Is remote working for digital marketing managers an asset or a challenge?

Thanks to a global pandemic, working from home became the new way of life for most of us in digital industries. But with new data showing that 60% of people want to stay working at home after COVID-19, this might be the start of a remote-first future. 

Not everyone is impacted in the same ways. So, we’ve asked a few leading digital marketing managers how they’ve found working remotely and the impact it’s had on their role. 

This is what they said. 

All you need is an internet connection and a laptop 

Fundamentally, digital marketing managers only need an internet connection and a laptop to perform their role. This has made them the ‘lucky’ ones that are able to work through a global pandemic. 

That doesn’t mean it’s been an easy journey. 

Many of our digital marketing managers agreed that working at the beginning of working at home, they had plenty of distractions. However, over time they adapted and managed them, finding golden spaces of concentration. 

Adzooma’s head of Paid Media Mark Neale tells us that the quiet time is one of the biggest benefits of working at home. “I don’t know about other digital marketing managers, but when I’m building new campaigns, launching new ads or looking at data, I like to be in a quiet space. And now I have that.” 

He’s not alone. Most digital marketing managers also enjoy working at home for the quiet time it offers and the flexibility to schedule and outline their day. 

Richa Pathak of SEM Updates stated that “every person has some time when they are most productive. Being a marketer I have to be creative and I find the first half of the day as the most productive time for me when I accomplish most of the tasks.” 

Nelson Sherwin of PEO Companies discovered that he didn’t actually need to be in the office to do his role effectively. “It lends itself well to remote work” Nelson stated, “and without constant distractions, I can work more efficiently.” 

Communication takes a toll 

Christopher Prasad of JookSMS agreed, saying that “managing a team can be a struggle, especially since I am not physically in their presence to be able to monitor their progress”. 

Richa Pathak also stressed communication as a challenge of working at home, as everyone on the team will have their own schedule and take breaks according to their home environment. However, scheduling quick meetings or catchups at a regular, consistent time can help ease this challenge. 

It’s not just meetings that digital marketing managers are struggling with. 

Aalap Shah of 1o8 tells us how he “realized that I really do appreciate face-to-face communication with my employees and clients. There’s nothing like grabbing a cup of coffee to discuss a new strategy or celebrate awesome results with a team happy hour”. 

Seeing people in person is a great way to kickstart creativity, boost morale and brainstorm new ideas. Or even pick up some “yummy treats” as Sophie Logan from Adzooma rightly points out. 

Elliot Brown of OnPay also echoes this, saying that working from home “means you don’t hear little things that are going on around you. Whether it’s learning about a new feature, a new customer insight, or you hear someone on the sales team say something in a different way, being in the office helps you pick up little things that allow you to build stronger campaigns”. 

Despite struggling with certain areas of communication, there are some silver linings. Daniel Foley of Assertive Media told us that remote working has opened up the possibility of working with a variety of timezones, allowing you to “meet new people you normally would not if you only worked alongside businesses in your local area”. 

This means a greater opportunity for global collaboration and knowledge sharing, which could lead to very interesting partnerships in the coming months. It’s definitely one to watch out for. 

Set-up to succeed

Not everyone has the luxury of a home office or dual screens. 

Stacey Caprio of Accelerated Growth Marketing tells us that in an office, she would often have “a campaign pulled up on one screen and keyword research or statistics pulled up on another”. But at home with just a laptop, she has to constantly switch between tabs making her role more difficult and time-consuming. 

Women In Tech speaker Sophie Logan also encountered the same problem. “I never realised just how much having a good desk set up matters” Sophie tells us. “I started off working in a chair with my laptop on my knee, and now I have a full set up the same as I had in the office. Not only is it more comfortable, but it also allows me to work more efficiently as I have two screens and plenty of paper and pens around for notes.” 

One aspect of remote working success for digital marketing managers is the set-up at home. Without the right space to work, it may be an extra challenge to overcome. 

A return to the office or not?

Sophie Logan argues that having the option to work from home will become “an essential part of the modern workplace”. 

Listing the benefits of remote working, Sophie states that remote working isn’t just “convenient for personal responsibilities and removing the need for commuting to the office, but it gives workers some more flexibility in how they get the right work-life balance. I love being able to have a workout during my lunch and being in the house for deliveries, and I don’t get stuck in traffic jams making my way to the living room.”. 

However, that doesn’t mean that the office as we know it is gone. Adzooma’s Paid Social Manager Matt Hogan states that “you need a balance of working from home and being in the office. I certainly think that’ll be best for me. Whether that be 3 days at home and 2 in the office. That way, I’d get the best of both worlds; the quiet space I need to just crack on, and the office environment and face to face with my colleagues.”

Well said, Matt. Let’s see what the future holds. 

About the author

Danielle Strouther, Technical And Product Copywriter at Adzooma

“As Adzooma’s Technical and Product Copywriter, I’m used to writing all the nitty-gritty details about PPC and marketing. You might have seen my work on Search Engine Journal, PPC Hero, Technopedia & more. Away from a screen, you’ll find me drawing all manner of strange monsters and dancing around a pole.”