing work management goes well beyond project management Sometimes an organization will put in place project management tools to help organize and complete individual projects. Work management platforms go further than this in bringing together the entire workflow across multiple projects while also automating repetitive processes. “By definition, project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet a single specific project requirement,” said Miller. “The main goal is to execute projects or unique initiatives with a set scope, set timeline, set budget, and set resources.” Marketing work management systems are more flexible and designed to change with your team from project to project. “The main goal of marketing work management is not just managing their workflows and processes, but organizing those tasks and streamlining communication and a collaborative shared workspace,” Miller said. “The keyword is ‘collaborative’.” Dig deeper: What is marketing work management and how do these tools support agile marketing? 2. They put an end to fire drills Marketing teams are familiar with stressful last-minute projects known as “fire drills.” Some organizations thrive on deadline pressure, but marketing work management tools can help decrease the likelihood that a fire drill will happen out of nowhere “A marketing work management solution…allows you to see your capabilities, your resources and how you can better allocate them based off what you already have going on,” said Miller. “So even though they are kind of last-minute, they don’t seem so overwhelming because you already have a clear view of your resources.” 3. Improves remote collaboration and overall team efficiency Because team members from all around the world can work together virtually on a marketing work management system, they can work more efficiently within their team. For one thing, they won’t have nearly as many emails and chats to send to each other. “A marketing work management platform…optimizes and automates workflows,” said Miller. “It also allows you to utilize project templates.” 4. Eliminates silos and supports cross-departmental coordination Marketing work management helps teams complete marketing projects, but many of these projects involve other departments. For this reason, a marketing work management system can help create more cohesion throughout the company’s organizational structure. 5. Creates stakeholder visibility Stakeholders, including executives and clients, can have access to the marketing work management system, and this allows them to check on the status of projects without having to contact other team members individually. This increased visibility helps contribute to overall efficiency. Again, there’s less time wasted on one-to-one emails and other communications. 6. Improved project planning Marketing work management platforms enable more accurate project planning and forecasting. Leaders can even accelerate projects because they can see what resources are available and can move them to prioritize one project over another. “Having a system like this in place with automation can free up your team members to have the time to work on meaningful work — the projects that move the needle for your company,” said Miller. Register and watch The MarTech Conference here.
Email creation platform Stensul expands its offering to landing pages
Stensul, the platform that promotes rapid and collaborative creation of emails, has announced that it will now support similar processes for landing pages. The Stensul Landing Page Builder is now available within the Stensul Creation Platform. This is part of a strategic expansion of Stensul’s capabilities into assets other than emails. The Builder is based on templates and no-code modules allowing non-technical staff to collaborate on landing page creation. Stensul is emphasizing that this is not a repurposed email creation tool but a separate solution. Why we care. The trend is for vendors who built their business on offering solutions for niche parts of the customer experience to seek its broader application. We have already seen vendors offering sophisticated email content capabilities pivot to offering those capabilities to experiences beyond email. Stensul’s territory is creation rather than content, but it makes sense that the Stensul platform would look to support creation and collaboration in other areas. This reflects, of course, the need for marketers to think and strategize across multiple channels rather than one, no matter how important the email channel might be. Dig deeper: Stensul is first email creation platform to integrate with Pardot Marketo Engage integration. Stensul’s email creation capabilities have for some time been integrated with Adobe Marketo. It’s now announcing an API that will allow users within Stensul to embed Marketo forms in landing pages and upload the HTML to Marketo Marketing Activities with a single click.
How to improve efficiency by combining two kinds of collaboration
In the new work-from-home reality, organizations have the opportunity to recreate the best work habits from the offline world and implement them digitally. The trick is to identify two main kinds of collaboration — passive and active — and combine them to support the most productive work flow. Passive collaboration “Passive collaboration realizes its value when project details and collaborative elements are visible and managed, and when its results are visible and managed well,” said Patrick Rohlfsen, principal consultant for work management software company Wrike, at The MarTech Conference. These are types of collaboration occur in emails and other messages that don’t require an immediate response. In the old days, they were the assignments that were dropped in a person’s physical inbox at their desk. “Passive collaboration is becoming more integrated into your [digital] work stream now,” said Rohlfsen. “For a long time now companies have used tickets or request forms to collaborate with clients or employees, but I’m seeing more desire from people now for a simpler way for others to make requests of them.” A lot of current work management technology deals with supporting passive collaboration, allowing multiple team members to work simultaneously on a project, according to their individual work timelines. “It’s not uncommon for marketing or IT teams or legal teams to build a request form — something simple that can standardize the requests and integrate them into their work stream,” said Rohlfsen. “The expectation is going to be that if you want me to do something for you, you’re going to need to put your requests in the same place where I manage all the rest of my work.” Collaboration becomes easier or more efficient when everybody knows where to find it, all in one place. But committing too much work to this passive mode risks taking the “human element” out of work. That’s where active collaboration comes in. Active collaboration Active collaboration is those real-time interactions that happened during in-person meetings at offices or on video conference platforms like Zoom. “Active collaboration realizes its value when you realize the potential we have as human beings,” said Rohlfsen. “The more intentional we are about our relationships, our tendencies, the faster we get to that magic collaborative point. The more thought we give to creating environments and experiences for stakeholders, the better the results can be as project managers.” Visual cues increase the potential of a breakthrough during active collaboration. To make the most of these occasions when multiple people are actively brainstorming with one another, use a digital whiteboard or encourage screen-sharing. Also, to make active collaboration more efficient, and more inviting for those who attend, limit the time for these meetings when appropriate. In many cases, the “magic” can happen in a 10-minute meeting. Resist falling back on the default 30-minute time block in people’s digital calendars. After the active collaboration session, produce some kind of record of the ideas that were shared. Maybe it’s a screenshot of the whiteboard or a video of the meeting. This record has action items that can now be integrated into the passive-collaboration workflow, bridging the two modes of collaboration. It’s very important to keep in mind that humans have worked face to face since the dawn of time, and when we put our heads together, we can do incredible things. We can deliver projects faster, we can be more efficient with our resources, we produce better products when we work closely together and we collaborate more effectively. By combining active and passive collaboration, organizations build stronger relationships between team members that communicate actively in real time, while retaining the advantages of passive work that can get done any time. Dig deeper: How work management tools are connecting marketing teams
How new remote work apps and virtual meetings are transforming employee experience
Work from home has all but eliminated the informal social interactions which let employees get to know each other and share ideas. Email and chats aren’t the same as going out for coffee, talking by the watercooler or running into someone in the hall. However, a new generation of remote work apps and virtual meeting platforms aims to fix that. Creating new meeting spaces in a digital office “The fact is that any company that becomes successful becomes ‘distributed’,” said Howard Lerman, founder & CEO of Roam, a cloud-based headquarters for remote staff. “You have engineering centers, people in the field, people in flex spaces, remote team members. Any company that succeeds has people anywhere, and frankly, even before the rise of remote work, distributed engagement was already broken.” Roam, currently in beta with about two dozen enterprise and smaller-sized clients, allows users to navigate a floor plan where each employee has their own office and can move around and meet with their colleagues. Roam floor map. Image: Roam. Large organizations can build multiple floors in Roam that resemble an office building, with each floor serving a different department or function. Conference rooms hold more people for formal meetings, while a theater includes a “stage” for Zoom-style video presentations. Dig deeper: Top 3 marketing use cases for the B2B metaverse Employees have a bird’s eye view of who is at their desk, which employees are meeting with each other and the status of individual users. This way, team members can know at a glance if someone is available for an informal meeting. “There are too many meetings,” said Lerman. “Things that should take two people five minutes right now are scheduled for 60-minute Zoom meetings with eight people next week. We’ve been living in a world where our workflow supports the technology, and what we need to do is get to the reverse.” Supporting workflow and individual preferences Instead of structuring a team’s workflow with lots of large-scale formal meetings, remote work apps put employees in the driver’s seat, giving them flexibility to meet briefly when they need to. The average meeting time in Roam is eight and a half minutes, according to Lerman. Of the five hours the average user spends in Roam, only 80 minutes are spent in meetings. “Most Roam members see their overall meeting times cut by 50% because you can just walk over to someone and meet with them right now instead of scheduling everything in the future,” he said. Users can also personalize their work area in Roam similar to a social media profile, with family pictures, books they like and other preferences. There’s even an option to play a brief three-second entrance tune when a user enters or leaves a meeting space. But of course, serious work must also get done. And important work processes have to fit in with the digital experience provided by remote work apps. Frameable Spaces, a remote work app launched by Frameable, also uses a floor plan and personal offices to support collaboration. Their clients include Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and HubSpot, among others. “In terms of integrations, you’ve chosen tools you want to use,” said Adam Riggs, Frameable’s founder and CEO. “From a strategic perspective, we don’t want to pick and choose [integrations].” He added, “We’ve invested heavily in excellent video technology so multiple people can screen-share at the same time.” Roam Theater view. Image: Roam. Using screen sharing, team members can be logged into other critical work tools individually and then show their screens and share ideas with colleagues. Another use case Riggs pointed out was that Frameable Spaces could be used as a bridge for two separate physical offices. This way, one team could be in an office building together and know instantly who is on call at the other physical office by looking at Frameable Spaces — and the team at the other location would know the same about the first team. The emphasis here is on synchronous work, whether physically together or remotely connected. “Without being outright against asynchronous work, we think synchronous enables a variety of talent types to work together,” said Riggs. “It doesn’t have to be ‘camera on’ all the time, but it’s important to have a flow. Email and chat alone do not deliver that.” Dig deeper: Why we care about AR & VR Building workplace culture with virtual events Remote work apps like Roam and Frameable Spaces bring colleagues back into a shared space, digitally. They allow clients to customize the office layout to reflect the company that employees work for, replacing some of the needs that physical offices served, while making work more efficient and flexible for a new era of “distributed” organizations. Neither, by design, is immersive. Instead, care goes into the experience to provide nuance to virtual interactions. For instance, in Roam, when people go into the large theater for presentations, they encounter several levels of interaction coded into the UX. First, a user can pick which row to sit in audience. Once seated, they can chat with others in their row, but not with the rest of the theater, just like in the buildup to an in-person PowerPoint. Meanwhile, only those on the “stage” can be seen and heard by everybody, which removes much of the confusion and chaos of massive multi-user Zoom calls. But in this brave new world of remote work, some companies are experimenting with immersive virtual events. Party.Space, a B2B metaverse platform, hosted a virtual company retreat for Zapier and a Halloween quiz for Google. Party.Space’s CEO and founder Yurii Filipchuk makes a clear distinction between virtual spaces for work, which handle the brass tacks of Google Docs and task managers, and his own platform, which provides a virtual space for socialization. “Certainly, any work process is about efficiency and results, but they can hardly be achieved without a social component,” said Filipchuk. “To be more productive, a person needs to feel an emotional bond with his company and colleagues. And here the metaverse comes in.” He added, “Organizations should create an environment for non-formal social communication as part of their remote format implementation. And again, the metaverse is an excellent tool for it as you can host whatever parties, gatherings and meetings you need, and unite all your team members globally.” Party.Space hosts fully-immersive virtual 3D spaces that are also easy to use and browser-supported, so that users don’t need any additional hardware to participate. These party spaces are customized to reflect a company’s culture and to keep workers interested with a dynamic environment to explore. Plus, gamification is also included, in the form of themed quizzes. Remote work is potentially less social, with more distractions, said Filipchuk. Because of this, companies need to step up and make the digital work experience more engaging and persistent.