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14 Activities to Keep Your Team Motivated When They’re Stuck in a Rut

Erica Johnson

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High morale can ensure your team stays motivated and engaged through the “daily grind.” From hosting virtual happy hours to organizing an escape room outing, the effects of team-building activities can strengthen the bonds between teammates and create unexpected benefits within the workplace. This more collaborative work culture can lead to a more diverse set of solutions leaders might not have anticipated.

Below, 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their top-recommended team activities for keeping everyone motivated. Follow their suggestions to take a more proactive approach to company-wide team building, even when people feel stuck in a day-to-day rut. 

Q. What’s one exercise or activity that keeps your team motivated even when stuck in a day-to-day rut? Why do you think it’s effective?

1. Decision-Making

I like to involve my team in the decision-making process whenever I can. If that’s not an option, I let them know that I’m open to hearing their ideas and input. Encouraging self-initiative and letting your employee take on a project and run with it always motivates them to work harder. It’s all about making them feel more involved. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

2. Daily Standups

These force everyone on the team to have an impact. Sharing your previous day’s deliverable, your plans for the current day, and your blockers put you in the position of having to think critically about how you’re delivering impact and value for the organization. Not to mention, it allows employees to transparently communicate to their teammates. It’s simple but very effective. – Tyler Quiel, Giggster

3. Celebrating Wins

This is important for many reasons, but one is that it helps the team have an accurate assessment of their progress. Of course, this is only possible if you celebrate big and small wins. Completing a project and celebrating it can be a big motivator. It helps your team look above the day-to-day grind to the bigger, more exciting goals ahead. Celebrating wins helps make losing uncomfortable. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Breakout Rooms

With Zoom, I saw the most employee engagement when we started using breakout rooms. We had incredible feedback that our staff really enjoyed the small breakout rooms of four to six employees for 10 minutes each. They used questions that I had come up with and played a fun game to determine who the moderator would be. This was free but created a lot of team engagement and motivation. – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc

5. Unstructured Team-Based Activities

Fun and engaging team-based activities or unstructured conversations help break up the day and make people look forward to interacting with their team members. Friendly banter, contests, themes, and even online multiplayer games are all very effective! – Boris Rozman, Career Matching Platform

6. Doing Nothing

A “Do Nothing Day” sounds counterintuitive, but it can work. Let your team know that on a certain workday, they’ll be doing nothing. They can bring video games or they can just sit around and talk about whatever. The day is totally up to them. This activity will help get them out of any rut they may currently be in because it’s a creative respite from their typical day-to-day work. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Games and Simulations

We have random games and simulations once in a while to have better camaraderie and gain extra confidence with our tasks. We see to it that the games are fun and definitely helpful to earn trust with one another. This also allows the team members to have better synergy and gauge how much they know about their roles. Games are definitely a must-have activity for everyone. – Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Team Retreats

I’m a huge proponent of twice-yearly team retreats to break up the monotony of the work schedule. We always get out of our comfort zone and do something physical as a team, from ax throwing and pool to old-fashioned arcade games and roller skating. Inserting joy and energy into the workplace is easy when we are all on the same level learning together, and it makes for great laughs and memories. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

9. Working Lunches

To motivate your employees, you can set up out-of-office work lunches. Sometimes all you need to refresh your mind is a change of environment. Staying in the same office day in and day out can easily reduce your team’s motivation, so encouraging a change of pace can help them feel rejuvenated and get out of a rut. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

10. Education and Training

One way to mix things up and still maintain productivity is to provide your team with educational material and training. Learning new things can create a pleasant change in one’s mind. Plus, it ends up benefiting everyone since your team members learn new things that they can apply to their work and help the company grow. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

11. Time Off

The best way to keep your team motivated is to allow for flexible time off. There will be times when people on your team just need to take a few days to rest and recharge. Employees who are allowed to do this without feeling like they are falling behind tend to perform better than those with limited PTO windows. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

12. Interest-Based Learning

I like to encourage our team to take online courses that interest them. One of the benefits of our company is that we have a library of courses that we’ve paid for and categorized for our team. I believe that giving our employees this option means they have the tools they need to learn and thrive, which can help keep them from feeling like they are in a repetitive rut. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

13. Changing Teams

I like to cross-train our team and let people switch positions when they need to mix up their workday. I’ve found that this strategy keeps everyone sharp, productive, and happy. Doing the same thing every single day can get repetitive. This little refresher is just the thing to bring back the spark in your team. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

14. Exercise

Whether you get up every hour and do a quick walk around your office or house or you take a longer walk during your lunch break, walking is essential to staying motivated and healthy. When you’re stuck working indoors all day, getting some sunshine and vitamin D by stepping outside for a brisk walk can make you happier and more productive. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

Published November 14th, 2021

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‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

Courtney Shields

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‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

UK marketing leaders are gearing up for a ‘bullish’ 2024, with more than 70% planning to boost digital budgets this year, new data shows.  

Following four years of economic flatlining and commercial pressures for many of the UK’s top marketers, 2024 is expected to see a resurgence in industry optimism, with increased investment being directed in key growth areas including AI, websites, SEO, broadcast and podcasts, as well as email and content marketing.  

The data from more than 500 UK marketing leaders, commissioned by search-driven content agency No Brainer, is available to in-house and agency marketers now. The first report is called the 2024 eCommerce Trends Report

In addition to No Brainer’s findings, a recent Statista report indicates the eCommerce market is set to reach a projected £100b ($124b) in the UK for the first time in 2024, and eComm marketers are poised to make 2024 the year they seize a greater share of consumer spending.  

The report by No Brainer also reveals significant spending growth in key areas of marketing, with many marketing decision markers saying they intend to invest over 60% more than they did in 2023 in the following areas: 

  1. AI: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  2. Website: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  3. SEO: 62% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  4. TV, Radio & Podcasts: 59% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  5. Email Marketing: 58% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  6. Content Marketing: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  7. Digital PR: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  8. Influencer Marketing: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  9. Organic social: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  10. Paid search: 55% to increase spend by as much as 60% 

Some of the highest budget increases came from marketers working in sectors including Education with 69% increasing by up to 60%, Finance with 64% increasing by up to 60%, and Retail with 56% increasing by over 40%. Only 14% of marketing decision makers said they’ll be dialling back on budgets in 2024. 

Gary Jenkins, Director at No Brainer, said: “Four years of rising costs, inflationary pressures, and squeezed budgets has made life tough for UK marketing leaders tasked with delivering growth, but we’re expecting to see that turn around in 2024 with many taking a more bullish approach in terms of spending power. 

“This is great to see, and not just because we play in this space, but because if businesses of all sizes are serious about recovery and growth, then investing strategically in the right areas of marketing is crucial. Sadly, in challenging times, these are the things that can often be the first cut.  

“When every penny matters, like it has in recent years, then there’s a laser focus on marketing leaders proving the value of every pound they spend, and quite rightly. It’s got everyone challenging the ROI of their spending across every marketing sector, and the same rule should apply with these increased budgets.  

“It’s about putting them to best use. A solid, strategically planned marketing strategy can unlock new audiences, drive more revenue from existing ones, and drive more brand loyalty and advocacy, so it’s still a case of spending smart, even if spending more.” 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

Tags: budget, Content Marketing, seo, spending, websites

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Why social listening platforms can’t listen – and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

Courtney Shields

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Why social listening platforms can't listen - and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

The market opportunity for brands who get influencer marketing right is huge.

According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy is worth around $250 billion (£205.4bn) today. By 2027, it could hit $480bn (£394.5bn), in line with predicted growth for global digital advertising spend. In line with this trend is an increasing preference for brands to use nano- and micro-influencers in their campaigns. The State of Influencer Marketing 2023 Report puts this at 39% and 30% respectively. With the rise of trends such as FinTok and others front and centre, no longer is there a subject which cannot be touched by an influencer; someone passionate, authentic and knowledgeable enough to earn consumer trust.

Getting the right influencers, in terms of what they say, how they say it and how many people they say it to, is therefore vital. Indeed, an entire martech sector has mushroomed in the form of social listening. Yet Nicholas Greig, chief revenue officer at SocialVoice, has a problem with the term.

“Social listening platforms can’t listen,” explains Greig. “All they can do is scan the metadata.”

While social listening tools can look at hashtags and comments, crunch engagement rates, and look at the sentiment of the written word, SocialVoice believes there is no tool currently on the market which can get ‘inside’ a video and analyse the voice. Until now.

The aim of SocialVoice is to enable analysis of an influencer’s past activity, through every frame of every video on every platform. Tone of voice can be analysed, beyond the written word, to assuage fears around brand safety as well as brand fit. This can go from the usual sentiment analysis to understanding personal versus corporate tone, to extrovert versus introvert, to liberal versus conservative. “Because we’re moving to nano- and micro-influencers, we’re not bringing them in for shoots anymore, so we’re relying on the quality of their recording,” explains Greig.

From a technology standpoint, it will not be a surprise that AI is at the heart of the solution, with three primary facets; deep analysis using machine learning tools, statistical approaches to identify pattern correlation across time-based events, and processing at speed. Almost two thirds of those polled in the State of Influencer Marketing report (63%) plan to use AI in executing their influencer campaigns, with two thirds of those brands using it for influencer identification.

What this looks like in terms of product is the Influencer Integrity Report, the first go-to-market effort from SocialVoice. The analysis of time-based events and processing at speed is combined so brand managers can input the influencer link and then get a report soon afterwards backed up by industry standards – toxic and profane content is based on GARM (Global Alliance for Responsible Media) metrics – and headlined by an overall trust score (left).

In the example MarketingTech saw, regarding a well-known influencer in the skincare industry, a specific brand appeared 273 times based on hashtag and written word analysis. For video scripts, the brand appeared 3648 times (right). Tone of voice noted variance between neutral and joyful.

Greig believes this will solve a fundamental industry problem. “We realised that there were some very big problems in the world of influencer marketing that, despite its growth, were affecting uptake from industry sectors such as banking, or from industry sectors where compliance and conservatism was more prevalent,” says Greig.

“These problems come around the fact that not a single influencer discovery platform in the world can be trusted to do proper vetting, or background checking, of the influencer,” adds Greig. “Checking influencers takes hours, and they can’t go back and check everything that an influencer has ever said – so they cut corners, they look at a random sample of videos, and then they go into a campaign [with a] lack of trust in whether the influencer has any hidden surprises in their background.”

While it remains early days, Greig notes that the trust score is the key element for customers on board thus far. The company has trademarked the term ‘trust my voice’ in anticipation not just of this, but for future cases beyond the brand and agency side. “One of the ways where we see this going forward is that influencers themselves on their profile will have a ‘trust my voice’ link,” offers Greig. “They’ll have that from a software as a service perspective.”

SocialVoice is exhibiting at the upcoming DMWF Europe event, on 21-22 November in Amsterdam, with something a little more enticing than usual. Those who visit the stand will have the ability to have one free check of an influencer of their choice – so the company has a strong bet on their value proposition.

“I think it will shock people as to just how limited the information is they have to make right decisions, and just how open they are to problems,” says Greig.

“We are still very much in a concept [phase],” he adds. “It’s going to be very difficult for anyone to compete against us. It’s not just the AI ability, it’s the scale of what it is that we’re doing; it’s the ability to do it at speed and do thousands of influencers at the same time.”

Insert picture credit: SocialVoice

Photo by Daniel Gaffey on Unsplash

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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Clevertouch creates European consultancy and empowers marketers with AI marketing automation

Courtney Shields

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Clevertouch Marketing, a marketing technology consulting and service provider, has formed a new strategic team to drive customer conversion from martech across its European client base.

This, in conjunction with new AI product development in its proprietary Momentum software, will bring productivity in martech to the forefront, at a time when marketers need it most acutely.

As Clevertouch Marketing changes its overall name to Clevertouch Consulting, the company has created a senior team focused on client revenue generation, customer insights and conversion metrics. The team is also investing in the development of new powerful AI marketing tools.

The development of ContentAI, a feature within Clevertouch Consulting’s Momentum software, ensures artificial intelligence is driving maximum productivity within Clevertouch customer marketing teams. It allows the rewrite of email and landing page content, greatly improving the capabilities of marketers and reducing the time it takes to launch assets. ContentAI is backed by a unique persona toolset that allows marketers to ensure generated content fits the tone and personality of the teams and the business. Momentum is used by leading brands such as Fujitsu, Atos and British Land.

To support this, Clevertouch Consulting has strengthened its leadership with a mix of promotions and hires. Elaine Webley has been appointed as COO and CMO to lead operations and marketing strategy, having previously served as Managing Director and Client Services Director. Stuart West, previously Vice President International of BrightTALK, will hold the Chief Revenue Officer position and lead the team across its services and SaaS products. Jamie Burrell, responsible for the company’s consulting services, will take the position of Chief Strategy Officer, and CEO and founder, Adam Sharp, will provide ongoing leadership and market insights. Lucy Larner also joins Clevertouch as Chief Financial Officer after fifteen years in various SMB finance roles.

Adam Sharp, CEO at Clevertouch Consulting, said: “Economic times are tough, and as marketers we all have to sharpen our focus on revenue delivery, customer conversion and productivity within our day-to-day activities. We are committed to investing in the most advanced marketing products and services, driving the efficiencies created by AI, but also backed by a super strategic team to give clients the best possible business outcomes.

“Our name change reflects the changing nature of the business and the desire for clients to bring the martech capability in house, with the support of Clevertouch Consulting to optimise their investment.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

  • Duncan MacRae

    Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

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Tags: AI, Clevertouch, consultancy, Europe

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