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Managing a Remote Marketing Team Asynchronously

When you lead a team remotely, there are added considerations to make, many of which are the same regardless of if you're managing a sales, operations, customer success, marketing, design team or other. You're likely familiar with what it takes to lead a team remotely, and the mistakes to avoid when managing a remote workforce. But, many remote marketing leaders, fail to acknowledge some of the most important keys to managing a remote marketing team asynchronously. Do you know what they are?

Before diving in and answering the question though, let's first raise a little debate. Some marketing leaders claim that their marketing department performs better with a synchronous vs. asynchronous working model. Would you agree - Can marketing teams work remotely successfully? 👇

Here at 'Where', we may be a bit biased, but I can say with full confidence that working asynchronously works for us, and not only because we have created a tool to support our day to day communication and collaboration. The key to our success working asynchronously lies in the way our remote marketing team runs. In this post, we'll give you an inside look into it by sharing what's been working for us.

High Performing Marketing Teams Know the Power of Async

"One of the critical differences between successful remote teams and unsuccessful remote teams is the way that they communicate, and it primarily focuses on asynchronous communication."

- Liam Martin, Co-founder at Time Doctor

The co-organizer of the Running Remote Conference is one of the top remote leaders who understands the importance and power of Async. Many of the Accomplished Peeps leaders also attribute much of their success towards the fact they lean on asynchronous collaboration and communication.

Managing Digital Teams Asynchronously

Whether you're new to your marketing role, or you're transitioning into leading a remote marketing team, there's a few things you'll need to know about managing digital teams asynchronously.

How do you manage a remote marketing team?

It's impossible to 'learn how to manage a team' just after reading a single, or even a collection of blog posts. Developing your remote leadership skills can take a lifetime. As Shauna Moran, Owner of Operate Remote shared with us in an accomplished peeps interview, "If you can develop a founder to be an emotionally intelligent, empathetic, clued-in leader, then you are going to create hundreds of thousands of happy employees all over the world." Although in this quote, Shauna was referring to founders, what she shared, applies to any leader. The real way to master managing a remote team, lies more in your mindset and attitude than the tools and processes you follow. And, when it comes to managing a remote marketing team, here are those extra considerations that should be taken into account:

  1. Building your remote marketing team with a remote-first mindset.
  2. Fostering collaboration & creating connections.
  3. Practice healthy communication & be mindful when setting boundaries

Building Remote Marketing Teams with a Remote-first Mindset

Sometimes as managers we tend to get caught up in analytics, metrics, tools, and processes when what we really need to focus on is the real key to success...our foundation. To ensure remote success, it all starts with a solid foundation. Many marketing teams are falling short because they have failed to optimize their processes and dynamics for the remote working world. Above all, the core reason they are having troubles moving forward with ease is because they are reluctant to embrace the key mindset shift that is remote first.

By embracing remote-first there's a few things you'll need to do. Firstly, keep in mind, the logistics around managing a remote marketing team are different from those in the office. Some of the things you'll need to create specific processes around are your marketing & growth strategy plans (these plans need to be flexible), WFH policy guides, etc. Apart from this, you'll need to:

  • Learn how to leverage the digital tools that will free up time spend in pointless meetings.
  • Make online collaboration and communication seamless
  • Apply an agile management approach
  • Conduct constant testing & documentation
  • Set up remote project plan management
  • Utilize a task management systems like ASANA or Monday.com to track and record your tasks.
  • Find a way that works for you to document everything! More on how we do this at 'Where' in the next section.

Foster Collaboration & Create Connections

As a role in marketing is very much driven by goals and objectives, the entire team needs to be on the same page working towards the common goals that are set. Fostering collaboration is thus, even more important for marketing teams than for other teams who's objectives aren't numbers based.

With the marketing team at 'Where' we promote collaboration in a few different ways:

  1. We use collaboration tools that allow us to stay connected, whenever or wherever. As a distributed team, our primary form of collaboration is via asynchronous means. Every week we create a marketing meeting sync discussion where we all have an opportunity to add our updates too, which we later discuss on a call. It looks a little like this...
  1. As an asynchronous team, we encourage every member of the team to be heard. Whether a content creator, social media intern, or freelance writer, everyone has a say. If you have an idea, we encourage it to be shared. We use Notion to share and hash out ideas, and dedicated discussion docs to record upcoming content pieces.
  2. Working across so many times zones doesn't allow for a lot of overlap when it comes to chit chat. The overlapping hours we do have often go towards synchronous collaboration. When it comes to keeping us connected, one of the ways we get a feel for the day to day of our marketing team members, is through their daily check-ins. Also called daily standups, apart from sharing what we accomplished yesterday, and what we plan to do today, our check-ins are a look into how the team is feeling, and what's going on in their day.

Here's a look inside 👇

By having an asynchronous pulse into the day to day of our team, each member feels more connected. This naturally results in everyone being more supportive to each other, willing to lend a helping hand, and creatively brainstorm as one.

Practice Healthy Communication & Be Mindful When Setting Boundaries

If you lead a marketing team, then you know that communication is key. The marketing teams that communicate in a healthy way and can set proper boundaries tend to be more successful in reaching their goals and objectives than the rest.

Let's break it down...

What is healthy communication in a marketing team?

#1 - Being able to share ideas and make suggestions without others pushing you down. If you've heard yourself or someone else saying something along the lines of 'That's not a good idea', and watched the after effects of how the person receiving this feedback felt, then you know, it's not the most supportive way to communicate.

#2 - Encouraging others to express their thoughts and opinions without judgement. This ties into healthy debate. Within a marketing team you'll often go back and forth to decide what's a good opportunity, the reasons for and against why it should be pursued, how you'll measure your success towards an experiment and more.

All of the above are a lot more complicated to read in the remote space, and non-verbal miscommunication can happen often, and cause unspoken problems. Taking the time to coach your team on effectively expressing will make a huge difference in the short and long term.

What kind of remote boundaries should you set?

One of the biggest challenges in working with a remote team is adapting to and understanding the boundaries of team members across time zones.

For marketing teams, who are especially governed by objectives and metrics, we tend to step over the line and work more than our allocated hours. It's crucial to tune into your team and watch out for signs of burnout or overworking. Marketing is definitely not a linear job. If you're reading this and you're in the marketing content space, there's no need to explain further. It's not linear, and one thing often leads to 10 others, so setting those boundaries and sticking to them is critical if you want to successfully manage a remote marketing team asynchronously.

Templates to Help your Team Go Remote

If you're transitioning your marketing team to work remotely, or stepping into a new marketing manager role remotely, a little helping hand is always welcome. If you're note yet convinced that Async collaboration is the way to get started, test it out for a few weeks and see how it goes. With 'Where's' meeting templates to help your marketing team flourish remotely, you'll be well on your way to blowing your personal and professional goals and objectives right out of the park!