Team Management

Keeping Marketing Teams Motivated Under Heavy Workloads

You’re facing a campaign deadline, publishing a new website, or launching a new product. In yesterday’s Advisor, we discussed preventing burnout on your marketing team in a 24/7 world. In today’s piece, we’re taking a deeper dive into keeping teams motivated under tight deadlines and production schedules.

Whatever the project du jour, your marketing team is facing a heavy workload. That translates into days jam-packed with meetings, deliverables, and long hours in the office. A heavy workload can quickly take its toll. Here is a closer look at four tactics to keep your marketing team motivated, engaged, and producing during your busiest seasons.

Showcase the Purpose

Why are you working so hard? One of the key things that can keep your team aligned and producing is to ensure they understand why they are working so hard. This begins with outlining the purpose. How will this work contribute to the bigger vision? Will launching a new product drive up revenues for the company or help your customers in a significant way? Most importantly, be clear about the marketing department’s role in making the vision a reality. When your team is feeling fatigued, it is easier for them to keep working hard when they understand why their contribution matters.

Outline Roles and Responsibilities

A heavy workload is more manageable when you understand exactly what is—and what is not—your individual responsibility. During an age that values collaboration, this kind of accountability and segmentation can feel forced. However, in an environment with multiple moving variables like marketing, it is important to be clear about which individuals own which tasks. Individual contributors can create and attack lengthy to-do lists with the confidence that once they’re done, they will have accomplished their mandate. As a manager, providing clear roles and responsibilities helps you focus on keeping momentum going across the team.

Build in Breathers

Recently, I was part of a project for rebuilding and launching an enterprise website in a week. The team worked around the clock, logging copyedits at 2 a.m. and expecting edits at the daily scrum just hours later. When I explored what was driving the relentless timelines, it turned out to be an arbitrary deadline. Management simply wanted it done, but it wasn’t tied out to a larger need, such as a full rebrand or a big outside event. Instead, the project would have been better served with buffers that allowed the team to end their days at a reasonable time and take the time to reflect on their work. When possible, build breathing space into your project schedule—both to keep your team motivated and to ensure that any delays are not disastrous. If the timeline of a single project doesn’t allow that flexibility, build a master schedule that allows the marketing team to catch its breath between aggressively timed projects.

Engage with Individual Employees

As a marketing manager, one of your greatest weapons for keeping people motivated is to engage with them. Take the time to check in regularly with employees under a heavy workload. How are they doing? Is there some type of support that would make their jobs easier? Are they facing any roadblocks you can help them address, whether it’s getting access to specific resources or simply thinking through a problem? At a personal level, recognize your team for their efforts, achievements, and contributions. Employees who feel appreciated and recognized are going to keep contributing at a high level.

Heavy workloads place a tremendous demand on your staff. However, in today’s busy campaign-driven world, they’re often unavoidable. Take the steps necessary to connect with your staff, put their work in a bigger context, give them breathing room where possible, and be clear about responsibilities. They’re more likely to continue to remain motivated, productive, and happy while making significant contributions to your organization.