In our fast-paced, content-hungry world, there’s an ongoing question that nearly all Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) of all sizes face: Are there tools that can actually help improve my organization’s productivity and keep everyone’s sanity intact? The refrain we frequently hear from clients when we make the suggestions we have below is “why can’t we just keep doing that with email?”.
Several years ago we faced the same two questions from our staff. But, we were persuaded by a few champions within our organization to give them one year to try adding two digital tools they had become familiar with to our workflow. To say these additions have been transformative is an understatement. So, speaking from real-world experience, we’d like to make the case for two digital tools that complement email but have the potential to take workflow productivity to new levels (while actually helping to keep your team sane).
The one app that we are the most enthusiastic about is Trello. Here is a digital tool that can be as simple or as deep as you need it to be and can help organize projects of nearly any size. The core functionality revolves around cards, which display in customizable and interactive mini bulletin boards. These cards are housed within lists (which all live as part of a board) where you can place as many cards as you’d like. Turn a list into “Joel’s Tasks” list and start moving all applicable cards to him. Put the items on the list in priority order (or whatever order you want). Click to open any card to view contents, add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels, due dates, and more. Start a discussion with comments and attachments. Add a quick note or a detailed, markdown-enabled diatribe. Mention a member in a comment to make sure they get notified. Add files by uploading them from your computer or Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, etc.
You can even liven it up with emojis, too 😎. Whenever something important happens, users know instantly with Trello’s notification system. And users can get notifications however they want: inside the app, via email, desktop notifications via browser, or even via mobile push notifications. Notifications stay in sync across all your devices (so you can be in touch wherever you are). You can invite as many people to your board as you want and everyone sees the same board and the whole picture all at once, in real-time. This tool alone can help streamline your team’s entire workload.
Another winner in our book is Slack. You’ve most likely used a chat application before, but Slack differentiates itself with its robust file management features, ability to integrate with Trello (among a hundred other apps and climbing), and notification customizability. You can set up specialized channels where only certain friends or coworkers can interact to help cut down on the volume of chatter and you can also make video calls within the app itself. According to the team behind Slack, their customers see an average of 49% reduction in internal email, which is great news for our overstuffed inboxes.
Just using just these two tools can work wonders in streamlining tasks and the people handling them. We encourage you to experiment a little to see how they could fit into your organization.
Keep in mind that, even though you may not be painfully aware of them, needs ALWAYS exist within organizations that require efficient team communication. And needs may be even more exaggerated in our WFH and increasingly “outsourced” work environments. A key element to making these (and really any new app or software) work within an organization is to identify a champion for the solution. This is usually someone tasked with managing an inefficient process or solving a difficult challenge within the organization. When many others feel this productivity pain or understand the need to solve this challenge, they will often make extra efforts to support the champion.
Once you have your champion, give these tools one year and when you ask for an update, you will likely start to hear comments like: “I don’t know how we even functioned as an organization without Trello and Slack!”.