Creativity is a good barometer of whether your marketing team is burned out. Lively, energized teams are more creative; burned out teams aren’t. Here are five ways to tell if your team has a problem.
1) People do not communicate cross-silo.
Large marketing teams often divide things up by channel. So, the PPC Specialist does the ads, Creative does the brochures and landing pages, and the Email Marketing Manager does … well, the emails. For creativity to flourish, though, all those people need to work together and bounce ideas off each other. Every marketer on your team is creative – but not as creative as all of them are together.
SOLUTION: Get them talking. Have a brainstorming session. Pair people up across teams to work on a project.
2) People do the same things they have always done.
This can be a sign that your team is so overworked, they do not have time to try (or even think) of anything different. Basically, they are treading water, just trying to stay afloat. Sometimes, though, this means people aren’t keeping up in their field. Maybe there is no time to take a class, maybe there is no budget for it. Whatever the reason, learning needs to be a priority for every member of your team.
SOLUTION: Review everyone’s project load. Encourage people to watch marketing webinars or follow new marketing bloggers. Reward learning by getting snacks and having people present what they learn to the rest of the team.
3) People stop presenting new ideas.
This is a dead giveaway that your marketing team is burned out, and it can indicate that creativity is not being rewarded on your team. Maybe every time they have presented a good idea, it has gotten nowhere. That can make people stop trying. Or maybe one idea failed so spectacularly that no one has dared try something new ever since.
SOLUTION: Take a good look at how people are rewarded – and not just monetarily – on your team. Do people get praised in front of their teammates for suggesting something new? Do people get raked over the coals if they try something too different? Set aside time for your team to talk about how they could shake things up and what they’d like to see the team try.
4) The marketing team is missing deadlines.
Yikes, this one is scary. Missed deadlines can lead to blown campaigns and lost clients. When the stakes are so high, it can be easy to focus on the individual, as opposed to the whole team. Oftentimes, though, missed deadlines results from a culmination of factors. One person got the changes last-minute. Another person had too many items on their to-do list. Yet another person had an outdated timeline.
SOLUTION: Review your team’s workloads and priorities. Is it feasible to get done what is being asked? If not, what are the priorities? What can be pushed back? If the situation really does come down to one individual, how can you shore them up? Can they pair up with another teammate who can help them stay on track for deadlines? Would touching base more regularly be enough to make the difference?
5) Everything is treated as a one-off.
This can stem from a number of factors: The team could be split into silos (see #1 above). They could be so busy putting out fires that they have lost sight of the big picture. Maybe broader goals were never set to begin with (it happens). Whatever the cause, the result is a weakening of your brand and messaging.
SOLUTION: Make sure you have at least one overarching marketing goal – and make sure everyone on your team knows what it is. Bring it up regularly and get people used to thinking of each campaign in terms of the broader goal. And make sure your team coordinates each campaign across multiple channels, so the branding and messaging are maximized.
When your marketing team is burned out, it’s time to try a new approach. Review how you communicate with your team and how they communicate with each other. Find new ways to inspire – and reward – creativity, and see the difference it makes on your team.