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How COVID-19 Transformed Marketing Departments

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in all non-essential service organizations requiring their employees to operate on a WFH (work from home) basis. Large corporations had a challenge to swiftly transform as they have mostly operated with employees at their corporate locations. With an influx of remote workers, some corporations even had to set up morning and afternoon sessions, so their VPN could handle the excess load.

Up until now, marketing departments within large enterprises have worked as a close-knit group ensuring their strategy, plan, and execution are aligned. This pandemic, however, required a massive operational transformation as every remote team member had to virtually share information with other stakeholders and ensure clear communication and automation existed within the planning and execution of marketing activities. Workflows and meeting cadences had to be altered to ensure a smooth process and accommodate a new way of working with an entire team that is working from home.

Tools such as a centralized marketing calendar and virtual meeting software have aided these decentralized stakeholders with easily planning, sharing, and communicating changes to their plans across the entire organization. Workflows set up in the marketing calendar automatically route initiatives to different stakeholders. Simultaneously, changes and modifications to the plan are automatically communicated to stakeholders that need to be informed. Also, privileges for managing and viewing information based on the workflow are set up to ensure only the required participants can manage the information or view the marketing plan (refer to case study). Similar to daily scrum meetings for a software engineering team, marketing teams implement frequent smaller team meetings to ensure the planning and execution of activities are aligned. At the same time, tools such as Slack or JIRA are used to collaborate on task activities to ensure they’re delivering against the plan.

The tools, workflows, and virtual collaboration have allowed teams to smoothly transition and adapt as a decentralized workgroup ensuring operations are not impacted. For these reasons, several large corporations going forward will be considering options of having marketing teams work remotely from home in a decentralized structure only periodically requiring some members to physically meet for certain strategy & planning discussions. There will be several benefits attained by these marketing teams:

  1. Corporations incur fewer expenses for office space.  
  2. Increased productivity for team members as they can avoid traveling.
  3. Cost savings for employees as they don’t need to travel to the office.
  4. Tax benefits for employees as they can deduct costs for their home office.

The technologies and infrastructure available in the market easily allow companies to have their employees operate from home. However, there is still reluctance as management believes employees are most productive in offices with their leadership by their side. COVID-19 will now demonstrate these beliefs are inaccurate as they experience the increased productivity of their teams during this pandemic and the operational simplicity. As more companies start embracing this work model, there will be further advancements in technology to assist teams allowing them to be more proactive with planning and execution of activities.

AI & machine learning algorithms that assist marketing teams improve planning, precise targeting and automate execution will emerge as platforms to improve WFH marketing teams with their responsibilities while they focus on defining the strategy, plan and the creative aspects. COVID-19 has accelerated necessity for automation, targeting and marketing teams will become highly efficient yielding a higher ROI.

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