How to Build a Collaboration Marketing Team

As you went through the process of building out your strategic marketing plan you probably encountered many who were interested and some who weren’t in discussions you had. There will be no shortage of those who want to be involved and allowing everyone on the team will just create obstacles down the road, so select your leadership carefully that will help keep those engaged, informed and managed as needed. Ask yourself; do you have the leadership you need? Someone that can work across multiple departments, be diplomatic in resolving conflict and be able to keep everyone motivated to deliver. Some of the best teams I have led have included someone from IT that can help communicate to the developers the business need; a business leader that manages the customer expectations and a stakeholder/communication manager that can help provide updates on status to the stakeholders and feed in any new requirements requests. Then having a good project manager that will hold people accountable for deliverables as well as pull meetings together to keep the teams informed and working together. This is a good start to building the foundation of your team.

Next post I’ll discuss managing those who aren’t on the team but believe you should be taking direction from them with transparent communication.

How to Build an Engagement Marketing Strategy Plan

Let’s start with outlining the strategic plan and building the team. It should be based around your objectives you have already identified and will help support the story you have been sharing. First identify some low hanging fruit that you believe you can deliver pretty quickly to show progress is being made. You will also need to create a gap analysis to determine where you have needs. Don’t be scared of the term “Gap Analysis”, no one is looking for a twenty page document just a high level outline of items that will be fundamental to building the foundation of the platform, team or improvements on customer experience.

 

Engaging your team and your peers for ideas on need and direction will accomplish a few things. First, it establishes a sense of trust with them that you value their opinion and they will appreciate the fact that they are engaged and you have asked them for ideas. Many of these ideas will likely surround your objectives you have identified and you can work to prioritize. Creating a backlog list (Excel spreadsheet) is a good way to do this with columns identifying details of each item.

 

  • Urgency of need or critical dependency
  • Level of difficulty (easy, hard, medium
  • Resources required (funding, IT, Vendor)

Then sort through the list, in this order, identifying a hand full of items that are critical, can be delivered in a reasonable time frame and currently have the resources to deliver. Keeping a good mix of easy and hard will allow you to deliver n bi-weekly sprint releases while still moving toward the larger end objective. I have ended up with lists of upwards of 300 items, which can look daunting but will help you manage incremental releases and be a strong foundation for building your plan. This will also help keep communications transparent when stakeholders ask the status of particular features and when they may be expected.

Screw it, Let’s Do it!

Congratulations, you secured your executive support, but now what? It’s time to get started and the only drawback about securing executive support is now you have to deliver. So here are a few things that Executive support provides but the rest will be up to you and the next steps you take to build our your team. Executive support will provide funding, resources and cover for obstacles you may run into but they won’t blindly offer up these things without a solid plan, leadership and vision.

This can be as easy as just asking your team and peers. “What needs to be done first?” In many cases I have found that platforms are badly neglected due to funding cuts and or lack of a plan. So, the first thing you can do to build your foundation to modernize your customer engagement platform. And no I am not talking about Facebook or Twitter as your platform for customer engagement. You need to have a forum where customers can connect directly with the engineers that are either building or supporting the product. These are highly technical individuals that you will need to recruit to help support program efforts moving forward and something I will discuss later on how to build stakeholder support and a strategy to get started.

 

Just Do it!

As a follow up and conclusion to Decembers post “How to Secure Executive Support“; The third thing you can do to establish executive support is take the resources and funding you have and begin to make incremental progress toward your objectives.

At The End of The Day, All that matters is: Can you deliver? I have run into several challenges over my career from jealous territorial co-workers, political positioning and the only advice I can provide is to persevere because at the end of the day all the matters is who can deliver.

Every time I have been asked to build out a team it is usually because there are no funds, no strategy, and resources that may not be motivated or appropriately aligned. One time I came into a position and found myself sitting across a table with two senior professionals and an overworked IT manager discussing in excruciating detail the most minor of issues for 90 minutes. I could tell from the look on their faces that they had been beaten down, had no direction and exhausted from not being able to get anywhere. At the end of that meeting I just looked at them and said. “At the end of the day. ”It doesn’t matter how big our team is, how much money we have or how important our jobs are to this company.” “The only thing anyone cares about is if you can get shit done.” If you can’t deliver then nothing else matters. Plus starting in a new role, I wanted to have fun. “And the way that I have fun is feeling a sense of accomplishment by getting shit done.”

I didn’t realize what impact that statement had on these people at the time but months later I found they had adopted the phrase “Get Shit Done” and would often repeat it back to me as if it were a proud war cry. It even go abbreviated to the point where we would just say “GSD” and get to work.

What we did next was put together some plans of items we thought were needed and then started executing against those plans to deliver. Rather than having endless debates about a column widget wasn’t formatting with a particular font we stepped back and focused our energies on upgrading the entire platform that resolved over 2000 bugs and provided additional features that were more valuable than that one widget.

Six months with $132,000 later we upgraded the community platform, fixed over 2000 bugs, implemented a totally new design with new navigation and dozens of new features. Our little team of three had done more in six months than had been done in the previous four years combined. And it was all because they believed they could. It was disruptive, it wasn’t without battles but it got attention that I hadn’t originally expected. I now had teams with budgets in the millions and dozens of resourced coming to me and asking how we got so much done with so little. I still don’t know the answer but I think it was because we were having fun. And because we were being successful at completing things it just gave us more motivation to keep going and do more.

The next year we had to continue to fight even though our little teams success had gotten the attention of the entire executive team. But we still didn’t have a budget and or any additional investment to keep up with our plans. With the help of my VP, we just keep pushing and pulled together an roadmap and investment plan that we thought would get us started. It took about 10 months of persistence but we finally got what we asked for and more.

The next year our little team of 3 with a $150K budget exploded to an international team of 10 with a $5.6M investment. I like to think we were the little engine that could. And it was all because we “Got Shit Done” and continued to do so.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. I’ll be teeing up some new posts for the new year.
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