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The evolution of customer service

December 11, 2019

If you’ve been in business for a few decades, you probably remember discussing whether or not you should get an 800 number to up your customer service game. Why not let your customers call you for free? Mobile packages and unlimited calling have made that notion pretty obsolete. You also published your mailing address on your packaging or your sales literature so customers could send you a letter if they wanted to communicate. When was the last time that happened?

Back in the 90s, the web took center stage and you might have added a contact us form or link to your very first website. You might have even created a customerservice@yourcompany.com email address. Even though that was almost 20 years ago – for many companies, that’s where the customer service innovation stopped.

Unfortunately for those companies, their customers’ expectations aren’t stuck in 1999 anymore. Whether we’re ready or not, consumers aren’t content with anything less than real-time customer service and they are taking to review sites and social media, expecting us to be there listening.

In this era of the digital age, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have become a customer experience/service channel. Consumers turn to these sites because they’re right at their fingertips and they’re looking for a response. Now. Research shows that when consumers reach out to a brand on a social channel, they expect a response within an hour.

This shift is being called social customer service and if you want to earn and keep loyal customers, its adoption is not really optional. While the consumers are flocking to these new channels, brands are not there yet. In fact, a recent study conducted by Rational Interaction discovered that 95.2% of brands are failing at social customer service on Twitter.

The study examined communication patterns from 76 brands in a variety of industries including retail, tech, and healthcare after a consumer had directly reached out about an issue or problem. Remember, they’re expecting to hear back within 60 minutes. But instead, 58% of customers don’t get a response at all. That’s not just rude, it’s bad for business.

When a consumer’s tweets go unanswered, they’ll do more than unfollow. 55% of consumers reported switching to a different brand because of poor service on Twitter and 60% have then tweeted about the poor customer service they received, which has a ripple effect that can cost you money and your reputation.

Maybe it’s time you consider how you’re handling social customer service? Here are some best practices:

Create a customer service handle/identity: Rather than using your brand’s marketing handles, why not create @service-your company Twitter handle or Facebook page? That way, customer communications won’t get lost in the flurry of marketing activity and these specific channels can be monitored 24/7 but staff who are equipped to deal with customer issues.

Use hashtags to flag customer concerns: If you don’t want to monitor multiple channels, you can teach your consumers to use a hashtag like #yourcompanyhelpme to signal that they are looking for a response. You will still need to set up monitoring tools so you don’t miss a communication.

Create a team to monitor your channels 24/7: You can’t think of this as an M-F, 9-5 type of communication. Use a dedicated smartphone that can be passed between team members, but someone should always be “on call.”

The study from Rational Interaction showed that companies that take one of these approaches missed less than 5% of the customer service related tweets and were 28% more likely to get compliments from their loyal tribe.

Social media is the great equalizer. It allows small organizations to behave, connect and succeed like their bigger counterparts. Don’t miss this simple but critical way of connecting to your consumers. Are you going to be there when they reach out?

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Your inner circle

December 4, 2019

A business is influenced by so many people that as business leaders, we need to choose those influences carefully and cautiously. That’s even truer when it comes to our inner circle.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn is probably most famous for his statement that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. And yet very few of us actually decide who those people are. A big part of my annual reflection/planning time is to carefully choose who I want those five people to be and to schedule the time with them for the entire year so I make sure we get enough time together.

But before I can schedule the time, I need to decide on exactly who I want those five people to be. Here are some of the criteria I consider and by the way, these are not just people who influence my business life. They influence my whole life and make me a better business owner, marketing guy, coach, client advocate, boss, friend, dad, etc. I want to surround myself with people who will make me a better me, not just a better business me.

Who inspires me to a level of excellence that forces me to really stretch myself? They say that if you want to get better at a game, you should play with people who can beat you every time. I need to hang out with people who are further along, more adept and more successful than I am if I want to keep getting better.

Who is willing to teach me? Just because someone has something to teach me does not mean they are open to being the teacher. I need to seek out those who have much to share and are willing to be patient with me while I learn.

Who can I teach? I believe we learn the most when we’re helping someone else learn. Who is willing to let me learn alongside them?

Who will challenge me and call me out when I need it? Let’s face it; it’s easy to surround yourself with cheerleaders. But we also need those who will hold us capable and accountable and let us know when we’ve dropped the ball or missed the mark.

Who sees me more clearly than I see myself? It’s impossible to accurately describe the outside of a bottle when we’re inside the bottle. We need objectivity and someone who sees us as we truly are.

Who thinks very differently than I do and will push me to consider new possibilities? My way is never the only way and often not the right way. I want to be with people who approach challenges and opportunities from a different place.

Who fills me with joy? If I am going to spend a lot of time with these people, I want them to do more than make me better. I want them to love me. I want them to make me laugh. I want to look forward to our time together and I want to add value to their life too.

It may seem calculated or silly to be this intentional about the people you spend the most time with. But I can tell you that I’ve been doing this annual exercise for years and I can point to specific changes in my business and personal life that I can directly attribute to my inner circle. There’s no doubt that I’m better because of them.

So, for me, this is a business must. Give it a try and let me know in 365 days how it played out for you.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Build your buying journey step by step

November 27, 2019

One of the staples of marketing is the ability to understand how a human being goes from never having heard of you to actually buying something from you, time and time again. In simple terms, it can be thought of as a sales funnel. But, that suggests a very linear, logical progression and if there’s anything we know about humans, there’s nothing linear or logical about them!

When marketers talk about the buying journey and it gets plotted out, it often looks like a roadmap for a very squiggly, hairpin-turn filled cross-country trek. It used to be pretty easy to map out the customer’s path from lead to loyalty but the Internet has completely changed that. The linear buying pattern no longer exists.

Today, the buying decision is very fluid and three-dimensional. The prospects flow in and out of the stages (Awareness, Credibility, Connection and Loyalty) in a more web-like fashion – with some staying in the early stages for months or years and others rushing from “you’re on my radar screen” to “do you want to get married” in what feels like a nano-second. There are so many more entry points today, that it’s easy to get stuck along the way, especially if you haven’t built in escape hatches to the next level.

In general, prospects are more cautious and reticent today than ever before. The stakes are higher because their organization’s tolerance for slow or no results is very short. Potential customers are often very skittish and slow to make a decision. In fact, in many industries, the sales cycle is twice or three times as long as it was ten years ago.

Prospects can linger in the Awareness and Credibility phases for years. At MMG, we had a prospect carry newspaper clippings from some of my Business Record columns for years before he picked up the phone to set a meeting. Until that call – we had no idea he was in our sales funnel or that we were on his radar.

Some elements in the prospect’s buying journey are accidental and difficult to plan or replicate. Others are very deliberate. It’s important to sketch it out by identifying ALL of the elements you can think of, whether you created them on purpose or they’re just happy coincidence.

For the awareness phase, for example, think of all the ways someone could learn about you and your offerings for the first time. That might range from seeing you at a trade show to clicking on a digital display ad. Put together as comprehensive a list as possible.

In the next phase, it’s all about earning your credibility. Why should they pay attention to what you have to say? Build out that list. It’s going to include tactics like content marketing and public relations. But you’re not done once the list is complete.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the buyer’s journey is the connective tissue between phases. How will you move someone from awareness to credibility?

Once you’ve mapped out the tactics that live in each phase and the activities that connect one phase to another, there’s one more step. Because we’re so visually oriented, I want you to create an infographic that captures this information in a way that you can use it to educate your staff and think through your actual business development activities. There’s no way you’ll be able to actually execute on all the tactics in each phase but mapping it out visually will help you make better decisions and identify those tactics that you need to move prospects from one level to the next.

From there, you can create a marketing plan and activities calendar for 2020 that will guide your budget, decisions and action plan.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Clients You Love

November 20, 2019

The truth is not every client is created equal. We all know that there are clients we love to serve. We’re able to provide them with incredible value and they appreciate the work we do. The relationship goes beyond the transaction and makes our work meaningful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to work with a bunch of customers like that?

That doesn’t have to be just a dream. If you’re willing to invest a little bit of time profiling your best customers, you can replicate them. There are no bad customers. But there are definitely bad customers for each of our organizations. I believe marketing gets a whole lot easier when you have a clear picture of exactly who you should and who you should not serve. How different would your business be if you only served people who resemble your best and most loved clients?

At MMG we call those sweet spot customers. They’re the customers that you can delight every time. They’re your best referral sources and they tend to stick around for a long time. The truth is that companies are living entities and some are better matches than others. It’s not enough that they need what you sell. Lots of people are potential customers. But not all of them are sweet spot customers.

Marketing becomes a whole lot easier when you can narrow down your audience. You can be very specific, knowing that your message will resonate with exactly who you’re trying to reach. Unfortunately, most businesses never drill down to define who their best customers are.

Here’s an exercise you can do with your internal team to begin to understand how to recognize your right-fit clients.

Start by thinking of the client you love – the one you’d most like to replicate. If you could have ten of any particular client – which client would you choose? Now identify your next two favorite clients of all time. Now we have a sample of three clients you’d gladly work for over and over again.

Take some time to think about those three clients. What do they have in common?

  • Was it the kind of work you got to do for them?
  • Was it their budget size or their approval process?
  • How about their structure?
  • Were they all the same age, gender or have some other demographic in common?
  • How large was their organization?
  • Were they leaders in their industry or were they the underdogs?
  • How did they communicate?

That’s just scratching the surface but you get the idea. Dig deep and find the commonalities that made them such a perfect fit. In most cases, you’ll come up with a list of 5-8 traits they all had in common. Think of that list as your best client filter. Next time you have the opportunity to chase after a new client, compare them to the list. If they don’t possess most of the same characteristics, odds are they aren’t going to be a sweet spot client. This matrix is an objective tool that you can use to determine which prospects would be your best fit and worth pursuing with a vengeance.

Not only will you know who you should ideally pursue, but you’ll know how to talk to them. You’ll know what matters most to them and what they value. All of that insight should be woven into your marketing messages as well. By writing specifically to them, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting the kinds of clients you can successfully win and keep.

And let’s be honest – it’s a lot more fun to work for people who love and appreciate your efforts and who you enjoy as well. Why not stack the deck so you only work with customers like that?

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Tools of the trade

November 13, 2019

One of the best outcomes of the proliferation of the Internet into all of our worlds is the access that it affords us to information, each other, and tools that make our jobs easier. In our work for clients, we’ve found some tools that allow us to help clients react faster, smarter and produce more relevant marketing materials.

Help A Reporter Out (helpareporter.com): This site allows reporters to post stories they’re working on and in response, for brands to offer themselves as a source to those reporters. Three times a day (5:35 am, 12:35 pm and 5:35 pm) you will receive an email filled with source requests from reporters.

If any of the stories they’re working on are related to your product or service, you just email the reporter, answer the questions they’ve specified and if you’re a good source for the story, the reporter will reach out to you for more details, an interview, etc.

The story topics and media outlets are as varied as you can imagine. But these are not no-name publications. Reporters from the New York Times, Fast Company Magazine, Good Morning America and many other mainstream media use the tool on a regular basis.

Just Reach Out (justreachout.io): This site in some ways is the flip side of Help A Reporter Out. Instead of reporters listing what they’re working on, this site allows you to add keywords or a competitor into a search query and the site will search news, blogs, and articles to find reporters who have written about something similar to what you do.

Then the site will show you the journalists, their contact information and offer up templates that you can modify so you can reach out to the reporters. The site also helps with timing your pitch and other elements (subject line, etc.) to increase your hit rate.

Sell Hack (sellhack.com): This is a tool that will help you build out your list of potential sales leads. SellHack is a browser extension that helps you build targeted lists so you can reach out to people who you’d like to reach. Let’s say you went to a conference and got a list of attendees but not their email addresses. You can upload that list into SellHack and they’ll do the heavy lifting by uncovering your sales prospect’s email addresses while searching their social profiles.

SellHack checks the information you provide against multiple data sources. If the search is successful, you will get a validated email for the profile. If SellHack can’t find a valid result, it will present a ‘copy all’ button to copy/paste or email the different variations it generates.

Video Lean (videolean.com): This website allows subscribers to create template videos on the fly. We all know how important video is on the web and for many companies, producing a custom video is just not in the budget. Don’t misunderstand – the videos you can make on the site are a far cry from a custom project. But if you need to produce some down and dirty video content for your website or blog – this may be the ticket.

You choose a template based on your type of business and the kinds of information you want to convey. You customize the template by adding text, images and music in a very simple to use interface and three minutes later, you are served up a low-resolution preview so you can tweak any of the details. Once you’re happy with the video, you can download a high-resolution version to add to your website, YouTube or wherever you want to use it.

Give these a try and let me know how they work out for you!

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Mini marketing

November 6, 2019

The list of marketing tactics that you can use to reach an audience is staggering. The different ways you can slice and dice humankind into different audience segments is never-ending. The stories you can tell and the messages you can deliver are countless.

And that’s exactly what is ruining your marketing.

The truth is there is not a business on the planet that needs to be on everyone’s radar screen. Whether you are a global business or a Mom and Pop local shop – you have a very finite number of people who actually can benefit from what you do. One of the biggest mistakes marketing people make is inflating their number. They fish with a very wide net when a speargun is a much better choice.

Stay with me on this analogy. When you cast out a wide net, it gets filled up with a wide variety of fish, debris, and seaweed. You spend a lot of time sorting out the good from the bad. You often will talk yourself into trying some odd fish that looks good but turns out to be hideous. And by the time you dig down to the ones you actually wanted – they’re a little worse for wear. If there’s even one in the net at all.

That’s how most businesses approach their marketing. They cast a wide net, trying to have a presence everywhere because they don’t want to risk missing someone. I’m here to tell you, you can miss most of the someones as long as you connect with a relatively small number of the right someones.

Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, has been talking about this idea since 2008. You’ve probably heard of the 1,000 fans theory. His hypothesis is that an artist (performer, author, artist, etc.) can survive on 1,000 true fans. The number 1,000 is not a precise number but more of a ballpark. But the concept holds either way.

The idea is basically that as your fan base gets larger and larger, the ROI per fan gets less and less because you can’t possibly cater to them all. The long tail is past the sweet point of the effort to engage. According to Kelly, if you want to make money, you will make much more from the first 1,000 fans that are diehard because they’ll buy whatever you produce and engage no matter what. They will also tell the world about you and how much they love you. Back in 2008, the world looked very different, but changes in our connectedness and online behavior only make this base idea more relevant.

Odds are your business is a little bigger than a single artist, so recognize that the number 1,000 is symbolic. But the message is dead on. You need to figure out who your fans are and talk to them on a regular basis about the things they care about. That will attract more of them.

Here’s the danger zone in this effort. Once they have their attention, many marketers just check the box and consider it done. And they’re off to chase the next audience.

That’s where you can do it better by being smarter about keeping the target small and focused. The minute you broaden your message or your channel, you make your fans feel like customers. That shift – from being someone you care about to someone you want to convince to buy something, changes everything. They don’t feel special. They don’t feel catered to and they sure don’t feel like telling the world about you.

Marketing shouldn’t be wide. It should be deep. That’s where people evolve from prospects to customers and if you stay focused – become your raving fans.

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Social media fails during a crisis

October 30, 2019

Social media has changed the way we learn about, share and react to big events – good or bad. We rush to it to celebrate but we also rush to it when the world is in danger or a tragedy has occurred, whether it’s a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or acts of terror like the shootings in Pittsburgh or the riots in Charlottesville, VA.

For many of us, social media has replaced traditional media and news sources for that initial alert. I don’t know about you, but I learned about the attacks in Charlottesville on-line. It’s true that I, and many of you, still turn to our more traditional news outlets for ongoing news and updates, but Facebook and Twitter seem to not only inform us of the minute by minute happenings but also uniquely reflects the sentiments and the humanity of the situation.

When we’re in crisis, we want more than the facts. We want to share the experience. We want to express our outrage or sympathy. It’s the emotion of the moment that pulls us into the social channels and keeps us there, eager to participate.

That’s why people react so strongly when a gaffe occurs. The emotions are so heightened that when someone does or says something insensitive or self-serving, people go nuts.

So, how should we handle social media when the country or the world is in crisis? The truth is, if it’s not handled well, you can create your own crisis. And where will it explode? On social media, of course.

When your brand stumbles on a regular old day, you may get blasted for it, but it passes. But when you fail during a heightened time of emotion and scrutiny – that can stick on your brand forever.

Here are some social media fails to avoid when the world around you is focusing on something serious.

Curb all regular postings: This is not the time to share articles, post photos or promote your business. And by the way – doing any sort of hybrid posting where you speak of the situation AND your company, well, that just smacks of borrowing from someone else’s sorrow for your own gain.

Pause all auto postings and auto-tweets: Many people use tools that auto-populate their feeds with great content. But accidentally acting like everything is normal when it most definitely is not can make your brand look at best, out of touch and worst, insensitive.

Don’t use the tragedy to get social cred: This is not the time to solicit likes or followers, even if you offer donations or some other support for whoever is suffering. Profiting in any way from the circumstance makes you look petty.

It’s never funny: I’m sort of stunned when it happens but it seems like some moronic brand always tries their hand at humor. Trust me, it’s never funny. During Hurricane Sandy, Gap joked in a tweet that everyone should just stay inside and hit gap.com for some retail therapy.

Make sure you know which profile you’re using: There have been many incidents where a social media brand manager thought they were using their own personal account to comment on a tragedy or social happening and instead, embarrassed their brand and got themselves fired.

Do all of these faux pas mean you have to stay silent during a national or international crisis? Absolutely not. Share authentic emotion. Let them see the humanity behind your brand. Be a resource. Be encouraging. Be genuinely helpful. Be real.

Just don’t be a social media failure. This isn’t the time to promote, profit or proselytize. It’s time to be human.

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Power up LinkedIn

October 23, 2019

When business people and marketing types talk about social media, they immediately default to networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram but the true powerhouse network, LinkedIn, is rarely mentioned.

If you live in the B2B world and you’re not spending time on LinkedIn every week – you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity. For most LinkedIn users, it’s nothing more than a digital Rolodex. That makes me sad because it’s actually an incredible brand building, SEO increasing, and prospecting/business development tool, when used well.

I want to give you some best practices and tips for really leveraging LinkedIn to your full advantage. Fair warning – this is going to require an investment of time on your part, but the rewards will far outweigh the costs.

Brand Building

Customize your URL: Most people’s LinkedIn URLs look like http://www.linkedin.com/in/634923481 but it’s very easy to customize yours so it looks like http://www.linkedin.com/in/drewmclellan. This makes you easier to find and the URL easier to share.

Make your profile personal: Most people just cut and paste their resume or CV into the profile section of LinkedIn. Instead – write it so it sounds like you talk. Make it engaging and weave your personality into the content.

Be bold to catch our attention: Your opening statement in your profile should be provocative and make me want to read more.

Show work samples: One of the most underutilized portions of LinkedIn is the ability to show work samples. Be creative with that definition. Maybe it’s actual samples of your work or it could be a PDF of a case study or testimonial.

Add some background color: Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn now allows you to add a background photo on your profile. Use the opportunity to create a background that says something about you or the work you do. Make your image 1400 x 425 pixels for an easy, perfect fit upload.

SEO

Your headline should be loaded: Loaded with SEO rich keywords that someone might use in a search to find someone who does what you do. Don’t waste characters by repeating your name.

Pepper keywords throughout your profile: Identify the top 5-10 keywords or phrases that your sweet spot customer might use in a search to find a new partner or connection. Make sure you work those words and phrases throughout your profile so you show up.

Be findable: I know this seems rather obvious but if you have your privacy settings clamped down too tightly – we can’t find you. Be sure to make your name and headline (at the very least) accessible to the general public.

Prospecting/Biz Development

Publish: LinkedIn’s publishing tool, Pulse, is a really smart place for you to be uploading content that you and your team have created. Again, be mindful of your keywords and the types of topics your potential clients might be looking for.

Get social proof: Testimonials have always played a role in B2B business development but in an era where consumers are constantly looking for social proof, it’s even more critical. LinkedIn’s recommendations (not to be confused with the relatively useless endorsements) are very powerful. How do you get more? Give more. Identify your best clients and vendors and leave them some recommendation love. Odds are they will return the favor.

Save your search: LinkedIn has a robust search functionality that you can use to track down prospects and connect. Experiment with the search criteria until you narrow it down to serve up the optimum blend of people. Then, save that search, so it can return to it again and again.

Export it: Did you know you can export your LinkedIn contacts so you can load them into your CRM system and begin to cultivate relationships from there? It’s easy and smart.

Spend some time with LinkedIn.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Metrics that matter

October 16, 2019

One of the most famous quotes about advertising is from a merchant named John Wanamaker and he said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Back when I started in the business much of the work we did was difficult to measure all the way through the sales cycle. For example, if we bought a TV spot during a Cheers episode, we could count on certain demographics and the size of the audience but that was about as detailed as we could get. We often tried to link exposure to the message to a behavior but unless they were redeeming a specific offer or calling a campaign-specific phone number, we could only hypothesize that a surge in sales, inquiries or some other behavior was tied to the marketing efforts.

Today, we have the opposite problem. The volume of things we can accurately measure is staggering, especially if you are communicating digitally. It’s easy to get paralyzed by the data because you can’t possibly sift through it all before making a decision.

One of the phrases I’m sure MMG clients get sick of is “Just because we can measure it, doesn’t mean it matters.”

I thought it might be useful to identify some digital metrics that are actually worth watching and using as a bellwether for decision-making. We’ve previously discussed the importance of owning your own digital hub. For most organizations, that’s your website. I’m going to assume you’ve built your marketing strategy in a hub and spoke model, with your web site being one of your core hubs.

Given that assumption, let’s talk about metrics that matter for most organizations. You may find that one or more of these aren’t relevant to your business so don’t assume you should track all of them. But for most of us, these are pretty spot on.

Let’s look at metrics focusing on two factors – are you bringing the right people to your site and once they arrive, what do they do there?

Prospect attraction: Are you capturing the attention of the people you’d like to talk to about your products and services? Are you holding their attention long enough to get on their radar screen?

To measure your effectiveness in this area, you might look at:

Bounce rate: Bounce rate is the statistic that measures how many of your unique web visitors go to your home page and then immediately leave the site, rather than digging into the site to learn more. Your goal should be 30% or less.

What do people do on your site: Odds are you have a lot of pages on your website. Do you know which ones get visited most often? Or which ones capture the attention of your visitor for the longest period of time? Do you understand the traffic patterns (people go from what page or link to what page or link) that show up again and again?

To get that kind of insight, you might look at:

Page depth: Page depth is a stat that shows you the average number of pages your visitors view during a single visit.

Top viewed pages: As it suggests, it lists the individual pages of your website in the order of visit frequency.

In-page analytics: For your top viewed pages look at this report and analyze the click patterns. It will help you understand navigational patterns and issues on your website. You’ll also get some insights into your visitors’ intent.

Marketing is all the better because we use data to be more helpful to the people we want to serve. But to do that well, be careful that you’re looking at the right data and not drowning in meaningless numbers.

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Digital isn’t a department

October 9, 2019

Many companies are trying to “manage” the onslaught of changes brought about by today’s digital trends by creating a department to deal with all of the new technologies, social networks, web trends, marketing automation and other aspects of this quickly changing landscape.

I get it. It’s a lot to wrap your arms around. It’s comforting to know you don’t have to keep up. But the truth is – you do. I’m not suggesting that everyone in your organization needs to have the same level of knowledge – but everyone has to understand digital isn’t a department. It’s a mindset.

The question is about the shift in thinking when it comes to the word and the idea of digital. As social media and content marketing emerged – organizations scrambled to either hire people with skills in all things digital to create digital departments or in the case of some of the larger companies – hired agencies and just outsourced the whole thing.

Fortunately, we’re winding down the “shiny object” of the digital invasion and now saner heads are prevailing. When it comes to marketing, digital is a medium, just like print and broadcast. Like all mediums, it comes with its own set of etiquettes and rules but at the end of the day – a good marketing strategy should be driving companies to/through all media options and executions.

But digital isn’t just about marketing. Digital has become this overlay – that literally touches every aspect of daily life for most people.

Because digital is so ubiquitous – there isn’t a person or position in your company today that shouldn’t be taking it into account with every business decision they make. Even if you are using traditional media to drive a message, there is a digital play or connection.

It’s really those two moments in time colliding – companies getting a little maturity under their belts in terms of their digital chops and consumers weaving digital technology into every aspect of their life that is forcing all of us to re-think how we position our digital skills.

Assuming you buy this logic – how do you help your entire team stay current and fired up?

Assign expert roles/areas of expertise: Things in the digital space are moving too quickly for any one person to stay on top of it all. So you’ll need to assign different team members to different aspects and hold them accountable for staying current.

Lunch and learns: To spread that expertise throughout the entire organization, there should be a regular schedule of lunch and learns, where the internal experts can share the latest updates and agency successes.

Hire the right partners: Be wary of any agency that offers to simply handle all of your digital needs, without involving you and your team. While it’s tempting to just hand it all off, you need to weave your company’s culture and vision into how you present yourself digitally. Look for a partner who will do the heavy lifting but keep you in the mix.

Be choosy: Part of what makes digital so overwhelming is there’s so much to learn and everything changes in a blink. The good news is – most of it is irrelevant to your business. Having a digital strategy that actually contributes to your bottom line is about understanding your customers, their digital footprint and how you can interact with them there. You figure that out and you can eliminate a lot of the noise and distractions that can derail your marketing efforts.

The digital landscape is now woven into every aspect of your company from sales to customer service to accounting. That means that everyone, not just the marketing team, needs to be committed to embracing these trends and leveraging them to serve your customers how/where they’re spending so much of their time.

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