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Launching Complex Projects With a Global Team Is Hard — These 4 Tips Will Help

An illustration showing global marketing people sitting on a map working together.
Rallying dozens of teams across the world to launch global marketing initiatives has long been a challenge, but it doesn't have to be this way. [TarikVision]

Staying connected is key. Gathering in a digital HQ helps marketers adapt and reimagine the way they can scale projects.

Collaboration has been one of the most sought-after concepts of the past few years as businesses adapt to a work-from-anywhere culture. But collaboration is nothing new for marketers. In fact, most marketers thrive when working closely with cross-functional teammates. But in a world where technology, campaigns, and teams are getting more complex, driving global marketing collaboration can be challenging. 

With marketing teams spread worldwide, it’s crucial to ensure everyone is aligned to build global marketing campaigns and projects efficiently. According to our 7th Edition State of Marketing report, 78% of marketing organizations have adopted new collaboration technologies since the start of the pandemic. 

Taking fuller advantage of your communication tools can help groups collaborate across time zones. And trust us, there’s a difference. It’s not just about talking to one another, but truly working together in lockstep. 

How to collaborate on global marketing projects

Here are four ways collaboration technology can help you rethink and execute complex projects across global marketing teams.

1. Set shared goals — and communicate them with everyone

Nothing’s worse than trying to work with other teams and realizing they have a totally different agenda. (We all dread the words, “That’s not a priority for us.”) Aligning stakeholders around large initiatives may feel like herding cats, but it’s critical to work cohesively when there are a lot of moving parts, people, and locations. 

Establish a set of goals that everyone can support — whether that’s a shared content strategy or a product roadmap. More importantly, make sure they’re communicated and accessible for everyone involved. This helps global marketing teams move in the same direction while owning their work and determining what needs to be done. 

Make sure documents like project briefs and status trackers are digitally laminated and pinned to your team’s collaboration channel so there’s always a single source of truth.

In a virtual world, one way to do this is by making sure documents like project briefs and status trackers are digitally laminated and pinned to your team’s collaboration channel so there’s always a single source of truth. Have a spreadsheet everyone needs to reference on the daily? Keeping it accessible with one click keeps it easy for people to find it when they need it.

2. Unify your global marketing teams with a digital HQ

Global marketing teams are often the most diverse and creative. They bring together people with unique skill sets and thoughtful perspectives. But trying to collaborate across time zones and geographies often causes disjointed communications, misunderstandings, and slow processes. 

Unify your teams and establish a productive culture with a digital platform that acts as a “digital HQ.” This collaboration tool can help marketing teams brainstorm, provide feedback, and communicate instantly from anywhere. It’s also key for managing approvals, resolving roadblocks, and elevating existing processes. 

Salesforce used Slack as its digital HQ to bring our seventh State of Marketing report to life. With stakeholders across 37 countries, our marketing team used the platform to scale project management, streamline workflows, and launch our global report in six months. 

By planning in parallel and staying looped in, we were able to launch all regions simultaneously – acting as one global marketing team.

Slack helped us bring together internal and external partners while operating faster to coordinate our international launches of the report. We shared creative briefs with several teams at once, launched assets for each country, and jump-started the translation process. 

In previous years, we’d first launch our North American assets before passing them over to our regional teams. But by planning in parallel and staying looped in, we launched all regions simultaneously – acting as one global marketing team.

3. Communicate without disrupting the actual work

Keeping remote teams engaged and communicating is key to delivering large-sale, international assets and campaigns. But the secret is approaching communication in a way that doesn’t disrupt the actual work. Our favorite way to do this is by creating a culture where marketers can work asynchronously instead of relying on email and meetings.

Let’s go back to our State of Marketing report example. We used Slack to share communications, files, and data without interrupting each other or hosting a meeting. Slack Clips (a feature that sends recorded audio and video messages) allowed us to replace status update calls with video clips that lived in the channel. That gave everyone the latest program summary, with opportunities to comment in the thread. 

This transformed how our global marketing teams interacted with one another and enabled us to work with speed and agility. We also created several Slack communication channels to connect in real time, answer questions, and approve deliverables:

  1. The tiger team. The first channel was for a close-knit team of direct stakeholders on our research and marketing teams.
  2. The external teams. A second channel used Slack Connect (which lets you securely work with people outside of your company) to partner with external agencies.
  3. The regional teams. Our third channel was used to collaborate with international teams and share files as soon as they were ready to be activated in local markets. 

When many international teams are involved, relying on traditional processes like meetings or email can easily get out of hand. Slack made our collaboration processes more efficient since teams could see all communication threads and chime in as needed. Plus, our discussions and files were centralized in each designated channel instead of being buried in separate email chains.

If someone posed a question in a channel, several others could answer and offer opinions. The best part: if someone else had the same question, they could find it already answered in the channel. This made it very easy for everyone to keep up with the latest developments, updates, and strategies.

4.  Create activities that build team trust

Coming into the office and chatting with coworkers face-to-face is a natural way to grow relationships and build trust. But individuals scattered across different locations can’t easily have those candid discussions or off-topic conversations. It’s hard to trust and work with colleagues who feel like strangers. 

That’s why we nurture a strong virtual environment for our teams to feel comfortable connecting with each other. That might mean dedicating specific meetings to team bonding, sharing personal stories, or simply adding photos of team members to communication channels and profiles. A little bit can go a long way to energize relationships. 

Using internal messaging tools can give remote team members a warm, digital welcome and allow personalities to shine through. 

Using internal messaging tools can give remote team members a warm, digital welcome and allow personalities to shine through. Those digital marketing strategists you never knew in EMEA? They’re now empowered to bring their creativity, self-expression, and confidence to the project. 

These tools also provide opportunities for employees who require accessibility considerations or who may not always feel comfortable expressing themselves in large meetings. Collaboration technologies like Slack help bring everyone into the conversation and ensure all voices are heard. As a result, your global marketing functions will feel closer even if they’re continents apart. 

Global collaboration with a local approach

Rallying teams across the world to launch global marketing initiatives doesn’t have to be a challenge. Picture this: aligned stakeholders, informed and empowered marketing teams, and everyone up to speed. 

With effective collaboration, digital agility, and clear communication, marketers will unlock some of their global marketing team’s best work across regions. 

Get to market faster with Slack

See how a Digital HQ can help your team bring global projects to life.

Bee Strass

Bee Strass is a content marketing manager for Marketing Cloud, helping to lead content strategy and development. With a passion for storytelling, she believes content has the power to shape perception, motivate action and build loyalty. Based in Maryland, Bee spends her spare time adventuring with her husband and daughter, boating on the Severn River, and channeling her inner Martha Stewart.

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