Can distributed marketing teams still get creative?

Updated: Oct 28

Of all the departments in a typical organization, Marketing is probably the one that benefits most from in-person brainstorming, interaction, and collaboration. When you picture the creative process at work, you probably envision teams coming together in front of a white board to collectively develop, share, edit and improve ideas. It’s hard to imagine recreating that collaborative environment online.

However, with so much change happening over the past few years, your marketing team probably looks quite different today with people working at home, in the office, or a combination of the two. If you were used to calling team huddles in the conference room to come up with a new campaign theme or update your company’s brand identity, you might worry that the lack of human interaction could negatively impact creativity.


The reality today is that in order to attract and keep talent, marketing leaders will need to let go of notions of what an atmosphere that fosters creativity looks like. Employees expect to be able to work where are most effective, and for many that will mean remotely at least part of the time. But that doesn’t mean that creativity has to suffer; here are a few good reasons why virtual marketing teams can succeed:


1. Many creative types are used to collaborating remotely. The mainstay roles of marketing – writing, editing, layout, graphic design, etc. – have long had remote components to them, be they freelancers, contractors, or agencies working on projects hand-in-hand with on-staff team members. This legacy bodes well for modern work environments, since many marketing professionals already have some experience either as a remote worker or as part of a hybrid team.


2. Employees who prefer working at home can actually be more productive than working in the office. In April, people who worked remotely at least some of the time reported being about 9 percent more efficient than they were working from the office; up from 5 percent in the summer of 2020. The pandemic, long-distance job opportunities, rising housing costs in urban locations and other factors have driven workers to adjust to home or coffee-house offices to the point that some now feel more productive in these remote settings. Offering the flexibility to let marketing employees work in the office, at home, or a hybrid of the two empowers team members to work where they feel most comfortable, which is likely to have a positive impact on their productivity.


3. Technology tools for remote work and collaboration are always improving. Again, because of marketing’s history of using off-site contributors, tools ranging from simple file sharing to virtual whiteboarding to managing creative projects are familiar to many teams already. And given the emphasis on remote working of late, many of these tools are gaining features to better support distributed teams, such as added security and more robust version control.


Wondering how best to support your growing remote teams? Contact us and we’ll help you develop a strategy that works for everyone.