Every August at Snowbird, I receive 2-3 new marketing interns. I love new starts and want to lead our team in the best direction possible. I usually over-plan, so I’m taking our five-person marketing team back to the basics to build a foundation with longevity in mind.
To provide more insight into my thought process, I continually ask myself questions such as: What types of projects are they best suited for? What tasks are easier for me to keep doing rather than teach an intern? How can I give them the best opportunity to serve effectively at Snowbird? Have I given them the best tools and training? Am I challenging too much or not enough?
So, that being said, here are the first 4 tools I required our marketing interns to learn and use:
Slack – communicate, equip
Including Slack in this list is almost a cop-out, but it will likely replace several of our tools in one fell swoop. They are not simply a centralized notification app, but rather an information HQ, virtual water cooler, project organizing wizard, and team unity ninja. We use it relentlessly on the SWO marketing team, replacing all of our internal email, texts, and lost files. I use it to centralize our brainstorming, inspiration links, and provide resources to the team.
Dropbox – share files
Another no-brainer is Dropbox. While some traditional holdouts who prefer to lose files, break thumb drives, and lose their homework to the dog, most of us have embraced the cloud revolution. Dropbox wasn’t the first in the cloud, but they were one of the first to actually design a good user experience (UX). It is forever helpful for sending links to large files or photo folders via email (or in Slack). [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Don’t forget there are two ways to collaborate on files in Dropbox[/inlinetweet] (not to mention their new communication addition):
- Share folders with others on your team. But, keep in mind that you will both have editing rights. If you create a file in that folder, it gets added everywhere. If your secretary changes the font to pink, the font on your copy goes Pepto Bismal pink as well. Everyone on your team is required to own a Dropbox account.
- Create a folder or file, then share the link to download. This method slows down collaboration, but I’ve found it more helpful in most situations. For instance, you can copy a link to your business’ top 100 photos and then text, email or Slack the link to anyone you want! They just click the link and download whichever files they want. There is no authority for others to change or accidentally delete your files, and you can update the folder to change what is visible at any time. No Dropbox account is required to access the goods.
Google Drive – share information
An oldy but a goody. Google Drive has made huge strides in ease of use, and their cloud storage space is one of the cheapest, most reliable options available. At SWO, we just Drive Sheets and Docs to collaborate on check-in sheets, data tracking, and team-wide strategy outlines. Drive offers a few features that Dropbox doesn’t (or at least not effectively). First, multiple people can be editing the same document simultaneously and each editor’s name is conveniently connected to the cursor. Secondly, it’s a browser-based word processing system. You won’t run into hangups with team members who only use Word, Excel, Numbers, or Apple Pages. Google also provides shareable links with authority permissions such as “editor”, “view-only”, and “comments.”
Notebook – think
At the end of the day, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]we were born without electronic technology and sometimes a return to a pen and paper is just what we need.[/inlinetweet] I’ve ordered 12 pocket notebooks (Field Notes) to encourage our team toward continually think with pen-in-hand. Our world is fraught with over-information and our brains are suffocating under piles of knowledge that we never even access. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]I want our team to be actively listening, not passively day-dreaming.[/inlinetweet] Whether it’s a notebook or whiteboard, our team is going to spend many hours huddled together drawing outlines, design layouts, and flowcharts. Besides, we stick our heads in computers too much anyway.
So, month one of the SWO Institute curriculum is all about communication. This way we can tackle whatever comes our way with speed, effectiveness, and confidence. Whether it’s a notebook or whiteboard, our team is going to spend many hours huddled together thinking over outlines, design layouts, and flowcharts.
In short, it’s vital that we communicate well. Besides, Americans stick our heads in technology too much anyway.