How to efficiently lead a marketing team in uncertain times


The adage “the sun also rises” may be the only constant that we can depend on in these tumultuous times. Leading a marketing team is not an easy task in the best of situations. However, when things become uncertain, leaders have to consider how the group navigates the crisis. You can spend hours studying marketing and management texts and still don’t know how to deal with this type of situation.

Fortunately, 16 associates from Forbes Agency Council We are here to help. Below, they offer an idea of ​​what marketing managers should try to do to guide their teams through uncertain times in the most efficient way, without sacrificing empathy.

Photos courtesy of individual members.

1. Have a plan to address employee needs

The impact of COVID-19 has taught me to have a plan that allows flexibility for employees and clients. One method of managing needs was to move salaried employees hourly and reduce the minimum hours required for health insurance. This allows us to speed up your hours with income fluctuations while keeping all of our staff on payroll with health insurance intact. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

2. Listen, implement and never exaggerate

My advice is to listen, implement and never overreact. Try to get ahead of early detection and preparation. Observe trends within the market and the company, and establish clear guidelines and strategies to avoid confusion and minimize distress and uncertainty. Finally, communicate clearly and calmly and address each situation in a timely manner. – Lion shirdan, UPRISE Management

3. Understand your market and your team

One thing to understand when there is a crisis or uncertainty is that your team seeks leadership. As the captain of a ship that drives through the storm, the most important thing is to make sure that people know that they are on a calm ship, even if the waters are rough. That means being honest, sharing advice, and helping to get through the storm together. – Jon James, Results on

4. Remember you are all in this together

Don’t forget that a team is about the “us” collective. It is important to let them know the sacrifices we are all making and the opportunities we are working for everyone. Transparency, honesty, and the fulfillment of your promises is paramount today. Be judicious about what you promise, keep your promises effectively, and build on that trust. – Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations

5. Show your human side

Wearing your heart up your sleeve right now is not a bad thing. Your team needs to see that you are human. Employees are more likely to resonate and take the lead from a manager who shows their personal side, and taking a softer approach while keeping everyone on track is not a bad trait. Holding members accountable personally shows that you care about them and about the business. – Adrian Falk, Create publicity and public relations

6. Put empathy in the center

Empathy is at the center of navigation in uncertain times. The best we can do as leaders is to put ourselves in the place of others from an emotional point of view. When you can understand what your team is feeling, you can communicate with them transparently and authentically, maintain trust, and provide both personal and professional support. – Scott Harkey, OH partners

7. Be a leader

When everyone panics, it is time to become a strong leader. Your team needs peace of mind and motivation. Let them know you are working to secure all their jobs and motivate them with new projects and regular brainstorming sessions. Ask them for their opinion on how to bring the team online to adapt to the current world in which we live. Give him direction and gratitude, and congratulations. He has become a powerful leader! – Sophie Bowman, Brand Branding PR

8. Overcommunicate

Don’t do the radio in silence. It breeds restlessness. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Share your current budget and plan adjustments based on the change in reserves / income, and encourage team members to communicate about concerns, questions, or ideas. Everyone’s personal life has also been overturned. Encourage everyone to communicate if they won’t be available due to children’s school work, for example. – Lon Otremba, Bidtellect

9. Reset priorities and milestones

It is said that “when times are good, you must announce. When times are bad, you must announce.” During periods of distress or uncertainty, marketing leaders should take time to tackle their to-do list – update your brand strategy, update sales sheets, make website improvements to increase conversions. In this way, when times return to the norm, you will be able to attract and serve current and potential customers. Tripp Donnelly, REQ

10. Be authentic

Customers and employees are the same in that they can both feel when a marketing message is not authentic. Whether the world is falling apart or just a campaign, sharing information is critical to keeping employees engaged and productive. Don’t tell part of the truth; Tell the whole truth and don’t be afraid of being vulnerable with your team. They also need to see you human. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

11. Provide value to your audience

Focus on producing content that adds value to your followers and maintains their trust and loyalty rather than the traditional goals of acquiring new users or sales. Plan long-term initiatives during these turbulent times. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

12. Find opportunities in crisis

You need optimism to succeed in this crisis. Fortunately, it is not just an impossible dream. The most important cognitive bias you’ve never heard of is affecting your business right now. It’s called the “Habit discontinuity hypothesis“It tells us that consumers are open to changing their habits like never before. Understand the science of customer emotion behavior to win today. – Chris Goward, Widerfunnel

13. Learn to let go

There are some aspects of our jobs that are under our control and others that simply are not. It can be difficult for people, especially high-performing people, to recognize those things that they simply have no control over. It is important to identify and set aside those things that we cannot control. When your team forgets, remind them. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

14. Remember that your team is strong

I am prepared for the crisis due to the losses that I have suffered in my life. Losing my wife to cancer It was one of the events that inspired me to create Idea Grove. I also know my team and their strength based on what we have helped each other with. I know about lost loved ones. I understand your family challenges because I have also been there. Now is the time to remind us of our strength. – Scott Baradell, Idea grove

15. Don’t be an ostrich

Even if your business hasn’t been financially hit by today’s crisis, it doesn’t mean it’s “business as usual” for anyone. Most work remotely while facing a host of personal feelings and challenges, so don’t bury your head in the sand and carry on as if nothing has changed. Open conversations with personal control over how people are and validate feelings. – Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia

16. Find what calms you

Are you based on data? Find the metrics that tell you if you are succeeding and stay on top of them: manage “to” them. Are you driven by history? Create pipes for customer / customer feedback. Whatever tools you need to manage your team and your brand, create, use, and lead with them. – Dan cohen, Full court press releases