Please accept all cookies to ensure proper website functionality. Set my cookie preferences

Sponsored by Umuse

Knowledge workers—marketers included—receive over 250 messages on average each day at work, with power communicators often seeing three times that number.

As message volume has increased, the amount of time we spend communicating has naturally gone up as well.

Workers who use email and chat spend over 3.25 hours on average per day in those applications.That's potentially 40% of your time that could be better spent elsewhere.

It's one thing to consider the impact of all those distractions on your marketing team's efficiency. It's another when those distractions start to impede your marketing campaign and program effectiveness. If your engagement numbers have been trending downward, you're not alone.

Unfortunately, when something has to give, often the first to suffer is your newsletter, product release email, or nurture campaign. But if you had more time to begin with—if your internal communications took up less of your time, say—you'd have more time to get those campaigns and emails out.

How We Communicate Today

To claim back some of that time and ensure your messages break through the clutter, it's important to understand how we're communicating today across various channels.

Chat and Text First

Workers are increasingly adopting chat and text, as well as filtering and prioritizing messages they receive via those channels. Most people read a text message within three minutes of receiving it, and chat takes slightly longer. By contrast, email is read within 1.9 hours, on average—and the longer it takes for recipients to read your email, the less likely you are to get a response. That doesn't mean email has become less valuable, but it does mean it's critical that your subject line stand out.

Message Prioritizations

For most of us, it started with the Gmail Promotions Tab. I remember thinking: "My email might go to something other than their inbox?!" But now, more and more tools are starting to prioritize or categorize messages for us. Office 365 released Focused Inbox, and Gmail recently added Nudge. Users are relying on the prioritization of these tools more and more, and therefore not necessarily seeing every message that comes into their inbox.

To learn more visit:

Inner-Circle Preferences

We all have people we respond to faster than we do to others. Whether that's your boss or a subset of coworkers, social hierarchies influence communication. The growing popularity of chat at work reinforces the paradigm. With its single-stream message feed and lack of a formal file structure, chat users must pick and choose whom they respond to first, which means your messages must be consistently valuable and actionable, or you risk their never being seen.

How to Overcome the Clutter and Improve Your Marketing

With all that competition for attention, what's a marketer to do?

Invest in multi-channel

Seek multi-channel opportunities outside of email, and keep in mind they take time to build. Start now, and embrace each channel's unique style and etiquette—from in-app notifications to browser notifications, and from push notifications to SMS. Have a clear and appropriate use case for each type of communication, and confirm how users prefer to be reached.

To learn more visit:

Make it fun (and brief!)

Chat uses 73% fewer words than email and relies heavily on emojis and gifs; it's highly conversational. Much of what users like about chat is its brevity—a trend that is likely going to stick. Conversational content delivered in easily digestible chunks will almost always better capture attention and elicit more meaningful responses.

Talk to real people

We've all learned the power of data, from A/B tests for emails and landing pages to targeted user surveys. But so many types of input can give one a false sense of confidence. Marketers know that you never really know how customers feel until you get out and talk to them in person. I'm continually amazed how generous and thoughtful customer feedback can be if you just bother to spend a little time to get it.

"That's great," you say, "but what if I'm unable to get work done myself at work?"

How to Improve Your Internal Communications

As marketers, we fixate on the success of our programs and campaigns. Yet it's also important to look at our own communication patterns and tools, and to strive to claim back some of those 3.25 hours per day lost in the process of trying to communicate.

Minimize tools and distractions

Marketers often use multiple communication tools, such as Asana, Basecamp, or Trello for project management; Slack, Stride, or Microsoft Teams for chat and collaboration; and Gmail, Outlook, or Office 365 for email. You can keep distractions from all those tools in check by forwarding all notifications to one application (say, email) and setting your preferences to notify you only of the most important messages.

Embrace the 3Ds

Email threads lend themselves more naturally to keeping conversations organized, while chat is unstructured and more meandering, making it easier for things to fall through the cracks. In both types of communication, however, I'm a big fan of the 3Ds: Do it, delegate it, or delete it—period. A ruthless adherence to that principle will help keep your messages and priorities in check.

Make rules, and stick to them

Keeping up with every message and alert as it comes in can be overwhelming. Instead, implement some rules and resist the urge to reply immediately. For chat, turn off group notifications, and for email, consider adding rules that move messages from VIPs into a separate folder so you can focus on those important messages first.

* * *

Does all this sound like a lot of work? It can be. But when you consider the time you can get back and the reduced drain on your productivity, isn't it all worth it?

To learn more about tools that can help you automate these techniques, check out

Subscribe's free!

MarketingProfs provides thousands of marketing resources, entirely free!

Simply subscribe to our newsletter and get instant access to how-to articles, guides, webinars and more for nada, nothing, zip, zilch, on the house...delivered right to your inbox! MarketingProfs is the largest marketing community in the world, and we are here to help you be a better marketer.

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.


image of Umuse

Umuse is on a mission to tame communication chaos in the workplace. A personal communication platform for the enterprise, Unmuse combines the power and flexibility of email with the speed and intimacy of chat, prioritized into one Facebook-like message feed. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Umuse is backed by Shasta Ventures, Next Coast Ventures, and Floodgate Capital.

For more information, visit, or find us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

General Management Resources

You may like these other MarketingProfs resources related to General Management.

3 Steps to Help Move Your DEI Goals Forward

As important as it is to create a diverse and welcoming workplace, getting there isn't always easy. If you're feeling stuck with your DEI initiative, follow these three steps.

Get the Science of Marketing Right to Be Free to Do the Art

Creativity often drives marketing. But creativity is not measurable. To earn the right to experiment and be artistic in your marketing tactics, you have to first prove you're doing the science right—and that means learning to prove revenue.

The State of Creative Operations in 2021 [Infographic]

Two-thirds of creative teams say there has been an increase in their workloads in 2021 compared with their pre-pandemic workloads, according to recent research from Screendragon.

The Top Areas of B2B Marketing-Sales Alignment That Need Improvement

B2B marketers say the top area that needs improvement between Marketing and Sales is feedback between the two groups, whereas B2B salespeople say the top area is coordination on target accounts, according to recent research.

Building Positive Company Culture While Intentionally Staying Small: Rob Simone on Marketing Smarts

When you create an agency in two days—as Rob Simone did with Summer Friday—you want it to be culturally sustainable. That means focusing on its people.

Maintaining Morale: Nine Tips to Keep Employees Happy and Engaged When Things Feel Out of Control

The ad tech and martech industries are accelerating at an even greater pace than usual. To keep your employees in the loop and prevent them from burning out, follow these nine tips.