DIGITAL: IT’S AN EXPERTISE, NOT A DEPARTMENT And as members of the client-facing account teams, you of all people need to understand this. The importance of your participation in this medium is not to be underestimated, as usage truly drives understanding in this instance.
To be an expert you need to be a good salesperson. You have to sell your ideas internally and externally to clients. To be a good salesperson you must be a good listener and you have got to know your stuff. But that starts at home -- with knowing yourself!
Here’s the deal. You really need to be the right kind of person to be a digital expert. You must embrace the dynamic nature of the web. You must be willing to change on the fly to zig & zag with the changes that this industry is based upon. You must love the ever evolving technologies that drive the opportunity and value of digital marketing. You must accept that life is a continual stream of new learning, new challenges and new rewards. It’s about growth, change & opportunity. If you’re the kind of person who clings to the past, doesn’t like change or is uncomfortable when the rug gets pulled out from under you – then you're probably not in the right place. May I suggest a career as a CPA?
I love this quote from Bjork, “there’s more to life than this”. I think that a lot when doing digital planning. Because there’s more to digital marketing than Facebook. Yes, everyone knows Facebook and even your grandmother is on it now. But just because there are nearly 600 million people on the damned site, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end-all-be-all of digital.
There’s an entire world wide web of opportunity out there to reach your target audience and create results for your client. But with so many options and means of marketing, how do you know where to put your efforts? My recommendation is to become a “POSTR Child”.
So what’s a POSTR child? POSTR is my spin on a very standard marketing methodology that my agency uses for just about anything & everything from developing a business plan for a client, to a website build, to an SEO program to a PPC campaign to a video for web, or even ad copy. It’ s a take on the POST process.
- Who here has read Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff? If you haven't yet read it – go buy it or download it today. In the book the authors discuss their “POST” process, which I find invaluable. It basically works like this: P.O.S.T. - The piece we added is “R” for Results, which is measuring your success. How do we know when we’ve reached our goal….or even surpassed it? The great thing about digital is that it’s so measurable and results are easy to track.
If you follow the POSTR process YOU will be the expert every time, because you will have addressed the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How to meet your clients needs.
- The thing is -- are you a specialist (like these urology specialists here), or are you a generalist? I like to think of myself as a generalist. I have a lot of experience with many different digital platforms that allows me to understand when & how to use them, and then there are specific areas of digital where I am a specialist. - In my estimation you need to be both in order to succeed with digital marketing. If you only know 1 thing (like Facebook), then you can be a really great Facebook marketer – but you wont be a POSTR Child for success. You need to know a little bit about many or all of the options out there to recommend the right channels for your clients.
But how to determine your areas of expertise? Well, are you personally passionate about? Are you a foodie & Yelp a lot? Are you a blogger? Are you super techy and like the dev side of the web? Are you an amateur photographer & participate in Flickr groups? Do you edit Wikipedia for fun? Do you post & review videos on YouTube? Identify your passions and understand how they translate into tangible business skills.
Whether explicit or implicit -- every website develops its own community AND every community has it’s own rules of engagement. How to post, when to post, who to friend, when to say what, when to say it publically and when to have a PM. Understanding these moirés is what makes you a good marketer. How many times have you been in a forum and clearly there’s SPAM, a bot post or a someone who didn’t know how to play the game, trying to game the system? We can all smell a fake a mile away, so there’s no point in faking it. In order to best leverage a medium or channel, you need to understand how it works. You need to be an active user.
- So I’m Siouxsie & The Banshees fan…anyone else here dig Siouxsie? If so, you might recall a song from their 1991 album called “Fear of the Unkown”. - Fear of the unknown. It’s a terribly strong emotion and drives all people to some bizarre, irrational and unnatural behaviors at times. As part of the human condition, we learn thru trial and error. As children we learn that when we touch the hot stove, we get burnt. Our engrained need for self-preservation often precludes us from taking risks, trying new things and fosters apathy and mediocrity. This is true of dining out at the same places over and over again, to fear of new technologies and media platforms.
If you were at last year’s BOLO conference you may remember that I discussed a client of mine who didn’t understand the value in a mobile app. We pitched him for months on one and he just would not budge because he thought that no one used mobile apps (despite all of the evidence to the contrary that we showed him). As it turned out – he himself did not have a Smartphone and had never used an app. He made a HUGE mistake..the fatal flaw of marketers, which I consider a “FRESHMAN MISTAKE”. He assumed that HE was like everyone else. Because he did not use the technology – he assumed it wasn’t valuable for his company. Freshman mistake!
To avoid making freshman mistakes like this, I recommend you sit down and create a list. Create a list of your digital strengths (where you’re already a specialist) and make a GOALS LIST of areas where you need/want to grow. - Set a goal for yourself to sign up for one new website a month, actively use the site and get to know and understand the ins & outs of the community. Actively participate. Learn how you could potentially take advantage of what the site offers. - By understanding the site from a user perspective you’ll be able to make better recommendations and stronger business cases for your clients’ marketing efforts.
Next, I want to talk about “Leveraging & Cross-Leveraging”. Based on the areas where you are today a specialist - -how can you cross leverage that knowledge? If you know & understand best practices for blogging, for example - -how can you leverage those learning for developing web content? Or using concise messaging from your Twitter efforts, for example, to write succinct ad copy for PPC campaigns? I want you to think about business best practices from the areas where you rule – and how they might apply to other channels, media or marketing.
On the topic of leveraging – lastly, I want you to think about “leveraging” your network to educate and inform yourself. Who did you graduate with who may have an expertise in a related field? Who do you know on LinkedIn? Who is a though leader in forums or groups you are a member of? Who within your network of friends, sports team mates or book club have knowledge they can share with you? - People LOVE to be asked questions about themselves or their areas of expertise. Sometimes all you need to do is “just ask”. So if you know someone who is a PPC expert, for example – hit them up and ask for help. Invite a school alum to your agency for a brown bag lunch & learn. Ask a team mate out for beers or a coktail in exchnage for picking their brain. - Ask people who know, what works and what doesn’t from their perspctive an their experinece. I’m sure they’ll be happy to share with you.
- If you tell me you don’t know anyone like this or there’s no one in your network who can help you, then I need you to hold a mirror up to your face and tell you that it’s tie to get out there and network. Join your local chapter of SEMPO, AMA or start regularly attending agencyside events. Make business connections that matter and use them to your advantage.
Know Thyself There’s more to life than Facebook Be a POSTR Child Learn the Rules of Engagement Make a Goals Checklist Cross-Leverage Your Knowledge Leverage Your Network
BITB -- Digital: It's An Expertise not a Department
Digital Expertise Josh Yeager Back in the Black: April 28 – 29, 2011
RECAP <ul><li>Know Thyself </li></ul><ul><li>There’s more to life than Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Be a POSTR Child </li></ul><ul><li>Learn the Rules of Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Make a Goals Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-Leverage Your Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Your Network </li></ul>