Swelling marketing teams can’t collaborate, crippling productivity.

A new international study commissioned by email service provider Mailjet among 400 marketers in the UK and France has found 72 per cent of marketing departments have seen their budget rise in the last two years, but surprisingly finances and poor collaboration are still cited as the biggest hold-ups to day-to-day productivity.

With 82 per cent of respondents having experienced growth in the size of their department (both internally and externally) over the last two years – by more than six people in a quarter of cases – investment in collaboration tools ought to be a priority for businesses.

With 30 per cent of UK marketers and 25 per cent of French marketers identifying poor collaboration – alongside lack of budget – among the top pain-points, this suggests any additional finance in recent years has been direct investment in campaigns, rather than funding to improve productivity.

Collaboration pain point

Marketers state collaboration becomes a challenge when working with 10-11 people. Which is no surprise as today, internal marketers have at least five external points of contact on average, in addition to six internal colleagues per campaign. The same number they identify as making this a more laborious task.

“Time lost waiting for someone to finish their part of the campaign, back-and-forth exchanges, miscommunication and waiting for approval seem to be some of the most significant challenges for the marketing department when collaborating on email marketing campaigns for example, signifying a need for better control”, comments Michyl Culos, Head of Marketing Communications, Mailjet. If we consider Google Docs, we know that working in real-time is becoming the new standard and facilitating this way of working across all team projects needs to become a priority.

This has led to 37 per cent of marketers seeing projects submitted without senior approval. Just over half (51 per cent) have also experienced team members misunderstanding instructions and 43 per cent make modifications where they shouldn't have.

A continued dependence on agencies

This pain-point is magnified by the fact marketing departments are growing, and many will become even more heavily reliant on external agencies to manage multi-channel campaigns.

Alongside traditional channels (TV, print, radio) marketers are working on campaigns with external support across social media (46 per cent), digital marketing (43 per cent), events (35 per cent) and email marketing (33 per cent). This makes the need to collaborate with external team members a daily occurrence.

For example, marketers in the UK and France estimate 5 revisions are needed for each email campaign before it's sent. As a result, 44 per cent of marketers in France and 28 per cent in the UK are in contact with these external team members every day about their email marketing campaigns.

Tooling up

Over 90 per cent of businesses are investing in some tools to facilitate better teamwork and collaboration, but the size of investment reflects the fact many businesses are currently opting for lower cost or free options. Most small marketing departments (64 per cent) are only able to invest up to £1,600 per month.

Moreover, less than half (44 per cent) of respondents expressed confidence that the department is investing in the right tools. With marketers hoping to see an increase in the budget for collaboration tools of £20-50,000 per year, there is a lot of room for researching, evaluating tools to improve productivity.

Michyl Culos concludes, “Effective collaboration between internal and external teams is a ubiquitous challenge for marketing departments of all sizes. A key reason why we introduced a set of collaboration features into our own email platform is because our largest clients were simply struggling to bring productivity with the right level of control to their marketing teams and improve time-to-market for email campaigns. Marketers must rethink their marketing investment to ensure the right tools are in place to streamline teams and processes as the size of campaigns (and the number of people contributing to them) continues to grow.”