If you’re working from home like me, then you are dealing with a brand new world: new distractions, distributed teams, new buying patterns and a volatile economy. So, how do we adjust (and quickly), how can we continue to perform at high levels, and, as marketers, how can we help our teammates and our companies continue to deliver value to our customers?
Fantastic questions! I’ve been more active than normal lately in my online communities; I’m on the hunt for guidance from my peers, and wisdom from the smart folks with whom I’ve come to know as a professional. Read on for some insights into how we can navigate this thing with confidence and emerge a little better than before.
A whole new set of distractions
We know the distractions in work offices, but at home…
- A game of NBA2K, OK PS4, I will play
- Yes I will fold this basket of laundry
- I need to change the baby’s diaper, because, you know, home quarantine
- I haven’t done math since I was in school and now I am expected to teach my second grader.
Why it matters
In these difficult times, the need to focus can feel crippling. Perspective is powerful and will help with all of the interruptions that can cripple an otherwise productive day. The key is to understand the importance of the role that you play. The stock market has tanked and everyone is reducing their costs. This is a terrifying time and no one knows what to do. While everything feels like it is robbing us of our humanity, email offers a voice of normalcy which, in a small way contributes to the restoration of that same humanity. So, what to do?
Smart adjustments for a different marketing reality
Let’s remember at its core, marketing is about relationships and great communication. A few ideas to consider now more than ever:
Increase marketing spend
Yep, I said it. While the knee jerk instinct might be to reduce your marketing presence, the right answer is to lean into it. Marketing is more important than ever. Email is relationship-based marketing. The subscriber opted-in to say, “I would like to interact with this brand.” There is an ongoing relationship and the voice that you have in email may be one of the few signals that cuts through noise. Additionally, it is our job to understand what customer needs are and to liaise those needs to our companies.
Email a lot, A LOT
While other channels are crippled email marketing is booming. Through our efforts we can provide the revenue life-blood to our respective organizations. It is this revenue that determines staff retention, growth, cuts, and in some cases the viability of the business. The better you are at your job, the more revenue will be generated and that is going to be central to how your company operates in both the near and far term.
Accept your role
However we got here, your role is central to the long-term viability of your company and your success will have a profound impact on headcount, budgeting, and futures. Accept that role and lean into it. This is your chance to shine! Which underlines why it is so very important to embrace the intent of this article.
Our audiences are changing by the day. More and more people are working from home. Relevance and personalization is going to change daily as well. It is our job as marketers to understand that new reality and respond accordingly.
How, you ask?
As Marketers, we have the greatest impact on the long-term success of our companies. It is our job to understand what our audience is looking for. Maybe they don’t want 25 emails about how your company is responding to Covid-19 because they are already triggered, and can’t sleep. What they really want is an escape, an email of Dachshunds doing funny things.
You are providing relief
The opportunity is still greater. For some, email will be their only connection to normalcy. Your brand has been invited into their inbox because they trust it. This message is not just targeting those that need retail therapy. Emails provide a sense of normalcy for a group of people that is desperately seeking to feel normal again.
At AudiencePoint, one of the things that we do is Send Time Optimization and we do it better than anyone in the world. Because of our unique approach to the solution, we can, in real time, identify pattern changes in regards to sending email to an individual at the most appropriate time. There are a lot of tools just like AudiencePoint that are built to help you the marketer do a better job at what you do. There are best of breed solutions that are built to specifically help you do better and what you do. LEVERAGE THOSE TOOLS!
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Once you recognize your importance of email marketing in this new world, now all of the WFH tips apply.
Schedule it out
Being home offers a whole new set of distractions, that we have never been inoculated to. Schedules are so important to this. While the baby’s diaper won’t follow a schedule when it needs to be changed, you can schedule your math lessons with your second grader when it is convenient for you. Self-discipline is going to be critical and feel free to reward yourself when you are on task (Peanut butter M&Ms work for me).
When there is a desk next door, it easy to poke a colleague and say:
Me: What is the deal with TPS reports?
David: We don’t even do those, that is from the movie Office Space.
Me: Right, Sorry.
The WFH life looks a little different. First the immediate gratification of having my question asked and answered in seconds is no longer there. Now, I have to go to Slack, find David’s name:
Me: What is the deal with the TPS reports?
David isn’t there, he is making a rootbeer float. Meanwhile, I log into Twitter and learn how to cook cake in a crock pot. Now David is back and trying to figure out what “Deal” I am talking about. He burns time researching TPS within the CRM to see if we have any deals pending with TPS. Finally, he breaks down and types back,
David: We don’t have any TPS deals right now in the CRM, can you give me more info?
How to be a better remote teammate.
- Use Statuses
Set status on Slack (AFK, 15 min break, etc )
- Over Communicate
When you need something, over communicate. Instead of saying, “What is the deal?” say, “I have been considering a new report structure, and need some help, have you been able to review the TPS reports?”
- Close feedback loops
“I got your request, I am going to look up TPS in the CRM”
- Use your webcam
Create a place in your home where you can do video calls. The goal is to reduce embarrassment and shame.There will be a situation where the kid comes into the background of your zoom call, but reducing the number of youtube-able situations will help. Remember, this is happening to all of us right now, we all understand.
Working from Home and the Corona Virus does not have to be the blow that so many of us feel. We know the value of email marketing and that has not changed. Email marketing provides a unique opportunity for brands to connect and reconnect with its customers. The revenue produced through email marketing will be the life blood to your organization and we are called to evolve and respond to that need.
You can do this! You are uniquely qualified for this moment. The work that you do right now will impact your business, our country and the world around us. You have the skills, now get out there and do it!