In an increasingly global marketplace, it's vital that brands are able to work with companies across the world. The physical divide and cultural differences can make it more difficult to achieve goals but one of the biggest logistical obstacles is the time difference.
It seems obvious but working with people across multiple time zones can pose a problem when executing a marketing campaign. Whether it's overseas clients or employees that are based elsewhere, communicating effectively can be a massive challenge.
1. Localize content for maximum impact
Adapting content to reflect different markets can also be another significant boundary that marketers need to conquer. This doesn't just mean translating content into another language, but also means it should be optimized to suit any cultural differences that may affect the content and keyword searches.
You'll also want to research the best time to publish content for each different market that is included in the campaign. Social posts especially can be heavily influenced by the time in which they are sent out. Tools like Buffer can make it easy to schedule content so marketers don't need to worry about being up in the middle of the night to set a post live at an optimal time in another country.
Ads are another area where you'll need to ensure that they are optimized to each given market. This includes everything from the content and colors used to its placement on the page and could have a massive impact on your campaign's success.
2. Make face-to-face time normal
One of the most difficult parts of working with a team that is split across time zones is the absence of face-to-face contact. But in 2018, not working in the same office - or even country - doesn't mean you can't get this same interaction.
Online resources like Skype or Hangouts can help teams to feel much closer to colleagues, helping to make project-running much more smooth. It's important to have this on a regular basis, even if you don't have a specific work-driven need. Introducing team meetings or Q&A sessions is a casual way for marketing to encourage this connection.
3. Have your own work channels
Whether you choose Slack or a blogging service, having a way for your team to communicate on non-project matters can be a great way to bond colleagues working in different time zones. Discussing matters like company events, results, or even personal achievements like a birthday or other celebration, is an effective way to foster company culture when you're not working in the same office.
It's important that everyone engages with the channel and, to achieve this, you may need to put certain rules or restrictions in place to make sure people don't feel like it's wasting their time. For example, if two people are sharing so many gifs it's impossible to see anyone else's messages, it may be time to intervene.
4. Implement effective project management
Working with professionals that aren't based in the same physical location as you is becoming common in the modern workplace but this doesn't mean it's not without its challenges. This is made even more complicated when people have different working patterns or schedules outside of the typical nine-to-five.
When driving a new marketing campaign it's not unusual to have to work alongside professionals who work on a freelance or consultancy basis within your own organization. This can make it much more difficult to manage a project, especially in the ideation or deliberation stage. It's important that you're able to get the insight of everyone involved in the project, especially if they are based in one of the key target markets.
Effective project management relies on good communication but also complete transparency and collaboration from everyone involved. It's important that everyone understands why each individual is involved and values their input. Without this, it can lead to teams becoming siloed and mistakes being made. It can also cause friction between professionals as people feel isolated from the project.
This is where communication tools like Slack, Trello or Basecamp can be incredibly useful, allowing every individual to keep track of progress irrespective of what time they are logging on. Of course, it's important that every team member is engaged with the software and understands the value of updating the project in real-time. This can seem like a big time investment but in the long run it ensures that teams are able to communicate effectively and quickly, regardless of where they are based.
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