Keeping the team informed

20. 12. 2018

How to ensure that everyone in the team gets the right information that they need in order to do their job well? And what about information about the direction of the team and the business? Below, you’ll find out how we approached this in our Blueberry Marketing team.

Communicating information from the client to the project team

The general flow of information tends to be from the client to the project team. It therefore tends to be information about everything that is happening on the side of the client — the state of his/her business, how the market situation is changing, what activities he/she wants to focus on in the upcoming weeks or, for example, the actual impact of online activities on offline activities. In short, all the information that you need to share so that the agency can understand the client and its business well enough to help as much as they can. This information is most often communicated to the team through an account manager or via a specialist who is in charge of direct communication with the client. You can read about how to choose a way to establish adequate communication in my previous short article focused on different communication models between the client and the agency.

Gather your team to a regular stand-up!

Information from the client is needed on a regular basis and, if possible, is shared through regular meetings of the entire project team. The whole team should be present even if only one specific area, such as PPC campaigns, is the main topic of discussion, because of the synergy of the tools used in marketing. We call such meetings “stand-ups” (taken from the SCRUM methodology) and we organize them as needed. That said, we generally run them twice a week for new projects and once a week for projects that we have been working on for a longer period of time. The meeting should be short, fifteen minutes at most, and more complex issues and problems that are time-consuming should be addressed separately. Every member of the team gets a turn and briefly mentions what he/she did since the last meeting, what his/her plan is for the upcoming period, whether there were any problems, and whether there is information that others might want to hear. The aim of these meetings is not only to inform the team, but also to prevent possible problems and to identify opportunities.

When everyone wants to know everything — spreading information throughout the team

Thanks to the company’s quarterly satisfaction surveys, we identified a need for individual team members to be informed not only about project and client news, but also about the activities of the marketing team, other departments, and the overall direction of Blueberry.

Based on these suggestions, we created two platforms to help us keep our team up-to-date, to prevent possible problems and misunderstandings, and to allow us to have more control over ongoing activities.

One of these platforms is called Roadmap. It is a simple document listing all of our current clients, indicating their current status — i.e. whether we are in the process of a business negotiation or currently working on strategy, for example, what collaboration activities we have agreed on, and what the current ratio of used-up hours to paid hours is.

Twice a week, we get together and go through this document and through all of our clients, and, like with the stand-up mentioned above, their account manager / strategist briefly summarizes the current status, problems, and opportunities, the status of the ratio of hours used, and the KPI (link to an event?). Any bigger problems are solved outside the Roadmap meeting within each project team. This meeting should not take more than half an hour, we usually manage it within 15 minutes.

Another platform for communicating information that does not fit into any other format is the informal Marketing Breakfast, which is usually held once a month, twice a month if necessary. At this meeting, there is space primarily for information about the direction of the entire company and the marketing department, news that directly relates to the team, and general information that is addressed at the leadership level. At the same time, anyone who has anything to share with others gets the opportunity to do so.

Thanks to the above-mentioned platforms and processes, we are able to maintain not only the necessary level of information for the work of our team, but also to satisfy individual team members when it comes to being informed about the direction of the whole company and so on. Let me say that no system is perfect, it’s necessary to be able to react to exceptional situations when they arise, and we always remember to share the lessons we learned and incorporate them into the processes we have set up.

Štěpan Osoha

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