As digital marketing continues to pick up steam over the years and has now skyrocketed due to the pandemic, we wanted to gain insight into how marketing agencies have adapted. Or, were they already so focused on the digital world that it simply wasn’t much of a transition during 2020 and ongoing in 2021? Below we share some insightful responses we received when we asked marketing leaders what contributed to their continued success during difficult times when the world has seemed upside-down.
Making Culture Your Company’s Top Priority
Whether you are adopting a full return to the office, a hybrid work model, or our favorite – embracing the joys of going (or remaining) fully remote, one thing needs to remain at center stage: your company’s culture. This can really make or break the experience of being part of your team. A lack of a sense of intentional culture or worse, a toxic culture, can have top talent running for the door. Or, well, if they are remote then perhaps slamming their laptops shut. We have described in previous articles several ideas for remote team building to help give your culture a boost, but our first business leader explains how important the workspace is for those returning to the office.
“We are beginning to think about returning to the office again but also adopting a ‘hybrid model’ where teams designate their in-office days for collaborative work, and WFH days for work that requires more focus and concentration.
We understand some days might require more concentration and independent focus than others, and that everyone works in different ways. If anything, the pandemic has highlighted this. Now that we have become accustomed to remote working, it might actually be an unsettling transition for some.
Because of being international, with offices in Bedford, Cornwall and Brazil, tools like Monday, Google Suite and Whereby have long been an integral part of our workforce, so we’ve adapted gracefully to the pandemic and prolonged remote working conditions.
We won’t be ditching the office; it’s too important for the physical connections we deem essential to our business – like culture and knowledge sharing. Plus, we want to welcome clients to use our office as a getaway when thinking about their business plans and a healthy escape from the distractions of their own environment.
This being said, companies need to prioritise cultivating a company culture – now more than ever – and making office spaces places that people want to go to.” – Alan Spurgeon, Founder & Director of Hedgehog Digital
Stay Flexible with Hybrid Work Schedules
A great shift has taken place in the mindset of the typical worker, where there is a greater sense of needing a positive work/life balance. If you have a business that needs to have employees in the office, or you have a longstanding company culture where everyone thrives on working in an office environment, one way to respect and address the needs of employees is to offer hybrid work schedules.
“TALK Agency is a full-stack marketing agency that services clients around Australia and the US. Half of our workforce are based out of the HQ office in Australia, while the other half of our staff work remotely out of Brazil and the UK, meaning we’re in a unique position to have already had systems and processes in place for successful remote working since the agency’s inception.
During the height of the COVID pandemic, TALK temporarily closed the Australian office and sent our 18 employees home. As things started to regulate and cases subsided, we slowly came back into the office in a staggered model, with half returning Mondays and Tuesdays and the other Wednesdays and Thursdays. Realising that our Australian workers valued and appreciated the work/life balance afforded to them by remote work, we quickly adopted a permanent 2 days in the office and 3 days from home strategy.
As we already had the infrastructure solidly in place the transition has been seamless. The focus has now swung to maintaining and continually building a culture of remote workers, using the 2 days per week in the office to focus on team collaboration and face to face meetings.” – Cooper Jitts, CEO & Founder of TALK Agency
Dive Into Market Research
With commutes falling by the wayside, and more time spent in front of the keyboard, come opportunities to dig deeper into areas of your business that may have been overlooked or not tended to as often as you would have wished. Our next marketing leader found a goldmine when his team ramped up market research.
“The pandemic has fast-tracked online marketing due to an increase in the population using online methods for communication and finding new information. As a result, we have dedicated time tracking trends and finding new and innovative ways of delivering messages using online mediums. Furthermore, our team has paid close attention to optimum times to deliver content online, and we have jumped into the shoes of our target audience. The results are astounding if you spend time on market research, and being the first on new popular sites and areas has proven to be the key in benefiting from the surge in online activity.” – James Dyble, Managing Director of Global Sound Group
Lead By Example, Even Financially
When times get tough, simple economics will lead any business leader to look at ways to tighten up on expenses. While going remote can save some serious cash, businesses with office space still have leases to pay on, so other methods for cost-saving would be needed in the short-run. What did our next marketing leader decide would be the best area to cut? We’ll leave you with his words.
“Last March, once I saw the initial impact of COVID on humans, workers and industries, I was confident the economy would crash. While we lost a few tourism clients early on, a vast majority of our clients held strong and a few thrived. We were fortunate. To prepare for the worst, however, I took a pay cut and started conserving cash. By focusing on engaging with our clients and employees, retooling and refreshing our services, I was able to tighten up our margins, even at lower revenue levels. We ended up gaining momentum through the year as a result and I’m grateful we were in a good position with our client mix and service offering to end the year strong. I believe our best move was creating additional virtual touch-points with employees. The combination of video conferences and written communications (Email, Slack) are now 1-3x weekly instead of monthly and have had tremendous impact in terms of creating connectivity, increasing productivity and overall satisfaction.
Now that 100% of our team has been vaccinated, we’ve moved to a 3-day in-office schedule, where Monday and Wednesday are mandatory for meetings. Each employee can select one more flex day to be in the office and anyone can work from the office 5 days a week if they prefer. Roughly 33% of our team are in 5 days a week, 33% 4 days and 33% 3 days. The team demonstrated the discipline to work virtually very effectively over the past year+ and we’re happy to reward them with the flexibility ongoing.” – Kent Lewis, President & Founder of Anvil
If you’d like help from experts in managing remote workforces and streamlining processes, so you can continue to adapt and grow your business, we invite you to explore our services. We can even take on your routine tasks while saving you time and money, so shoot us your questions.