A few decades ago, having colleagues across the globe seemed like a scene straight out of The Jetsons. It’s nothing new for high-powered executives, but for the rest of us, working remotely was unheard of. People typically worked in offices near their homes or moved closer to work.
Perks of being in a remote marketing team
Today, location-independent jobs are common, especially in marketing, and the events of the past couple of years have only accelerated remote work’s growth. Besides empowering employees to own their schedule, here are some perks of working in a remote team.
Reduced overhead for the marketing unit
Business owners are always looking for ways they can cut down on expenses. When you hire remotely, you save on overhead—you don’t need to pay for office space, equipment, access to the Internet, supplies, and the various other things needed in a physical office. On average, B2B companies spend between 2 to 5% of their revenue on marketing. With a distributed marketing team, you can reinvest most of that amount into the company.
Reduced overhead also means more resources for digital campaigns. Our marketing team, with members in 4 countries, invests significantly in marketing software and PPC campaigns. We are able to leverage technology and digital marketing in helping us reach our goals, something we might have to scrimp on if we worked in one location.
Business owners also save on overhead costs when they hire a virtual assistant. VAs have a range of skills; think of your VA as a teammate to whom you can offload tasks.
Global perspective – good for generating ideas
Besides saving money for the company, remote work is also good for coming up with novel and fresh ideas for your campaigns. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds and cultures is great for creativity. Your teammates could come up with associations you wouldn’t have considered, or make connections where you wouldn’t see any.
Teams with diverse backgrounds are also better at catching gaffes in copy or style. It’s because what’s offensive or controversial in one culture might mean nothing in another, and the more diverse your team’s experiences, the better it’ll be at ensuring your copy has universal appeal.
For example, a while back, I was helping write copy for one of our services. I proposed for the new service a name that seemed innocuous—Wing Social Assistant, or Wing SA. I’m glad I ran it past my manager, who suggested I change it since ‘SA’ is also the abbreviation for the name of a Nazi paramilitary group. Back in secondary school, we only learned of the broader aspects of World War II and that dark period in history, and I didn’t know about ‘SA’ meaning what it did for other cultures. Our manager’s input was very helpful.
Managers can leverage time zone differences
Besides gaining access to multiple perspectives, remote teams can also take advantage of multiple time zones. “The sun never sets on our company” is becoming a catchphrase in SaaS – many software companies and digital marketing teams have realized how handy it is to have teammates working at different hours of the day.
Time zone differences work well in agile teams. It is because it’s easier to improve on your projects and keep iterating when you have people with different but overlapping hours. If everyone on your team works the same hours every day, work stops at some point. You’ll be more productive if you have people working early in the morning, ones with a regular 9-5 schedule, and others who work late into the night.
Keep in mind that making time zone differences work to your favor requires a bit of planning and advance work, especially at the start. Once you get the system running, though, it’ll be worth it.
Team members are more productive
Countless studies have shown how people work much better at home than the office. Remote workers are apparently 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts, take fewer sick days, and have overall higher amounts of work satisfaction.
For marketers, it might seem counterintuitive to work remotely. After all, the stereotype is that we’re chatterboxes who love hanging out in the office lounge or meeting for after-work drinks. While I personally welcome both of those activities, I’m an introvert at heart.
Since I’m a quiet person, I come up with my best ideas when I’m alone. As such, remote work has been a blessing for someone like me, a creative in the SaaS space. It lets me refine my ideas and presentations in silence.
Granted, I can’t work alone 100% of the time—I still have to run my ideas past my teammates. Still, getting those thoughts down on paper or the screen is much easier if I’m sitting in a quiet room than a bustling office.
Drawbacks of being in a remote marketing team
Still, things aren’t all roses. Just as in any workplace, there are challenges to being in a remote company. If you’re going 100% remote, here are some hurdles you would need to get past.
Cultural differences in communication
On the one hand, having a diverse marketing team means accessing a range of perspectives during brainstorming. On the other hand, cultural differences could affect team dynamics. What is normal in one region might be weird elsewhere.
For instance, asking someone if they’ve eaten is a polite greeting in Filipino culture. However, it’s uncommon in Western countries. Instead, people ask, “how are you doing,” something I had to get used to at first!
Context is very important to creatives. As a marketing professional I must know how to communicate on multiple levels, and with people from different backgrounds. While cultural differences are not a bad thing, they could lead to misunderstandings. So, remote workers must be mindful of how their words come across to people from other cultures.
Technical issues disrupt work occasionally
Remote workers are keenly aware of the impact of technical issues on their productivity. It just takes one busted server in a key area to delay your ad campaign by a couple of days. This is especially true if you’re a remote team. However, just because technical hiccups are a fact of life, it doesn’t mean we just need to tolerate them.
To avoid this stumbling block, remote marketing teams must have backup plans for blackouts or internet difficulties. Individual workers should also strive to stay online even when their main connection goes down. For example, having power banks, backup internet connections, or a spare laptop will help you power through days when your usual gear just won’t work.
Remote workers might feel bouts of loneliness
Finally, one of the most significant contributors to remote workers’ stress is loneliness. Although having flexible hours and controlling where you work is empowering, working without face-to-face interactions for long periods of time could get to anyone, even those who are used to solitude (like me).
Remote workers often cite feeling disconnected from their company as a major reason for them to want to leave. There’s no one way of remedying this—but it’s a good start to be more proactive about engaging with remote teammates.
Just a few minutes of interactions on things that don’t have to do with work can go a long way. Also, it’s good to make time for hobbies and friends outside of work. I’m a firm believer that we are at our best—produce our best ideas, are at our most productive—when we have diverse activities on our schedule.
Most forward-looking businesses acknowledge that remote work is here to stay. However, building a remote team takes dedication and lots of forethought. Still, if you’d like the opportunity to enrich your marketing messages, access top talent at local cost, and save on overhead costs while growing your business, you can’t beat having a remote marketing team.
Article Author Bio
Aya De La Cruz is a copywriter at Wing Assistant, a managed platform and service connecting executives and businesses with vetted, trained talent. When she’s not wrangling content briefs, editing article drafts and handling on-page SEO, she is crafting messages for Wing’s other communication materials. Aya writes about SaaS startups, marketing for startups, and search engine optimization.