Tips for Being in a Team

Our SMA Marketing Case Competition team following the completion of the event.

Marketing is a very collaborative field that requires teamwork. Here are some tips that I have learned about how to be a great team member!

Post Created by Steinar Mikkelson, Applied IMC, Spring, 2023. 

Marketing and Teams 

Marketing is arguably one of the most collaborative fields of business out there. If you are not working within a team, you will most likely find yourself within at least some sort of collaborative setting in your career and education. During my time at Western Washington University, I was a part of many teams as student studying marketing. Especially when taking the Integrated Marketing Communication class (IMC), it was especially important to learn how to function effectively within a team as collaboration was the main key to success. Here are some of the things that I have learned about how to be a great team member.

Communication is Key 

As you will learn, teams are only as effective so long as everyone is on the same page. One of the first things that I had to learn is that it takes more for a team to simply divide up the work and go from there. Making sure to have constant and consistent communication among team members is key to producing the best work. One of the tools that I have utilized, especially while being a product manager, is to use Microsoft Teams. Teams is a great tool for communicating within a team because you can send directed messages at specific people, and it allows for team members to respond to specific messages as well! Here is an example of how I have used Teams to set up a schedule with my team:

Screenshot of Microsoft Teams message coordinating schedules with team members

Foster a Positive Environment

It’s hard to find motivation and get work done when part of a team that drains your energy. Being able to look forward to working with a given team is a great way to ensure that not only are you creating great work, but that you are enjoying it as well! One of the prime examples of this was during the Marketing Case Competition during the Winter Quarter of 2023. My team places third in the competition but more so we had a great time working together. We did this keeping meetings lighthearted but focused to foster an effective yet fun work setting. In the end we not only got the results that we wanted but became friends in the process. Here is a picture of our team that demonstrates the positive environment that we cultivated.

Our SMA Marketing Case Competition team following the completion of the event.

Team Learning

One of the most important lessons learned from IMC and the Agile philosophy is the idea of running Sprint Retro meetings. These are meetings where the entire team comes together to discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, and what changes can be made for the previous sprint. It should be noted that Sprints are typically two-week work periods where a piece of content is developed and distributed. This practice can be applied to a more general team setting as well. Being able to understand the things that are going well will help encourage the team to keep up the good work. Addressing the things that didn’t go so well opens up a healthy dialogue and allows us to address any pressing issues as a team. The changes that can be implemented is another great way to address these issues as a team and reach a consensus as to what we can improve on for the next project. Here is an example of the Sprint Retro that my team and I went through using the lean meeting model.

Sprint Retro exercise used by my team

Using sticky notes is a great way to compare and contrast ideas within meetings.

Personal Responsibility

At the end of the day, a team is only as strong as its weakest member. While the tips listed above are a great way to work within a team and potentially lead a team as well, you need to ensure that you are not holding the team back. Communicate consistently, accomplish your tasks, reach out for help if you need it, and most importantly do the best work that you can.