In the HighQ blog we often talk about how law firms and finance organisations can optimise their efficiency and maximise their human network by using enterprise collaboration software like HighQ Collaborate. But in actual fact, these tools are helpful across all industries and disciplines. There are so many different ways these tools can help teams manage projects, increase innovation and deliver efficiencies across an array of use cases.
This blog post looks at how enterprise collaboration software can provide solutions specific to marketing teams. Marketing teams have a broad range of varied needs, but regardless of the structure of your marketing department, whether you’re working in a PR team, a broad marketing role or an agency, Collaborate can solve your marketing problems. Here are three ways that enterprise collaboration software can help you to run your day-to-day marketing operations and manage projects, events and campaigns.
Working with external collaborators
Often, in-house marketing teams need to work with third parties such as agencies and consultants. Marketing agencies will always need to work with clients and often other agencies and freelancers. Typically this means emails pinging drafts back and forth, losing track of current document versions and changes. Instead, set up secure sites in your collaboration platform where you can work with external parties. Add people to the site using their email address and remove them when the project has finished.
Coordinate RFPs. Draft an RFP for a new project in a dedicated project site. Everyone in the project team can review the document and project managers can sign off. Print the document directly to PDF ready to circulate to prospective vendors. Upload responses to the site and ask colleagues to review them. Project team members can feedback in the comments.
Review briefs. Invite relevant internal and agency stakeholders into a project site where all parties can collaborate on drafts, securely store and share files, and communicate using social tools. Build and store project briefs, drafts and concepts in wikis and blogs. Feedback in comments and keep track of project progress and deadlines by allocating tasks and project milestones in events.
Collaborate on projects. Avoid emailing drafts and files back and forth. Instead store and transfer large files through the project site. New versions go “on top” so there is never confusion over which is the most up-to-date version of a draft or concept. Finalise the project quickly and simply by keeping everything in one place. Communications are stored together with documents in the form of comments so nothing gets lost at the bottom of inboxes or sent boxes.
Work with cross-departmental teams. Often, marketing teams need to share documents or work with other departments. For instance, when creating collateral with sales teams or storing document templates or brand guidelines for company-wide use. Marketing teams can add relevant stakeholders from other departments to project sites and work together as part of the same team.
Develop content as a team
A major challenge for marketing teams is creating content in a collaborative working environment. Usually, several different strands of marketing plus people from other departments will be involved in creating content such as blog posts, website copy or press releases. Things can become complicated when the time comes to give feedback or merge document versions. What teams need is a space that is truly collaborative, where more than one person can edit the same draft without saving it as a new document each time and without having to email versions around for review. The drafting tools in Collaborate enable teams to work together with no complications.
Creative brainstorming. Use wikis for live note-taking during brainstorm meetings and the collaborative nature of wikis means that team members can edit and add to notes later. Or create a blank wiki and ask colleagues to fill it in with their ideas as they come up with them. Full version control and revision history means that you can see who has made additions or changes and see exactly what they have edited.
Collaborative drafting. Marketing teams can draft, edit and review both written and visual content in wikis. Team members can edit wikis directly or add feedback as comments or give approval using likes. Everyone in the team can see what has been edited and what feedback has been left, so there’s no duplicate feedback or complexed revision history.
A space for work in progress. Set up small sub-sites for teams to plan content in its early stages (whether that’s written or visual content). This way, only team members involved in the project can use this site to store their drafts and work in progress. Transfer final drafts to a broader project or department site for wider review and sign off.
Organise your content. Create a folder structure for your marketing site and project sub-sites that is intuitive for both team members and external users. You can create your folder structure in whichever way best suits the way your team works. An example would be grouping top-level folders by marketing activity, such as Advertising, Content marketing, Events and so on. This groups the information into a structure that makes sense to anyone who might use the site.
Manage entire projects in one place
Marketing projects often means bringing together disparate elements. That might be connecting internal and external teams to organise events, or getting different marketing teams to work together to run a campaign. Coordinating projects can be tricky without a centralised place where key team members can access the information they need. This makes it even more difficult for the project manager to keep track and coordinate the project. With HighQ Collaborate, marketing teams can manage entire projects within the platform, and all related material and communications surrounding the project is held together in one unified space.
Run a project from start to finish. Start by keeping an annual calendar of events, projects and campaigns in the events module. At the beginning of a project, start by storing initial planning timelines and meeting notes in wikis. Later write a to-do list with dates, assign tasks to team members and create and store relevant content in wikis and files. Finally, share project results or competitor insight gathered from an event in blogs and microblogs once the project is complete.
Work in a dedicated project space. Create dedicated sites for marketing campaigns, product teams, departments or regional teams. All members of the site and project team have access to the same information and can contribute at each stage of the project. Add extra collaborators to the site at any stage to get access if they need to.
Maintain oversight. Marketing managers can gain a peripheral view over the progress of a project by looking at the activity stream. This shows a timeline of current work along with comments that go with each activity. Tasks also help marketing managers to see where team members are at with their activities, as they can be filtered depending on their status (not started, in progress, complete).
Share successes. Use the social tools to share the successes of a project either within a team or company-wide. Share blog or microblog posts broadcasting wins like awards nominations, prominent news coverage or exceptional social media campaign results. Shout-out to team members who contributed to the success using @mentions and watch the likes and comments come flooding in.
Most marketing teams collaborate with almost all other departments in a business, as well as many external parties. This makes consistency and centralisation vital to help keep marketing activities in order and on schedule. Anything that can help marketing teams cut down on time wasted digging through emails, hunting for documents and dealing with duplicate communications is something that can help marketing teams work more productively and achieve the results you, and the business, want.