Biting your nails. Twirling your hair. Saying “um” too much. We’re only human, and we all fall into bad habits from time to time.

Some are small and inconsequential. But others begin that way and then spiral into a dangerous pattern.

As innovative as marketers are, they aren’t immune to bad habits (and we aren’t just talking about the powdered sugar donuts you indulge in during every brainstorming session).

There are certain behaviors that are easy to fall back on. However, continuing to do so can stunt your team’s growth and stifle business transformation.

Are you guilty of unproductive routines? Don’t start chewing your nails quite yet. The first step is to recognize these negative behaviors so that you can nip them in the bud and change your ways.

Here are five bad marketing habits to keep an eye out for—as well as ways to overcome them.

1. Taking Ad-Hoc Project Requests

You and your marketing team have outlined your projects and timelines for the next month, and you’re feeling good about your ability to cross those things off your list.

But before you know it, other departments drop a bunch of unexpected projects on your plate. The Sales team needs a new one-sheet. The engineering team needs help with content for an upcoming presentation. The human resources team wants a new recruitment video—and they want it yesterday.

Your carefully mapped out plans and priorities are thrown out the window as you run yourselves ragged putting out fires.

Why It's a Problem

To put it simply, these ad-hoc and last-minute project requests add unnecessary stress and headaches to your workday.

Because there isn’t any sort of systemized process in place, you waste precious time tracking down information and details that you should’ve had to start with. In our work management report, 52% of workers said that “missing information” was their biggest cause of stress at work.

Furthermore, the tasks and projects that actually contribute to overarching goals (you know, the ones you’ve been carefully planning) are repeatedly pushed to the back burner in order to meet these unexpected demands.

Your team’s ability to scale and tackle important work is limited, because you’re constantly chasing your own tail and struggling to keep up with unorganized and unpredictable requests.

How to Fix It

The most straightforward solution is to just say “no” when other departments make requests that steer your team off course. But we recognize that’s not an entirely realistic solution to the problem. Instead, make it your goal to control what you can, and bring some order to this chaos.

Start by developing a templated brief that people fill out when requesting a project from your team. This brief should hit on all of the important details, such as what the project is, who it’s for, what it needs to include, and any other background information. That will ensure you have the context you need up front — without wasting time hunting it down.

Additionally, be honest about your time constraints. If there’s no way for you to turn an assignment around in the requested time frame, make that clear and explain what your team is working on and why that has to take precedence.

Establish a firm rule for how much advance notice you need to complete a project. That will keep everybody on the same page and help everybody avoid nasty surprises.

2. Skipping Straight to Convergent Thinking

You and your team need to come up with a better way to engage prospects, so you sit down for a brainstorming session to toss some ideas around.

One person suggests an in-person event, but someone immediately shoots that down because it’s too expensive. Another person chimes in with an idea for a free eBook, but that’s rejected because you just don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.

Sound familiar? Many marketing teams make the mistake of skipping the divergent thinking process entirely, and instead jump right ahead to convergent thinking.

What’s the difference between the two? Divergent thinking is the process of coming up with ideas, free of limitations or restrictions. Convergent thinking is the process of evaluating those ideas to find the best solution. Essentially, divergent thinking relies on a lot of creativity and innovation, while convergent thinking involves more analyzing and planning.

Why It's a Problem

Nobody wants to brainstorm for ages and never identify action items to get started. However, neglecting the divergent thinking process entirely limits your team’s ability to get creative and identify a solution that best achieves your goals.

You’ll fall into the trap of relying on the tactics over and over again—not because they’re the most effective, but because they’re comfortable.

When CEOs were asked what skill they value most in their people, they said creativity. However, that’s not a priority to employees. Instead, according to Adobe’s State of Create study, employees report increasing pressure to be productive as opposed to creative.

Don’t squelch your team’s ability to innovate. Leave enough time for big ideas, before pinning just one down.

How to Fix It

One of the best things you can do is to allow adequate time for both types of thinking.

For example, when you kick off a brainstorming session, make it clear that the first 20 minutes are reserved for true, unfiltered idea generation. No suggestion is too big or too crazy.

If somebody objects to an idea, remind them that the second half of the meeting is when you’ll talk through the logistics of the different suggestions.

By creating this time and space where it’s safe for employees to voice even their most unrealistic ideas, you’ll encourage increased creativity and innovation on your team, without eliminating the careful planning processes you know and love.


3. Operating Separately From Other Teams

Your marketing team is hard at work on a landing page where people can RSVP for an upcoming event hosted by your sales department.

The design team created several fun and quirky illustrations to bring that page to life. But, when you put it together with the copy? It becomes obvious that the content team thought the messaging for this event should be more formal and corporate.

Now, a bunch of changes are needed to transform that landing page from disjointed to something far more cohesive.

This happens more often than it should. Different groups within your marketing team get so focused on their own approaches and to-do lists that they miss the forest for the trees. Important strategies and directions slip through the cracks.

Why It's a Problem

For starters, you’re making a whole lot more work for yourself. You end up doing projects twice, rather than doing them right the first time.

That’s probably why 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the reason for workplace failures.

Additionally, when these different teams remain siloed and out of touch with what the others are working on, it’s tough to create marketing campaigns that are truly integrated. While 89% of marketers think that their campaigns strategies are integrated, only 58% of consumers agree.

How to Fix It

You want to give different teams access and visibility into what others are working on, but you don’t want it to involve a ton of time or manual effort.

This is where a collaborative work management platform (like Wrike) is so helpful. Everybody has a bird’s eye view of important communication, updates, and progress on tasks. They can even drill down to specifics when necessary.

With Wrike Calendars, you not only see the dates for tasks or projects, but you can also see the context and necessary details. Your whole team can easily stay on the same page, eliminating extra work that occurs when wires get crossed.

4. Pointless and Disorganized Communication

You have a project update to share. In order to get that message out to the appropriate people, you find yourself replying back to four separate email threads. You’re frustrated by how much of your time that takes.

If that wasn’t enough, your team is also hosting endless meetings that feel unfocused and unproductive.

Basically, communication is all over the place and not only is it wasting time, it’s making it much more challenging to keep things on track. Not to mention finding the information you need — right when you need it.

Why It's a Problem

The negative effects of poor communication are pretty wide-reaching.

According to Wrike’s recent stress and productivity survey, poor communication is the number one cause of stress.

As mentioned, ineffective communication leads to lost time spent in unproductive meetings (executives consider more than 67% of meetings to be failures) and sharing the same message or update in dozens of different places.

That all translates to a loss of money. One survey indicates that companies with 100 employees lose an average of $420,000 per year as a result of ineffective communication.

How to Fix It

Long story short: You need to centralize your communication so that all important updates and conversations are stored in one place.

This is another area where a collaboration platform can make things easier. It makes discussions, changes, and updates easy to track and locate — without scrolling through endless email threads.

Most platforms will also integrate with things like Gmail and Slack, so that relevant messages that happen in those other tools aren’t lost in the shuffle.

5. Taking the Long Route

Your team plans and hosts several webinars throughout the year, and each time you start from scratch. New outlines. New slide decks. New landing pages and advertisements.

You and your team members want more time to sink your teeth into creative work, but you feel overloaded by administrative tasks and mundane, repeated work. In fact, you feel like you spend more time planning and preparing for a project than actually working on the project itself.

Why It's a Problem

When it comes to wasted time, it’s easy to point the finger at social media, online shopping, or personal phone calls as reasons why employees aren’t reaching their peak productivity levels.

However, it’s important that you take a look in the mirror and determine whether your own strategies or processes are getting in the way of employees. Is time being wasted on tasks that could be consolidated, streamlined, or totally eliminated? Is a large percentage of your team's time spent working on repetitive tasks? That’s time that your team could spend on real projects that make an impact and produce results.

How to Fix It

Start by connecting with your team to get their input on tasks that they’re completing over and over again. From there, you can try things like:

  • Automating tasks that can easily be set up to run on their own
  • Using templates for projects and assignments that could benefit from a standardized starting point

Forgive us for mentioning the benefits of a work management platform one more time (we can’t help it!). But having that in place means you have workflows and tasks that can be easily copied, so that necessary structures and dependencies are already there.

Bad Habits Aren't Harmless

We all have bad habits. And, while we can get away with some of them, a lot of marketing routines don’t work that way. The common behaviors we’ve outlined here can quickly snowball and cause a lot of damage to your team.

The good news is, as long as you recognize these habits, you can fix them. Use the strategies we’ve shared, and you’ll transform your marketing team from frazzled and frustrated to focused and effective.

Want even more reasons to implement a work management platform for your team? Grab our free eBook that shares nine reasons marketers love Wrike.