Regardless of how one may feel about the long-term malaise of the economy, the facts are that enterprises have scaled back in the costs of operating business. This has meant scaling design and development and all phases of current operations, including marketing existing products and services, and scaling back employees. And yet, in terms of marketing in particularly, the needs of maintaining that support function has not been simply eliminated.
On the other hand, some enterprises are attempting to do just that: eliminate the positions once held by marketing professionals and attempt to do the job by the people remaining. Or by the head of the business, as if that added hat of responsibility can be worn as well as the marketing team performed. That is a dangerous path for any beleaguered executive.
Enterprises are growing with the acceptance of creating virtual marketing teams; a team of people who perform the marketing tasks once filled by employees, but are contracted and, in some cases, even automated. The virtual team is not conferencing in a single room twice a week, or even daily, but they are conferencing. The team may be scattered across the globe and some team members have been replaced by the medium by which the remaining team now communicates: the Internet, social media, email and video conferencing.
How does an enterprise succeed with a physically separated marketing team? It is really a sub-set of the means by which the enterprise once operated the intact team under one roof because even then, the team members were separate individuals who resided in separate offices and conference in team meetings on a regular schedule to report on their progress with a project, take new assignments and collaborate together in separate, one-on-one communications. For a virtual marketing team, it works like this:
A team leader coordinates the various projects with a detailed Gantt chart; a project chart with timelines and schedules with a critical path sequence to which all team members contribute in real time with progress reports and from which team members take new assignments. The Gantt chart is available to all team members wherever they are located.
The team coordinates the milestones required to complete the project, determine what skills are required, assign responsibilities to each team member, discuss options and report status toward completion. All work performed by team members can be shared during team video conferences and during one-on-one sessions.
As progress is made, changes to the project and schedule can be accommodated and managed within the team because even though the individual members are not just down the hall, their inter-communication is such that this condition is not even a detracting factor. Because communications is now driven more by wireless electronic devices with capabilities to draw upon project files to open, share and discuss in real time, no one on the team can afford the excuse that they must interrupt the meeting to go back to the office to collect data. The needed data is at hand; everyone’s hands.
A virtual marketing team can operate less expensively and more efficiently than a conference room full of professionals separated from their work while in conference.