Communication Issues: Leading Cause for Interdepartmental Conflict among Marketers

November 5, 20158:35 am1933 views

What is hindering marketers’ productivity and communication? According to this new study from Workfront, antiquated tools and lack of structure are forcing marketers to put in more hours and increasing confusion and misperception in the workplace:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 marketers (89%) log in to work/work email outside of standard business hours during a typical work week.
  • 85% log in on weekends to keep up or catch up with work.
  • For 2 in 5 marketers, lack of communication/miscommunication is the most common source of inter-departmental conflict.

A survey released by Workfront, the leading provider of cloud-based Enterprise Work Management solutions, and conducted by Harris Poll, found that 85% of marketers rate themselves as among the most productive in their office. They rate themselves far above their direct reports (67%), their managers (64%), their co-workers (59%) or company leadership (56%) with regard to productivity.

The study also finds increasing interdepartmental conflicts at workplace, as marketers are plagued with misperceptions about productivity, and plenty of work logged after hours.

For marketers, “wasteful” meetings and excessive emails tower over all barriers to getting work done. Take a look at how much of marketers’ time is left for their primary job duties and it becomes clear how large of an impact these barriers have. Is it possible that marketers are so preoccupied with inefficient practices that they are unable to get to their real work done.

Non-Standard Hours the New Standard

The typical nine-to-five, 40-hour work week, it seems, is no longer sufficient for marketers. To get ahead of work, get all of their work done, work with teams in other time zones, or just meet company expectations, marketers are turning to logging in outside of standard hours in high numbers.

In this struggle for more hours, the lunch hour is no longer an hour for most and marketers are not above delaying a restroom break for the sake of productivity.

Additionally, the survey also unveiled some of the interpersonal dynamics of working on a marketing team, with some clear points of conflict. Nearly all marketers (98%) indicate they experience conflict with other departments/groups/teams.

Lack of communication/miscommunication (40%) and conflicting priorities (24%) are the two biggest reasons for cross-team conflict. Lost productivity is the biggest casualty of cross-team conflict (40%), followed by lost confidence in other teams (23%) and missed deadlines (17%).

“Marketers work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders on any given campaign, so when there isn’t communication on, or visibility into, the work being done on a project, the results can be catastrophic and deadlines can easily be missed,” said Joe Staples, chief marketing officer at Workfront.

See: Does Your HR Communication Mechanism Meet Employees’ Needs?

“By implementing work management tools, marketers have a single solution that allows effective management of the lifecycle of a project, complete visibility into the work being done, and elimination of communication barriers. More importantly it allows for teams to align with company priorities so that everyone is working on the right work at the right time so that deadlines are not missed.”

Some other interesting findings from the 2015 Marketing State of Work Report include:

  • I don’t have time to actually work— Marketers spend less time than other departments performing their primary job duties (36% vs. 46%).
  • Unnecessary distractions — 93% of marketers say one or more factors get in the way of doing work. The top offenders are “wasteful” meetings (64%) and excessive emails (61%). Other workers rated these at 57%, and 39% respectively. Additionally, marketers are far more likely than other office workers to cite excessive emails (61% vs. 39%) and excessive oversight (48% vs. 34%) as getting in the way of work.
  • When does the week end? — 89% of marketers log into work/work email during the weekday and do so more frequently on the weekends compared to other office workers (85% vs. 71%). More than half log in every day during the workweek (56% and 52%, respectively). Marketers are more likely than other office workers to log in every weekend (52% vs. 38%).
  • Always on the clock— The survey shows that those marketers who log into work/work email outside standard business hours do so primarily to get ahead of their work (52%) or because they feel they have too much work to do (37%). Nearly a third of marketers (32%) feel that it was expected at their company.

According to the results, marketers are more likely than other office workers to cite working with global employees/employees in other time zones as a reason for working outside of standard business hours (33% vs. 16%).

While some of the survey results are discouraging, not all is bad in the world of marketing as these workers are feeling the love; 91% of marketers state they feel at least one person at work “has my back.” Marketers feel that their boss listens to them (88%) and they feel empowered at work (75%). Marketers also feel their work is visible throughout their organization (87%).

Marketers feel that technology helps to improve productivity. More than 9 in 10 marketers who use email (91%) and access work information from anywhere (92%) say it has a positive impact on productivity, as do 8 in 10 or more of those who use mobile devices (88%) or project management software (80%) for work.

The survey was conducted online in July 2015 among employed adults who work at a company with 500 or more employees and work on a computer and collaborate with other people (“office workers”) and including 207 employees who work in a marketing department (“marketers”).

Also read: Challenges to Crisis Communication in HR: Are You Prepared?

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