Q4 Isn’t a Marathon, It’s a Team Sport. Here’s How to Support Your Marketing Team.

Q4 is always a challenging quarter.

Not only are you trying to make your year-end numbers, but you’re also grinding out a marketing and business strategy for next year.

That said, Q4 2020 is a whole other animal.

This year forced us to hit the reset button – as businesses, as people, and as citizens.

So take a breath.

Then another.

Take a moment to acknowledge the incredible work you’ve done this year.

The hoops you and your team jumped through to get to this moment. And breathe.

Now, roll up your sleeves.

People like to say that Q4 is the last leg of a marathon. But it’s really a team sport.

As you approach Q4 and next year, your job as a marketing and business leader is to help your team end the year strong, give them a game plan for next year, and fulfill your promises to customers.

Here’s my advice for doing just that 👇

Be Realistic Around Goals & Expectations

Hopefully, you’ve worked with finance and business leaders to adjust your goals in the face of COVID. If those adjusted goals are still out of reach, prepare your team.

Let them know what is and isn’t achievable. Find the right balance of driving towards goals while also using this time to learn.

What can you do in Q4 to improve as a team for 2021? Try to end the year as close to your goals as you can – but also focus on the new learnings and plays that will help you find success in Q1.

Remember, part of Q4 is laying the groundwork for Q1. Make sure to bake future planning into your quarterly roadmap.

Align Your Team & Reignite Their Passion

Prior to the start of a quarter (a month out or earlier), the Drift marketing team gets together to align on offers and campaigns for the next quarter. Back in August, we laid the groundwork for our integrated marketing campaigns in Q4, and discussed roadmaps for Q1 2021.

Integrated marketing campaigns are a great way to get your marketers on the same page, and ensure everyone is rallying around the same goals and projects.

That said, Q4 fatigue is real.

Burnout is real.

And it is going to hit hard this year if employees were reluctant to take time off. Add on top of that a holiday season that will look drastically different than years prior, and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

For these reasons, you need to practice extreme empathy and focus on your employees’ mental health. I’ve spoken about the CMO’s role in creating a great employee experience in the past. Now that responsibility is being put to the test.

Work closely with managers to ensure they are supporting their teams and encouraging them to take time off. Celebrate employee accomplishments and wins. Plan fun virtual activities that celebrate their hard work and take a break from the daily grind.

Last week Drift’s marketing team participated in a virtual “Beer & Cheese Tasting” with City Brew Tours. Employees were sent complimentary beers and cheeses to their homes, and we all met with a beer expert for the tasting 🍻

It was such a fun way to encourage virtual participation and blow off some steam towards the end of the quarter.

Continue to Rally Your Team Around Customers

Today’s CMOs aren’t just marketing leaders – they’re revenue leaders too.

To succeed in both roles, you need to hold yourself and your team accountable for revenue across the entire customer lifecycle.

Make customer lifetime value (LTV), renewals, and expansion metrics a focus for Q4 and 2021. Focus on initiatives that will move the needle forward on these numbers. Work across revenue teams – like sales, customer success, and even product – to coordinate and accelerate customer-centric GTM strategies.

In our recent book, The Go-To-Market Playbook For Revenue Teams, Drift teamed up with Clari to share best practices for aligning and actioning revenue teams to accelerate revenue. Click here to download a copy  👇

Fulfill Your Promises

Your brand is more than just a logo.

Your brand is your actions.

It’s the promises you make and the causes you get behind.

It’s everything internal and external.

Brands that took a stand during the George Floyd protests and advocated for Black Lives Matter must fulfill the promises they made. They must put their money and actions where their mouth is when it comes to racial equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Back in early Q3, Drift hosted a webinar with other Boston-based companies to discuss how to combat racism in the technology industry. You can listen to the full recording here?

Anti-Racism in Tech webinar

But this was just the beginning.

Drift employees took additional actions this quarter to support both the Black community and promote anti-racism:

  • The Drift Board donated $100,000 to Hack.Diversity, an organization that works with Black and Latinx youth to bridge the opportunity gap in the technology industry.
  • Through personal donations and a match, our employees donated more than $40,000 to over 75 organizations that support the Black Community and diversity in STEM.
  • Drift donated an additional $25,000 to BUILD Boston and San Francisco, Building Impact, Resilient Coders, SMASH, and Tampa STEM.
  • Drift committed to amplifying Black voices on our blog and social channels. If you are interested in sharing your voice, please reach out to Gail Axelrod at gaxelrod@drift.com.
  • Drift’s People team hosted dialogues where team members could discuss the current anti-racism movement. More than 120 team members have shared resources, personal action items, and a commitment to respond to aggressions and microaggressions in the moment.

As always, there’s still work to be done. One area we’re behind on is creating a dedicated DEI page on our website. This is currently baked into our roadmap for Q4, and we look forward to sharing it with our community soon.

Now and in the future, Drift will work to create a culture of anti-racism both inside Drift and in our larger communities – one that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and transparency.

Final Thoughts

Q4 is all about coming together as a team to end the year strong and plan for what’s next.

To end, here’s a recap of how to prep for Q4 and the challenges that lie ahead:

  • Be realistic, but push for high standards. Don’t let your team break their backs working towards unachievable goals. Adjust expectations if necessary, but continue pushing for high standards.
  • Realign and reignite your team’s passion. Use integrated marketing campaigns or other planning methods to align and focus marketers prior to next quarter. Talk about what can be improved in Q1 2021. Then, ensure managers check in on employees and encourage time off. End the quarter with events that celebrate individual and team wins.
  • Rally around your customers. Get revenue teams, including marketing, on the same page by rallying around customers and metrics like renewals, LTV, and expansions.
  • Fulfill your brand promises. If your brand supported a social cause, make sure to communicate what actions you’ve taken towards progress, and what other actions you plan to take in the future.

Some of this content is taken from my Path to CMO 3.0 newsletter – a monthly email that looks at the customer-centric, data-driven, and barrier-breaking marketing trends that drive today’s CMOs and business leaders. Subscribe now by clicking below 👇