When this year started, none of us could have predicted the situation we’d be facing within just a few months. In the span of a few days, offices were shuttered, living rooms became offices, and collaboration moved from the workplace to the chat room.
Marketing teams have faced their share of challenges during this time. When every conceivable event and meeting was cancelled, Sales and other teams turned to Marketing. Email became the primary means of reaching clients and prospects, and Marketing and Marketing Ops teams quickly became inundated with requests for email campaigns.
Now we’re entering the final quarter of 2020, and teams have found new ways to work together that would never have been considered back in Q1.
Knak has adjusted to the changes just like our clients, and since everything we do is designed to make life easier for Marketers, we have a few things to share:
- What we’ve learned about collaboration over the last 6 months
- How we’re making collaboration easier for Marketing and Marketing Ops teams
What We’ve Learned About Collaboration This Year
#1. It’s OK to be tired of video calls.
When this pandemic started, we encouraged everyone to use video during meetings. Our team has always been at least partially remote, so turning the camera on during calls gives us a way to pick up on some of the non-verbal things we miss by having a remote team.
We’re still big fans of video, and we use it most of the time, but let’s face it: it can be exhausting.
Zoom fatigue is real, so our updated advice is that it’s ok to have an actual phone call or Slack conversations. If you don’t need your screen, consider conducting a meeting or two over the phone, or even meeting in real life. It’s a much-needed break from your desk (or kitchen table).
Harvard Business Review has a great article about this. Check out How to Combat Zoom Fatigue for more insight.
#2. The right technology has never been more important.
We recently conducted a major technology audit. We went through everything in our tech stack and evaluated it based on these criteria:
- Is it still meeting a need?
- Is it doing what it said it would do?
- Is it worth what we’re paying for it?
- Does it make it easier for us to do our jobs?
As we’ve said before, more technology ≠ better emails, and it doesn’t equal better collaboration either. Good collaboration, like good email creation, depends on the right platform with the right functions.
If you take a look at your tech stack, you may notice that you’re paying for duplicate functionality. A platform that allows you to get more done with just one tool is far more beneficial than using separate platforms for email building, collaboration, approvals, feedback, etc. Look for tools that make it easy to create incredible emails together whether you’re remote or co-located so you can scale up your operations to meet demand.
#2b. Being self-sufficient has also never been more important.
Part of reevaluating your technology is reevaluating your spending. Across the board, teams are working hard to save money right now, and that means they’re looking for ways to cut costs. Since the demand on Marketing and Marketing Ops teams is increasing, we’ve found that the best way to save resources is to become more self-sufficient.
Look for a tool that will allow your team, whether they’re technical builders or not, to create and collaborate on emails without the use of an external agency. Bringing email creation in-house will save money and help you keep up with the increased demand by enabling you to create and launch email campaigns faster.
#3. Inertia shouldn’t stand in the way of innovation.
For Knak, March 11 was business as usual. March 12 was an entirely different story, and I know everyone was in the same situation.
If something good came out of this, it was that inertia was disrupted. “The way we’ve always done it” was no longer relevant, and as a result, we saw a greater demand for our SaaS platform than ever before, largely because organizations needed to be able to scale up their Marketing Ops, and their existing tech platforms weren’t cutting it.
Marketers should be known for innovation. When other departments can’t get their content into the hands of their audience, they turn to Marketing. Marketers are frequently asked to do more with fewer resources, and they step up to the plate.
As “the new normal” becomes less “new,” I can’t wait to see the Knak team and our fellow Marketers at other organizations drive engagement with innovative new ways to reach customers.
#4. Good collaboration requires listening.
As an organization, we listen a lot. Everyone from our CEO and COO to our Customer Success team is in regular contact with our clients, and we take their recommendations very seriously. We find out what their pain points are, and we build our product roadmap around them.
Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve launched 35 new features, including Knak Launch, and many of those have been in response to conversations we’ve had with clients. That regular connection hasn’t changed, but the importance of listening has increased in recent months. Now that Marketing teams are being asked to handle more email campaigns, their needs are changing, and we’re updating our platform to support them.
How We’re Making Collaboration Easier
Decentralized and remote Marketing teams are becoming more common, and one thing we’ve seen is that they need to be able to collaborate efficiently.
To help, we’re adding two new features to our product roadmap this fall.
Enhanced Notifications & Tagging
Get notifications for important events in your account, and tag other users.
Use them to monitor:
- Replies to your comments
- New comments
- Who’s tagged you in a comment
- Status of your emails:
- In review
- For approval
- For changes/edits
- Who accepted your invitation to their account
Makes it easy to leave specific feedback
- Drop a pin anywhere on the email you’re reviewing
- Highlight what you’re talking about so everyone can see
- Click “resolved” when the edit is made so your team can see what’s been fixed (and what still needs some help)
Each of these will make it easier for teams to keep track of feedback, edits, and approvals so campaigns get to market faster. They’ll be live soon, so keep an eye out for their official launch dates.
Collaborating Through a Pandemic
We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for more than half a year now. Though we’ve had time to adjust, its effect has been significant, and it’s something I believe we’ll be dealing with and learning from for quite some time.
I’m proud of the Knak team for rolling with whatever punches came our way. We’ve learned new ways to collaborate internally, and we’ve continued to prioritize and improve the customer experience.
We may not ever return to the way life was before March, but I look forward to seeing our team move forward together. Their commitment to collaboration is inspiring.