tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/talent-recruitment Latest Talent & recruitment content from Econsultancy 2018-06-07T11:50:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70044 2018-06-07T11:50:00+01:00 2018-06-07T11:50:00+01:00 How can employee advocacy boost brand marketing? Nikki Gilliland <p>Employee advocates are those that actively promote the company they work for. This can be through posts on social media, word of mouth referrals, or by becoming an expert or spokesperson for their organisation. </p> <p>So, how can employee advocates enhance brand marketing – even more so than other customers? Here are just five benefits, along with examples of brands that have successfully used the strategy.</p> <h3>Greater reach</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-elevate/2017/what-is-employee-advocacy--what-is-it-for--why-does-it-matter-" target="_blank">research from LinkedIn</a>, employees collectively have social networks an average of ten times larger than a single corporate brand. </p> <p>So, by utilising these networks, brands can automatically extend their reach, ensuring that more people become aware of their company (and something positive relating to it).</p> <p>Interestingly, LinkedIn also suggests that, when employees share content, they typically see a click-through rate double that of their company. This is all to do with authenticity, as the majority of people are said to be <a href="http://www.nielsen.com/eu/en/press-room/2015/recommendations-from-friends-remain-most-credible-form-of-advertising.html" target="_blank">more likely to trust</a> recommendations from people they know above all other forms of advertising.</p> <p>Fujitsu is one brand that has capitalised on this notion, using its own employee advocacy program to hugely extend reach. Upon discovering that a large percentage of employees were already posting positively about the brand on their personal social accounts, Fujitsu created a platform to make finding and sharing this kind of content easier (and less time consuming). With 700 employees from eight countries getting it board, it went on to increase <a href="https://www.oktopost.com/blog/3-key-benefits-of-an-employee-advocacy-program-a-fujitsu-success-story/" target="_blank">reach by 70%</a>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fujitsugrads?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fujitsugrads</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fujitsu?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Fujitsu</a> Today: internal Speed Networking - Thanks everyone for your time! <a href="https://t.co/Uzori2Vsm3">pic.twitter.com/Uzori2Vsm3</a></p> — Susann Wiessner (@SuWiessner) <a href="https://twitter.com/SuWiessner/status/997069446777884673?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 17, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Increase sales</h3> <p>As well as marketing material, content created by employees can also be used by sales teams to attract new leads and develop relationships. </p> <p>At the same time, sales people that happen to act as employee advocates themselves can be all the more powerful, using shared content on social to give prospective clients new opportunities to connect. The benefits of doing so are said to be huge, with research suggesting that sales people who use social media in their efforts achieve 78% more sales than those who don’t. </p> <p>It appears the benefits aren’t just for the individual either. Aberdeen Group reports that companies with formal employee advocacy programs have a <a href="https://getbambu.com/blog/employee-advocacy-increase-revenue/" target="_blank">26% increase</a> in year over year revenue.</p> <h3>Reinforcing brand values</h3> <p>Another big benefit of employee advocates is that they can be used to embody and reinforce a brand’s values, which in turn helps to create a much more powerful and authentic message.</p> <p>Lush is a particularly good example of this. The brand has a famously staunch set of brand values, ranging from its commitment to ethically sourced products to diversity in the workplace. </p> <p>Not only does this influence its brand marketing, it also informs its choice of employees, with the retailer typically employing people that align with its values and beliefs. This automatically increases the chances of employees championing the brand, as they already have an affinity and shared purpose.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4658/Lush_employee.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="527"></p> <p>Similarly, brands can capitalise on an employee’s ability to champion internal culture.</p> <p>For example, Reebok encourages staff to use the hashtag #fitasscompany when talking about the brand online, specifically when it comes to workplace perks like fitness classes and sporting initiatives. This helps to reinforce values as well as keep conversation about the brand relevant and related to sport. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">No better way to start the day than with some burpees!! Happy <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldBurpeeDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldBurpeeDay</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ReebokWomen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ReebokWomen</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ReebokCanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ReebokCanada</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FitAssCompany?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FitAssCompany</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FitFam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FitFam</a> <a href="https://t.co/ocQA0oeazK">pic.twitter.com/ocQA0oeazK</a></p> — Stephanie Lemeza (@StephLemeza17) <a href="https://twitter.com/StephLemeza17/status/786201727896784896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 12, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Tapping into expertise</h3> <p>In addition to content distribution, employees can be utilised for the purpose of content creation. There are two big reasons for making use of employee-generated content. First, with content (across all channels) requiring extensive time and resources to produce, it can be a great support for internal marketing teams. Second, it allows employees to utilise their own expertise to provide valuable insight into their brand or role.</p> <p>The National Trust uses this strategy, with Park Rangers (who undertake conservation work in parks) often featuring in online blogs and email communication.</p> <p>Similarly, B2B companies tend to use internal expertise to simplify and help consumers understand complicated topics. One example of this is IBM, which positions its employees as thought-leaders in their respective fields. It does this by highlighting knowledge and expertise in content on YouTube and other social channels. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WGsHe8Fx_Dg?ecver=1&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>The Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that this kind of employee advocacy can lead to greater confidence in an organisation, as people tend to place far more trust in technical experts rather than brand leaders.</p> <p>Similarly, it also promotes the sense that the company is willing to invest in the personal and professional development of its employees.</p> <h3>Creates a cycle of happiness</h3> <p>Lastly, it’s been suggested that employee advocacy programs can lead to employees becoming happier and more engaged in their roles. Research by Hinge found that <a href="https://hingemarketing.com/uploads/hinge-research-employee-advocacy.pdf" target="_blank">almost 86% of advocates</a> in some kind of formal program said that that being involved has had a positive impact on their career.</p> <p>This is likely the result of employees feeling more valued, as well as their being in a position to play an important role in the company's growing success.</p> <p>This can have a knock-on effect on employees' advocacy, leading employees to not only champion their brand in terms of its consumer-facing offering, but also as a place to work. </p> <p>Many brands are cottoning on to the benefits of using employees for talent acquisition. Mastercard is just one example, launching a dedicated ambassador program to allow staff to share content on social media relating to life at the company. Sky does something similar, encouraging employees to share content using the hashtag LifeAtSky on social networks like Twitter and Instagram.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Had fun working on some promotional screens on campus for the Royal Wedding. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RoyalWedding2018?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RoyalWedding2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lifeatsky?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lifeatsky</a> <a href="https://t.co/x6flYzBxmC">pic.twitter.com/x6flYzBxmC</a></p> — Nathan Griffiths (@nathangdesign) <a href="https://twitter.com/nathangdesign/status/997100960097894400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 17, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>By doing so, brands are able to continue the cycle of advocacy, promoting both their brand and its company culture.</p> <p><strong>Related reading:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69503-five-brands-putting-employees-at-the-heart-of-their-influencer-strategy" target="_blank">Five brands putting employees at the heart of their influencer strategy</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69161-micro-influencers-how-to-find-the-right-fit-for-your-brand" target="_blank">Micro-influencers: How to find the right fit for your brand</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69798 2018-05-14T11:00:00+01:00 2018-05-14T11:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of... three friends who founded an agency Ben Davis <p><em>(Remember to check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a> if you're looking for a new role yourself.)</em></p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em><strong>Shamus McNutt:</strong></em> FlowState Marketing is a digital marketing agency offering custom design and corporate identity products from athleisure wear apparel to promotional goods, websites, ads, banners and logos. FlowState has worked with over 300 brands including some of the biggest tech companies and breweries like SendGrid, HomeAdvisor, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Ibotta, Breckenridge Brewery, iHeart Radio, Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum and many more.</p> <p>At FlowState, we enable our clients to grow and thrive by giving them a voice to their customers and community, an identity others will recognize, and branded goods that stand out in the crowd. We do this by delivering high-value, results-driven goods and services that are custom built for each client for them to succeed in meeting their business goals.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM:</strong></em> We are:</p> <ul> <li>Shamus McNutt - President &amp; Co-Founder</li> <li>Ben Thomson - Chief Operating Officer &amp; Co-Founder</li> <li>Mark Grubbs - Creative Director &amp; Co-Founder</li> </ul> <p>We all live and work together so the reporting structure is pretty fluid.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4391/FlowState_615.png" alt="flowstate team" width="615" height="308"></p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>A large part of being an effective leader, role model and entrepreneur is organization. Organization is the key to our success. At FlowState, we put an immense amount of effort into optimizing systems, increasing efficiencies, and the bottom line.</p> <p>Positivity is also a MUST in our workplace and we hire accordingly. As founders, we have to display a positive outlook everyday since our employees look up to us.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Tell us about a typical working day…</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>A typical work day starts at 6am or 7am and goes until about 8pm. We're always hustling, taking meetings, designing something original, breaking into new accounts, meeting other professionals who can help us level up, and creating a healthy work atmosphere for our employees.</p> <p>It was easy to do when we had four employees. Now we're at 17 in just two years! You can imagine there are a lot of personalities but we put a heavy emphasis on hiring smart so there’s a great camaraderie amongst the team.  </p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>We truly love supporting the professional and personal development of our employees! We match individual skills to the most suitable positions and continually help our team identify their own career paths. As a result, our workplace thrives and we have an extremely low attrition rate.</p> <p>We also love working with our clients to come up with a creative new idea or concept that will propel their brand even further. Whether it’s <a href="https://www.flowstatemarketing.com/breckenridge-brewery-casestudy/">a custom embroidered hat for Breckenridge Brewery</a>, an interactive e-commerce website for <a href="https://prtwheels.com/">PRT Wheels</a> or hand stitched, stamped leather koozies for CoreSite and Microsoft Azure.</p> <p>Nothing sucks about our job to be honest... We wouldn't be working the hours we do if we didn't love it. There’s no such thing as a sucky Monday anymore.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>Our goal in 2018 is to grow our team of 17 to about 25, double our sales/revenue to $4.3M, and increase profitability to between 12-18%. In 2017, we moved out of our basement, hired 13 people, and increased our revenue from $500K to $2.2M but it wasn’t without its setbacks. We worked all day and then built up our office at night with hammers and nails (literally). We maxed out our lines of credit and didn’t have funds to hire a legal team so many of our first marketing contracts were handshake deals.</p> <p>It was worth it because in the end, we’ve retained 95% of all the marketing clients we’ve serviced who repeatedly come back to us again and again. This is key for us, repeat business and referrals.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>FlowState Marketing is a company that thrives on automation to manage our workflows – it's how we have grown so quickly from $500 in revenue in our first year to over $2 million in our second year. Over 95% of our employees – including all three founders – are under the age of 30. We grew up with automation platforms, mobile devices and project management systems, so utilizing online resources is second nature.</p> <p>We LOVE Adobe illustrator, Prosperworks CRM, Slack, Asana &amp; Teamwork. These are the essential tech tools that help our team effectively organize and communicate.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>How did you get into the agency world, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>All three of us – Mark, Shamus and Ben – studied mechanical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. During our senior year, we saw countless people pursue a paycheck over doing what they love and began to feel trapped by our own preset path to engineering. We put our heads together and in 2013, launched <a href="https://belongdesigns.com/">Belong Designs</a>, a lifestyle apparel brand inspiring people to follow their true passions and do what they love.</p> <p>What began as a passion project quickly grew into a full business venture. As other companies (many our clients) saw our rapid growth through our own in-house marketing, they sought out our help to improve their own digital presence and corporate apparel. As more digital marketing inquiries flooded in, we realized what we needed to do – create a sister company with the sole purpose of offering these services. In January 2016, we launched FlowState Marketing.</p> <p>FlowState and all of our employees live by the same mantra: "Follow your passion, do what you love, find where you belong.”</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Which brand campaigns have you admired recently?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>We LOVED the <a href="https://www.heineken.com/gb/agegateway?returnurl=%2fgb%2fopen-your-world">Heineken "Open Your World" campaign</a>. It was breathtaking – so well executed and impactful.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Do you have any advice for people considering starting an agency?</h4> <p><em><strong>SM: </strong></em>Get ready for many sleepless nights, incredibly fun happy hours (both with clients and employees), the struggles of outgrowing your offices (we're on our third), and the fear of clearing payroll by the skin of your teeth on a bootstrapped budget. We had a $10,000 credit line through Wells Fargo for the first two years we were in business... It was wild.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-digital-marketing/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4394/Fast_Track_Marketing_Course_Blog.png" alt="fast track training for beginners" width="615" height="325"></a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70004 2018-05-10T10:05:00+01:00 2018-05-10T10:05:00+01:00 Why career progression is broken in digital marketing agencies Clark Boyd <p>Solutions are prioritized over questions; ‘quick wins’ over long-term thinking; and meaningless titles over genuine knowledge.</p> <p>We want simplicity without enduring the necessary complexity to get there. But if we’re always grabbing ‘low-hanging fruit’, true progress will remain beyond our grasp.</p> <p>During my years at digital marketing agencies, I observed some interesting phenomena in this regard. The agencies I worked at differed greatly in their size and sophistication, which provides a useful frame of reference.</p> <p>As a relatively nascent discipline, there are no set guidelines for managing the progression of what is quite a sizeable digital marketing workforce. I felt this on a personal level, but I witnessed it across large groups of colleagues too.</p> <blockquote> <p>Where will the PPC account managers of today be in 40 years? Is ‘client strategy’ a 50-year career?</p> </blockquote> <p>Not everyone can be CEO by 30, so we need some new ideas to keep people motivated and moving forward.</p> <p>Predictably, we tend to reach for easy answers rather than engaging directly with a problem that won't just go away.</p> <p>People are promoted before they are ready, just to appease staff in the immediate short-term. </p> <p>I have recently enjoyed a varied and rewarding year working for myself, and in my attempts to re-skill and move into more ambitious areas like data analysis and teaching, I have a lingering sense of disappointment with the lack of progress I achieved in my last permanent role. Yet, I also have an increased sense of understanding when considering some important questions. </p> <p><strong>Namely:</strong></p> <ul> <li>How can we balance accelerated career progression with increased maturity and leadership skills?</li> <li>Are we acting in staff’s long-term interests by promoting them so quickly?</li> <li>Is it truly possible to specialize and master one area of digital marketing, then transfer to a ‘cross-channel’ role?</li> <li>How much time should we spend addressing our weaknesses, as opposed to accentuating our strengths?</li> <li>What constitutes effective leadership in a culture that demands instant reward?</li> </ul> <p>I questioned these areas while working as a full-time employee, but was too close to the scene to consider it with anything other than pure subjectivity.</p> <p>Moreover, the experience of working at digital marketing agencies remains fresh enough for me to root any ruminations at least partly in the empirical rather than the purely ideal.</p> <h3>How we got here</h3> <p>We are all finding our feet in the digital world, but not everyone cares to admit it.</p> <p>This is an industry built on promises to answer long-lasting questions, such as the true return on marketing spend. It makes for great sales speak, but as an industry we have not questioned the underpinnings of our work nearly enough. </p> <p>A healthy dialogue is emerging though, as we wrestle with the challenges of accurate attribution, click fraud, and the true meaning of a ‘customer-centric’ digital business model. Search, in particular, is becoming a much more interesting discipline as AI leads us towards accurate visual and voice search.</p> <p>In short, the industry is growing up. </p> <p>Many traditional marketers have moved into the digital space, but many others have entered a digital marketing role straight from college. </p> <p>This sizeable workforce plays host to a range of uncertainties and imbalances. For example, some of the most knowledgeable digital marketers within a company are also those with the least work experience.</p> <p>This occurs because they have specialized in an area of digital and are abreast of the latest developments, while those further up the chain simply do not have the time to do so. This younger generation also does not even recognize a distinction between the digital and the analogue. </p> <p>Simultaneously, the significance of digital continues to grow. This places greater emphasis on the skills that digital specialists possess.</p> <p>The historical models for career progression no longer fit, as a result. In their place, nothing of true merit has been proposed. I have worked at agencies that have discussed the ‘industrialization’ of digital marketing within their workforce, which remains a spectacular missing of the point.</p> <p>Turning people into machines won’t work; nor will the reverse. Something will always be lost in transition.</p> <p>Throw in the stereotypical (but oft accurate) view of the younger generation as more demanding than their older counterparts and we end up with 25 year-old heads of department.</p> <p>There is nothing innately wrong with this and some of the typical objections tend to come from those who simply wish they had been granted the same responsibility at such an inchoate stage of their development.</p> <p>We do, however, have a duty to nurture careers and create rounded leaders with a broad range of skills, especially the softer skills such as people management. Throwing people in at the deep end as ‘reward’ for excelling at their specialism is short-sighted and possibly even negligent.</p> <p>I have experienced this first-hand and do not pretend to have the right answers. That said, I’ve certainly encountered some of the wrong ones.</p> <p><strong>The core question that sits with me is: how can we take a specialist in one area of digital marketing and turn them into an expert in multiple channels, with the ability not only to set cross-discipline strategy but also lead a team?</strong></p> <p>It is a question requiring a thoughtful answer, because this situation is rarely just hypothetical.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4501/Clark_Boyd.png" alt="clark boyd" width="600" height="300"></p> <h3>‘Branching out’</h3> <p>A marketer that performs exceptionally in one area of digital - paid social, for example - will reach a point where they inevitably want to ‘branch out’ and become more ‘holistic’. </p> <p>If that sounds vague, it’s because it is. It’s also the best we have and I would posit that it’s not good enough.</p> <p>In lieu of an agreed and effective language to discuss these challenges, we are left with platitudes and nebulous promises of progression.</p> <p>If one is promoted to head of paid social by the age of, say, 25 years old, there is still a lot of road left to run in that particular career. Having received so many promotions in so few years, expectations have been set high. Such an ambitious person will naturally start looking for the next rung on the ladder and will not want to stay in situ for too long.</p> <p>A convenient answer would be that this is an ever-developing field and new opportunities will always open up. Paid social will keep evolving and new specialisms we haven’t even thought of yet will spring up, too.</p> <p>That is overly convenient, however.</p> <p>We need to tie progression to more than just a hierarchy if we are to prepare people to avail of an uncertain, but potentially lucrative, future.</p> <p>Perhaps the most worrying trend I have seen in relation to career development in this industry is the creation of ‘cross-channel’ teams without any genuine thought on how staff will be prepared for these roles. </p> <p>In the immediate short term, this can satiate the desire of high-performers to progress their careers.</p> <p>At some agencies, senior managers prefer to take the easy route rather than act in staff’s long-term interests. Promotions and titles are handed out at the slightest hint of restlessness, which actually can put staff at something of an impasse. Many interview elsewhere but are rejected due to their lack of knowledge, or offered less senior roles in line with their actual experience. As a result, they end up staying.</p> <p>Perhaps some founders do not know better and are just unequipped to run a business, but therein lies another challenge. Anyone can start an agency and get a few clients, so many do so in the hope a lucrative earn-out down the line.</p> <p>The real problem here, from my perspective, is that this brazen greed stunts the development of so many young professionals. Once people reach that glass ceiling of ‘director’ or ‘head of’, the next objective is to work on other areas of digital marketing. The wish is easily granted, but this is often done myopically.  </p> <p>It is the responsibility of managers to advise their staff and sometimes the best advice is for them to stay in their departments, hone their craft, and learn to nurture other people’s development. </p> <p>The challenge here is that the employee may simply take the opportunity to ‘branch out’ at a rival agency, for more pay and a better title.</p> <p>Of course, providing a sense of purpose beyond the material will help to engage staff and boost retention rates. As simple as that sounds, many agencies have not yet realized this. Such an approach buys time, and with time can come development. </p> <p>However, on the whole, we seem to have bought into the narrative that we specialize first, then generalize soon after. Analyst -&gt; Account executive -&gt; Account manager -&gt; Director -&gt; Head of -&gt; [Insert title with either ‘client’ or ‘strategy’ in it].</p> <p>That may be fine in and of itself; but if it is inevitable that this is the path people will tread, how can we ensure that they do so successfully? </p> <p>After all, the gravitational pull of our original specialism is hard to resist, as we innately know that this is where we can add most value.</p> <p>I have attended many meetings with a client services director (or similar) and one can detect within the first five minutes what their true specialism is. They have simply been re-badged ‘holistic’, but they are in fact a PPC expert with additional responsibilities.</p> <p>When negotiating contracts between agencies and clients, it is ironic that ‘Client Strategy’ is the line item I have most frequently been asked to remove. One would imagine that this would appeal instinctively to clients, but many are skeptical about what exactly this person will add.</p> <p>It is important to note that this is not born of an a priori reality. These opinions are the result of lived experience, of ‘client services’ reduced to the role of note-taker, meeting-room-booker, next-steps-coordinator.</p> <h3>How can we overcome these challenges?</h3> <p>To my mind, the answer lies in a more enlightened approach to what we do and how we do it. Creating a culture of curiosity, of an enjoyment in the pursuit of knowledge over its saleable acquisition, is key to achieving this.</p> <p>We also learn by doing, of course. I have taken on projects in a range of digital marketing disciplines in the last 12 months and have learned more through this approach than I would have from reading articles or listening into meetings. I have also been able to take in-depth courses without having to worry about my timesheets.</p> <p>The problem is that this is not a luxury that would have been afforded me at many agencies. Staff are billable hours; time spent figuring out how to run a display campaign is not particularly bankable - at least not when the learner is also on a hefty pay packet.</p> <p>We must deliver outcomes, all the time.</p> <p>One potential answer has lain in the field of data analysis.</p> <p>By developing a base level of data literacy across an organization, there is at least a common vocabulary for discussing ideas in a reasonably objective manner.</p> <p>It would also be possible to send staff on an external ‘boot camp’ to boost their skills in the shortest possible time. I do think this type of training has value, but only as part of a broader plan. It delivers a ‘good ROI’ in a spreadsheet, but we are dealing with intangibles here and intangibles do not fit so readily into Excel.</p> <p>Perhaps there, we have our answer. </p> <p>When I have raised these questions, it has been rare to see a senior leader lift their head from their laptop. It has been rarer still to witness or participate in a rewarding discussion. If we only want shortcuts, we’ll end up with lesser experiences.</p> <p>I wrote an article like this one a few years ago and was asked by a CEO, "But what's your point? Summarize it for me." Sometimes, a situation is beyond salvation.</p> <p>The aim is not to be the world’s greatest expert in all areas of digital. That would be fantastic, but it would be impossible to maintain this heightened level of knowledge across so many ever-changing disciplines, if it could ever even be attained.</p> <p>Rather, the aim is to satiate an innate passion for knowledge and channel this into the development of sophisticated critical faculties. That seems as ‘future-proof’ a plan as any.</p> <h3>What I’ve done</h3> <p>When I left my first digital marketing agency, where I had spent five pretty happy and successful years, I had vague ambitions of ‘branching out’ beyond SEO. </p> <p>I did not need to leave in order to fulfil that ambition, as it would have been possible to move into a cross-channel team in the relatively short term. Simply changing title does not equate to possessing new skills, however. I didn't think I could do justice to such a role just yet.</p> <p>Perhaps I required some space to reflect on what exactly it meant to move into such a role, beyond simply taking on a new title that I would be ill-equipped to justify. Perhaps I needed a new environment and a fresh start.</p> <p>Personal pride is a factor in my desire to work on my development in isolation. When one has developed into an advanced professional in one area, it is difficult to assume the role of the beginner again. </p> <p>Without starting from the bottom, it is also impossible to understand the details of each practice. This has been easier to do on my own than it would have been within a large company.</p> <p>From an agency perspective, this is an understandably difficult paradox to resolve. It may even be insoluble, placed in a wider societal context. Healthy discussion and an emphasis on developing both hard and soft skills will only help, I believe.</p> <p>In a minority of companies, however, to pose questions without also providing answers is to be ‘troublesome’. If one knew the answer, one wouldn’t pose the question, but that’s precisely what some leaders want.</p> <blockquote> <p>Questions put strain on a straining infrastructure.</p> <p>Answers - even wrong ones - are comforting in their certainty.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is, unfortunately, entirely lost on those who claim their business is built on ‘disruption’ and ‘challenging the status quo’. Nothing could be more conformist than some of the digital agencies I have observed. One wonders why they would truly want things to stay as they are, other than to prop up their own positions. </p> <p>Since I am no longer obliged to spew platitudes (not that I ever did so with conviction), there is room to ruminate, to question, to accept that there need not be a ‘quick win’ or ‘actionable outcome’ at the end.</p> <p>Ironically, it will lead me to better answers. My life is infinitely richer for that.</p> <p><em><strong>Needless to say, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/">Econsultancy offers a range of training courses</a> if, like Clark, you are looking to branch out.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69823 2018-02-26T12:01:42+00:00 2018-02-26T12:01:42+00:00 How digital helped Domino's overtake Pizza Hut Patricio Robles <p>While Domino's ascendancy to the global pizza throne was expected given <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63017-can-pizza-hut-catch-up-with-dominos-online">Pizza Hut's late digital start</a>, the milestone is a demonstration of just how important digital can be to businesses that even little more than a decade ago might have seemed far more insulated from digital disruption than others.</p> <p>Here's a look at some of the key ways Domino's embraced digital and used it to grow.</p> <h3>Digital ordering</h3> <p>Domino's recognized early that the internet would critical to its business and launched digital ordering a decade ago in 2008. Today, it has a large portfolio of digital ordering tools, including a Domino's Tracker that provides customers with real-time tracking of their orders from start to finish and a Pizza Profile feature that gives customers the ability to save all their personal information, such as delivery address and payment method, to speed their orders. </p> <p>Customers can also create an Easy Order profile, which represents their favorite order. Once created, customers can place their favorite order in less than a minute.</p> <p>The most important thing about Domino's digital ordering tools is that they're not just available on desktop and through common mobile platforms like iOS and Android. Instead, they're available across a multitude of platforms, including SMS, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68184-domino-s-introduces-dom-the-pizza-bot-for-facebook-messenger">Facebook Messenger</a>, Twitter, Slack, Ford Sync, Apple Watch, Android Wear, Pebble and Samsung Smart TV.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/2485/dominos-smartwatch-app-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="247"></p> <p>Domino's calls its cross-device and cross-platform technology Domino's Anyware and its purpose is simple: make it possible for customers to order pizza anywhere, anytime with as little friction as possible. Whether a customer wants to order using a popular voice-driven smart speaker or with an emoji on Twitter, Domino's has them covered. </p> <p>That has proven critical to keeping Domino's popular with younger consumers, many of whom have demonstrated a preference for brands that allow them to seamlessly engage across platforms.</p> <h3>Social</h3> <p>In 2009, Domino's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/business/media/16dominos.html">got a crash course in social media crisis management</a> when two of its employees filmed a disgusting prank while on the job. The video they posted to YouTube went viral, putting Domino's in a very tough spot.</p> <p>Despite the fact it was no master of social media yet, the company did what many companies have failed to do when faced with a crisis: it responded aggressively as quickly as it could. It took quick action to fire the employees in question, set up a Twitter account so that it could engage in the conversation customers were having on the then still nascent social platform, and published a video with its CEO in which he addressed the matter.</p> <p>Domino's would go on to use social to good effect later that same year when it launched <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69597-10-deliciously-creative-domino-s-pizza-marketing-campaigns">its Pizza Turnaround campaign</a>, which incorporated the #newpizza hashtag. The campaign generated a lot of buzz and for good reason: in it, Domino's admitted that its pizza sucked and wanted the world to know that it had reinvented its product to make it not suck. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AH5R56jILag?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>While obviously bold in a risky way, the campaign was lauded for its honesty and was an overall hit with consumers on social platforms.</p> <h3>Customer experience</h3> <p>Competition for companies like Domino's is rife – there are over 60,000 pizzerias in the U.S. alone – and that means customer experience is critical for large chains like Domino's. </p> <p>One area where Domino's focus on maintaining a high quality, consistent customer experience can be best seen is in its commitment to using employee drivers to deliver pizzas. </p> <p>While Pizza Hut recently partnered with GrubHub for online orders and delivery, and invested $200m in the company, Domino's <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/02/20/dominos-q-4-earnings-missed-analysts-sales-estimates/354126002/">is adamant</a> that third parties won't ever come between it and its customers.</p> <p>"The efficiency of the delivery process is something we know and understand very, very well. That's not something you’re ever going to see us outsource," Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle stated. "The only way to bring a long-term competitive advantage is to do it yourself."</p> <h3>Hard technology</h3> <p>While Domino's has no plans to outsource delivery, one day of course pizzas might effectively deliver themselves thanks to self-driving cars. This possibility could obviously help Domino's bottom line, so last year, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/08/28/ford-and-dominos-team-up-test-driverless-pizza-delivery/610350001/">Domino's teamed up with Ford</a> and launched a pizza delivery test using a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle. </p> <p>Randomly-selected customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan were given the opportunity to participate in the test, which also included another new technology: a Domino’s Heatwave Compartment located inside the self-driving car. This experimental device allows customers to retrieve their pizzas upon delivery using a unique code that unlocks the compartment.</p> <p>It wasn't the first time that Domino's had experimented with the application of new technology for deliveries. It had previously built a prototype delivery car, <a href="http://www.adweek.com/creativity/dominos-just-unveiled-radical-pizza-delivery-car-took-4-years-build-167707/">dubbed the DXP</a>, which contained a warming oven capable of holding 80 pizzas as well as storage for sides, dipping sauces and bottles of soda. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/2484/dominos-dxp-chevrolet-spark-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="312"></p> <h3>Staffing</h3> <p>Domino's is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which thanks to the presence of the University of Michigan, is fast becoming one of the Midwest's most promising innovation and tech hubs. That has no doubt helped Domino's orient its employee ranks to a culture of innovation.</p> <p>According to Domino’s CEO Doyle, "we are as much a tech company as we are a pizza company" and that is evidenced by the fact that at Domino's headquarters, half of its 800 employees work in software and analytics.</p> <p>While having a large digital staff doesn't necessarily guarantee that a company will be innovative, innovation is hard to achieve without adequate talent and Domino’s results suggest the company's investment in building a digital-heavy staff has paid off handsomely.</p> <p><em><strong>Interested in customer experience? Econsultancy subscribers can download our Best Practice Guide – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69823-how-digital-helped-domino-s-overtake-pizza-hut/edit/Implementing%20a%20Customer%20Experience%20(CX)%20Strategy%20Best%20Practice%20Guide">Implementing a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy</a></strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69807 2018-02-16T12:23:16+00:00 2018-02-16T12:23:16+00:00 The best digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>Consumers concerned about privacy and accuracy of chatbots</h3> <p>While business leaders are increasingly keen to invest in artificial intelligence, PointSource suggests that consumers are not entirely on board with the technology.</p> <p>Research has revealed that people have a number of key concerns about chatbots in particular, with the top three being privacy, speed, and friction.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,000 people in the US, <a href="https://digital.pointsource.com/acton/media/21911/2018-artificial-intelligence-and-chatbot-report?utm_term=2018%20Artificial%20Intelligence%20and%20Chatbot%20Report&amp;utm_campaign=Thank%20you%20for%20downloading%21&amp;utm_content=email&amp;utm_source=Act-On+Software&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;sid=TV2:I3ipIXtBi" target="_blank">PointSource found</a> that data privacy and security is top of mind for 41% of consumers while using chatbots. 59% say they grow frustrated if a chatbot doesn’t provide a solution, while 51% of consumers anticipate frustrations around chatbots not understanding what they’re looking for.</p> <p><strong>More on intelligent assistants:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69797-how-ai-is-transforming-healthcare/" target="_blank">How AI is transforming healthcare</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry" target="_blank">The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry</a></li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2309/chatbots.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="459"></p> <h3>93% of Data Scientist vacancies offer wages over the UK average</h3> <p>With the role of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68933-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-data-scientist-in-an-ai-company">Data Scientist</a> being tipped as one of the most in-demand jobs of the future, <a href="https://joblift.co.uk/Press/data-scientists-post-graduate-qualifications-requested-in-45-of-job-advertisements-and-over-50-of-positions-advertised-salaries-over-50000" target="_blank">Joblift has analysed</a> relating recruiting trends in the UK. </p> <p>Results show that there have been 8,672 Data Scientist vacancies posted in the UK in the last 12 months. These positions have seen an average monthly increase of 3% - this is in comparison to an average 2% increase in the whole UK job market each month.</p> <p>In terms of salaries, the study shows that just 7% of all job vacancies stated a salary below £30,000, meaning at least 93% of Data Scientist vacancies offered pay significantly higher than the UK’s average wage of £28,6001.</p> <p>Elsewhere, post-graduate studies were requested in 45% of job ads, and knowledge of programming systems was requested in 83% of job advertisements.</p> <h3>The most exciting prospect in marketing? Personalised experiences in realtime</h3> <p>Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2018-digital-trends/">2018 Digital Trends</a> survey report, in association with Adobe, reveals that marketers, when asked about martech prospects over the next three years, are most excited about delivering personalised experiences in realtime (36% of respondents).</p> <p>18% declared most excitement was in AI, 15% AR and VR, 13% connected things and 6% voice technology.</p> <p>There's plenty more in the report – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69805-45-of-marketers-cite-content-experience-management-as-top-priority-in-2018/">a summary here</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2289/AI_potential.JPG" alt="exciting prospects marketing" width="615"></p> <h3>71% of UK public unaware influencer marketing regulations exist</h3> <p style="font-weight: 400;">A <a href="https://www.prizeology.com/whitepaper/influencer/" target="_blank">new report</a> by Prizeology has revealed how the general public perceives rules and regulations around influencer marketing. </p> <p style="font-weight: 400;">Based on the responses of over 2,000 members of the public, it suggests that 71% wrongly believe that there are no regulations surrounding influencer marketing. What’s more, 61% believe that influencers do not have to state that they have been paid to talk about a product.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400;">Despite this, the general public vehemently believe that they should be informed if people are being paid to promote products. 88% of the general public agreed with this statement, and 60% agree that their perception of a brand is improved when they are transparent about product promotion.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400;">Finally, there is also a significant lack of understanding when it comes how influencers might indicate a commercial relationship, with 49% of people saying they are unaware of the hashtags and language that must be used. </p> <p style="font-weight: 400;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2310/instagram.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <p><strong>More on influencer marketing:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69697-is-the-influencer-marketing-bubble-set-to-burst" target="_blank">Is the influencer marketing bubble set to burst?</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69620-only-29-of-influencer-campaigns-use-trackable-urls-for-attribution" target="_blank">Only 29% of influencer campaigns use trackable URLs for attribution</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69196-11-impressive-influencer-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">11 impressive influencer marketing campaigns</a></li> </ul> <h3>A superior UX is not the only key to success</h3> <p>A new study by <a href="http://www.intermarketingonline.com/media/viewpdf/Charisma-Index--tracks-resilience-of-70-global-brands/" target="_blank">The Charisma Consortium</a> suggests that a great user experience is not necessarily the key to success, as damaged brand integrity can override public perception. This comes from an online survey of 10,000 consumers across four markets.</p> <p>The research - which examines brand resilience across six dimensions of consciousness, purpose, integrity, generosity, courage, and delivery – suggests that dynamic relationships with consumers is the real difference between brief popularity and long-term loyalty.</p> <p>When it comes to brands with the best capabilities, Lego was named as number one, consistently delighting customers across the board. Conversely, FIFA was named the brand with the lowest score. </p> <p>Elsewhere, Apple just scrapes into the top 10 in the US and 16th in the UK. Despite impressing on innovation, poor performance on delivery and a lack of integrity and generosity means that it has seemingly lost consumer favour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2307/charisma.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="490"></p> <h3>Advertisers need to get more creative</h3> <p>According to Marin’s <a href="http://www.marinsoftware.com/resources/whitepapers/q4-2017-digital-benchmark-report?trackid=70138000001F7duAAC&amp;tactic=WW-US-US-N-CP-A-1801-Email_3-OBEM-1453&amp;utm_source=Outbound_EmailCampaign&amp;utm_medium=HTML&amp;utm_campaign=WW_1801_CP_A_CRO_N_CR_Benchmark_Report_2017_Q4&amp;mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTjJFNE1EZ3pOelJoWmpBMiIsInQiOiJEdnFkeEhycFJpZ0kwXC9OTFVxdzFqbWVXdzcxR3oxMW1vanQzUE1jaFBRYnZmbkZrSzdybTEzblI4MVZqaGZzendXblVcL3J3RDVJMFUrd2hMVXlwUHQ4RlBEd1FpejY4ZHQ0UGxJSFQzeVFTcW5NdkF6ZEZqK01UcytiT2FSK2htIn0%3D" target="_blank">latest benchmark report</a>, advertisers are failing to include enough creative in Google ads, having seen a 3% increase in creative-light ad groups during Q4 2017. </p> <p>The report highlights how this could be damaging engagement, as Google's improved creative rotation technology has previously been proven to reward advertisers who use three or more ads per ad group with increased clicks and impressions.</p> <p>Elsewhere, Marin reveals how retailers are seeing greater success with Google Shopping. It suggests there has been a steady increase in clicks and click share in the space of a year. </p> <p><strong>More on Google:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68775-retailers-beware-amazon-could-be-about-to-shake-up-google-plas/" target="_blank">Retailers beware, Amazon could be about to shake up Google PLAs</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68264-six-clever-ways-to-optimise-google-shopping-campaigns" target="_blank">Six clever ways to optimise Google Shopping campaigns</a></li> </ul> <h3>Lack of consumer confidence delays purchases by up to six months</h3> <p>New research by PushOn has revealed that 24% of customers spend up to six months researching products before making a considered purchase. With some taking even longer than this to buy, the main reason cited is a lack of confidence in brands and services. </p> <p>PushOn also highlights the prevalence of ‘webrooming’, as 79% of customers say they have gone in store to make a final purchase so they can see what an item looks like in reality. </p> <p>Meanwhile, 70% say they are happy to buy an expensive product online, but only after they have visited a store to see it in person.</p> <p>Other key findings from <a href="https://www.pushon.co.uk/ecommerce/showrooming-webrooming-new-report/" target="_blank">the report</a> include the fact that 39% of customers say the maximum they are willing to spend online is £1000, while 40% say they would like to use AR technology to test a product before they buy it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2306/webrooming.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="242"></p> <p><strong>Related articles:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69446-how-can-brands-combat-a-lack-of-consumer-trust" target="_blank">How can brands combat a lack of consumer trust?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69131-how-shopping-malls-are-enticing-consumers-offline" target="_blank">How shopping malls are enticing consumers offline</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69344 2017-09-28T10:00:00+01:00 2017-09-28T10:00:00+01:00 How to keep your brand safe in a programmatic world: A practical guide Ray Jenkin <p>Thought pieces and tips on tackling brand safety are often highly technical or go deep into the weeds on specific areas of brand safety technology, leaving those looking to make their first move a bit bewildered.</p> <p>This post provides advertisers and agencies with broad actionable steps they can take to start to define, implement and adjust protective measures, in light of both brand and business requirements.</p> <h3>1. Define your programmatic brand safety policy</h3> <p>A clear, unambiguous policy helps your vendor and agency partners execute brand safety measures more accurately and effectively. It is key to align your programmatic brand safety policy with your business goals, marketing goals, brand values and industry/sector considerations and then translate these into practical scenarios.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9236/safe.jpg" alt="" width="600"></p> <p>For example, having an airline appear alongside or in content linked to an aeroplane accident, terrorist attack or delay would not engender trust in the brand, but instead risk the brand's reputation through association and miscommunication.</p> <p>Understanding the tradeoffs of enforcing these policies and their impact on your marketing goals is vital. You’ve got to ask yourself if they are at odds, or if there is a compromise you are willing and able to make.</p> <p>When formulating and documenting your policy, ensure there is someone present with a good understanding of the programmatic buying landscape to provide input on the likely implications of enforcing a policy, on implementation, pricing and delivery of media.</p> <p>Don’t be scared to tweak it, learning as you go along; capturing updates will only reinforce your commitment. But be careful not to forget to share your policy with all your media delivery partners, especially with any amendments you may make – you and your partners should remain accountable.</p> <p>Additionally, strong communication, i.e. keeping your media delivery partners up-to-date, may prevent any costly misunderstandings.</p> <p>Lastly, in order to fully understand where success lies: when your brand is safe, find the right metrics to measure your policy. Calibrate the measurements with any historic data you may have, and be ready and willing to adjust based on guidance from agencies and vendors on industry benchmarks. For example, you may measure the percentage of blocked ads that fell into brand-sensitive categories.</p> <h3>2. Tips to help shape and enforce your policy</h3> <p>When shaping and enforcing your policy, consider your agency and/or vendor’s best practice and trade body memberships. Ask yourself, have the adtech vendors, programmatic trading partners and media owners you work with defined their own policies and frameworks to protect your brand? And are they audited and accredited by trade bodies such as JICWEBS in the UK and the Media Ratings Council (MRC) in the US?</p> <p>Additionally, to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of your policies, ensure any media partners are able to show how they will implement and enforce them, as well as comply with your metrics, measuring well against your standards. Having a holistic implementation and enforcement across a much wider audience will act as a testimony to your policy’s strength.</p> <p>It important to keep in mind what technology is being used by your vendors and agencies to ensure brand safety as well. A plethora of brand safety technology is now available to provide you with transparency on where your ads are being seen.</p> <p>Consider owning this adtech vendor relationship yourself so you can control and monitor your brand safety with more standardisation across your media plan. And for companies undertaking the programmatic media buying on your behalf, ask for their internal human processes on areas such as inventory selection, black and whitelisting, audit processes and peer review.</p> <p>Don’t underestimate the human element in the implementation of technology – when used efficiently it will do nothing but benefit you.</p> <p>Whether you own the demand side platform (DSP) relationship or your vendor or agency does, be sure to understand what that company does to filter the inventory before it becomes available for buying. Question how they categorise their inventory and what measures are built into their buying platforms to ensure your policy can be implemented – consistency amongst all operations, inside and outside of your company, is key!</p> <p>You should therefore also ensure your vendors are able to provide you with ongoing reporting and data to help you evaluate implementation – this will allow you to make adjustments and benchmark your policies on all fronts.</p> <h3>3. Implement internal and external measures to enforce your brand safety</h3> <p>Appoint someone to be accountable for programmatic brand safety.</p> <p>This person should lead on the distribution, implementation and adjustment of your policy, keep up-to-date with industry best practice and technological developments, measure vendors and agencies on their ability to adhere to your policy and respond in a timely and efficient manner when there is an extraordinary event such as negative press, a world event or controversial issue.</p> <p>Having someone accountable for programmatic brand safety will provide clearer lines of communication on a day-to-day basis, allowing for speed-to-market on brand related issues and acting as an incentive for said person to be an advocate for best practice inside and outside of your company.  </p> <h3>In conclusion... </h3> <p>The devil is in the detail, but building a clear framework of what your brand stands for, what your goals are and in turn what your brand safety policy should reflect means you can find the right partner fit across all areas of your media activity.</p> <p>Furthermore, these partners will then have a clearer idea of how they need to be prepared to work with you both through process and technology.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69344-how-to-keep-your-brand-safe-in-a-programmatic-world-a-practical-guide/edit/"><em>The CMO's Guide to Programmatic</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65677-a-super-accessible-beginner-s-guide-to-programmatic-buying-and-rtb"><em>A super accessible beginner’s guide to programmatic buying and RTB</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68650-the-future-of-programmatic-2017-and-beyond"><em>The future of programmatic: 2017 and beyond</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69402 2017-09-13T12:29:00+01:00 2017-09-13T12:29:00+01:00 Save the recruitment fees: Focus on process & culture, not more resources James Hammersley <p>Yet one of the observations we would have of many organisations is that they are not short of resources. You might think then that the issue is a shortage of the ‘right’ people, but that’s not necessarily true either.</p> <p>I have begun to wonder whether part of the problem is that as ecommerce develops we are less and less sure about what it is we need. Under these circumstances, particularly if we are being pushed for performance improvements, instincts encourage us to look for more heads and I think that counting heads is the wrong place to start.</p> <p>Our experience suggests that heads are the last things to worry about. Where you need to start is with how you want to work. This can be split into three things:</p> <h4><strong>1. Culture</strong></h4> <p>Organisations can behave badly, or at least the people in them can. In ecommerce we need everyone to work together, quite often including support functions such as legal and compliance as well as the more obvious IT and marketing.</p> <p>Function-first cultures abound in many places and these can at best slow down efforts to improve performance and at worst militate against them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8923/badly.png" alt="" width="508" height="254"></p> <p><em>For more on this point, download Econsultancy's guide to <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/building-a-digital-culture">Building A Digital Culture</a>.</em></p> <p><strong>2. Processes</strong></p> <p>Part of the reason why key functions can impact adversely on ecommerce teams is that there is no shared process to underpin roles and expectations. This gives permission for ‘localism’ and enables turf wars and the metaphorical stamping of feet.</p> <p><strong>3. Expert-led thinking</strong></p> <p>Experts in our world are often the cause of failure rather than the answer to a problem. I don’t mean specialists – these are generally very useful to have as they bring expertise and specific skills to help resolve problems.  </p> <p>I’m referring to the self-described ‘expert’ that does seem to exist in many ecommerce teams. You know the types, they start their contributions with phrases like: ‘as a UX expert’ and throw all the jargon in that allow the rest of us to play digital bingo as they talk.</p> <h3>The solution</h3> <p>Generally speaking, if you want to build a high-performing ecommerce team then you will need to be active in your management of culture, processes and egos. In immature functions this is a real challenge but if you get this right, it opens up significant opportunities to be quite radical in resourcing.</p> <p><strong>Cultures need to be customer-centric.</strong> They need to value, recognise and reward constant curiosity about the customer in the market as well as the current customer. They need to be driven by a desire to understand why people do and do not buy or become a lead or self-serve. Cultures that work best in ecommerce are curious, open, learning and rigourous about data and insight.</p> <p><strong>Processes need to be cross-functional.</strong> They should be disciplined and driven from the customer agenda not from a particular functional one. At every stage decision-making needs to be well defined including the data/insight required to make effective decisions. They have to include a test and learn discipline that iterates and links back into developing the understanding of the customer agenda.</p> <p>People need to be low-ego, high standards and low maintenance. They have to be able to collaborate internally and externally and they have to be able to follow a structured disciplined process. Technical specialists are important, but even more important is to ensure you identify the right capabilities that drive performance.  </p> <p>In our view these aren’t defined by activities such as UX/CX or web analytics but by skills sets that can make a competitive difference regardless of where they are deployed:  </p> <ul> <li>Data comprehension and manipulation</li> <li>Customer insight generation process</li> <li>Commercial understanding</li> </ul> <p>Thinking this way about capabilities changes the ‘talent’ pool from a rather limited one into one that embraces a very wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. After all, ecommerce isn’t rocket science is it? What differentiates the outstanding performers are those who understand their customers and the customers in their market and know how to use that to develop optimised executions through a process of test and learn.  </p> <p>That’s true whether you are marketing, selling or building customer relationships.</p> <p>Resourcing against the values that build the right cultures, the attitude that accepts the need to work collaboratively and within strong common processes and a genuine interest in customers rather than themselves is likely to deliver far better outcomes. It will also make your ecommerce team a great one to work for.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68840-culture-and-digital-transformation-how-to-build-a-living-business/"><em>Culture and digital transformation: How to build a 'living business'</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69324-10-companies-with-a-digital-culture"><em>10 companies with a digital culture</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69369 2017-09-06T15:00:00+01:00 2017-09-06T15:00:00+01:00 Why marketers need to consider the difference between training and education Seán Donnelly <p>The ability for marketers to learn and stay on top of industry changes isn’t a trivial matter. If I can quote Arie de Geus, business theorist and former Head of Shell Oil’s Strategic Planning Group: “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”<br></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/8715/econsultancy-how-marketers-learn-report-full_image-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="200"></p> <p>At Econsultancy we spend a lot of time identifying, analysing and evaluating digital trends. Some of these trends turn into fads and pass unnoticed. But some have the potential to change not only the role of the modern marketer, but also the structure of entire industries. Regardless of how trends materialise, marketers must learn to adapt to the ever-evolving ecosystem in which we operate. To adapt to any new reality requires learning.</p> <h3>Always be learning</h3> <p>If we could boil down the key message from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/how-marketers-learn-research-findings/">How Marketers Learn</a> report into three words, they would be ‘<em>always be learning’</em>. The message is as applicable to individuals as it is organisations. Individual learning is, after all, at the heart of organisational learning.</p> <p>The report points out that if an organisation wants to adapt, grow and stay connected to customers, it will need to embed a culture of learning, that is, a dynamic culture that thrives on change. This will be essential for modern marketers in order to be able to interpret and navigate new trends and tactics. </p> <h3>Characteristics of the modern marketer</h3> <p>Modern marketing is an eclectic discipline. Much of what is required of the modern marketer revolves around a thorough understanding of marketing theory, technical marketing capabilities and an equal measure of strategic thinking and creative thinking capability.</p> <p>In fact, in 2013, Econsultancy published a call to arms of sorts for marketers. The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62574-introducing-the-modern-marketing-manifesto">Modern Marketing Manifesto</a> lays out the critical capabilities and characteristics of modern marketers to succeed. Take a look at it and ask yourself how aligned your own capabilities are. If you’re not in alignment, you might need to think about how to get up to speed. Training and education will play a big part in that. </p> <p>As I worked on this report, I couldn’t help but reflect on the value of training and other forms of education.</p> <h3>Thinking about the difference between training and education </h3> <p>Education is about theory. It is longitudinal. Education is about learning to think critically and in the abstract. Anyone who has studied marketing at university will remember that they learned about theories and frameworks but may not have had the opportunity to apply that knowledge with real clients.</p> <p>A degree in marketing will equip any marketer with the theoretical knowledge and strategic awareness to commence a career in marketing. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8501/education.jpg" alt="" width="407" height="271"></p> <h4>Training</h4> <p>Training on the other hand is about learning skills and tactics. It is specific. Good training provides the capability to do something rather than simply know something. </p> <p>In my opinion, training can empower marketers to think tactically and apply those new tactics in specific contexts. Marketers with knowledge of classic marketing theory and relevant training can excel by being able to think both tactically and strategically.    </p> <h3>Marketing qualifications and the need for training</h3> <p>As important as marketing training is, without wider marketing education it may be insufficient to address the requirements of today's marketers. Modern marketers need to be thoroughly schooled in marketing theory in order to equip them with foundational knowledge and strategic awareness that they can continue to apply as new digital tactics continue to emerge.</p> <p>There are a lot of people that are great digital marketing technicians. Some people might even consider them to be thoughtleaders in marketing. In practice though, some of those people might lack a wider appreciation of the discipline of marketing. Professor Mark Ritson wrote about this in his <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/07/12/mark-ritson-maybe-its-just-me-but-shouldnt-an-expert-in-marketing-be-trained-in-marketing/">Marketing Week column last year</a>: “Before anyone is declared an expert/ninja/guru/visionary in marketing they need to learn the discipline. You need a qualification to be qualified.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8503/Ritson_head_Scratch_small.jpg" alt="" width="980" height="400"></p> <p>Ritson got a bit of stick about that article. You might argue that his view focused too narrowly on academic qualifications and doesn’t take into account the fact that individuals can learn the principles of marketing and accompanying skills through a mix of career learning (assuming that they are working at a company with a good academy or marketing programme) and independent learning (reading, conference attendance etc.). </p> <p>Might I politely suggest that instead of targeting Mark Ritson for calling out marketers with no qualifications, perhaps we should think about the value that a qualification brings to the profession in terms of credibility and trust, particularly at senior levels where other executive colleagues will likely have their own qualifications (accountancy, finance, law etc.). Rightly or wrongly, those people may regard their marketing colleagues more highly if they can see that those marketers acquired their skills and knowledge via a robust and challenging qualification process, in the same way that they have. </p> <p>While disciplined people that take pride in their work can most certainly learn what they need to know to succeed, there is still a value in holding a recognised qualification. Let’s be honest, no matter what the profession is, the more qualified you are, the more opportunities there will be for career advancement, bonuses and pay increases!</p> <p>As somebody with somewhat of an academic background, I would suggest that while knowledge and approaches may move on, there is something about an academic programme that forces students to learn to think critically and strategically. This ability never goes out of date.</p> <p>While marketing theory may not change quickly, the professional discipline of marketing is always changing. The emergence of new technologies which can change consumer behaviour and vice versa mean that marketers are expected to not only practice increasingly sophisticated digital marketing tactics but also be able to coordinate with fellow marketers to plug these tactics into the overall marketing strategy.</p> <p>For this reason, marketers require regular training to improve skills and ensure that they can remain current and effective in their roles. Training at regular intervals throughout one’s career is important. This is equally true for junior marketers as it is for experienced professionals wishing to keep abreast of trends and tactics.</p> <p>Also, while marketers don’t officially require a further period of practical training after completion of academic studies the way other professions do (accountancy, law and medicine for example), in practice, most marketing professionals will start their career in junior positions where they will need to focus on a core set of channels or tactics to develop their technical and tactical expertise. They will develop these skills via on-the-job learning and focused training courses. It is for this reason, many companies well known for the quality of their marketing will run their own marketing academies in order to equip their staff with the skills that don’t neatly fall within the scope of a marketing degree.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/8502/training-blog-flyer.jpg" alt=""></p> <h3>Balancing education and training</h3> <p>There’s a lot written about how quickly things are changing but let’s be clear about one thing - the pace of change today is as slow as it will ever be. While the fundamentals of marketing may not change quickly, there is an ever increasing range of digital armoury available to marketers. </p> <p>In order to keep your head above water and not fall victim to the whims of the latest hysteria around which digital marketing channel is the hottest, marketers need a solid marketing foundation. This is acquired through education. </p> <p>However, as long as technology continues to reshape consumer behaviour and vice versa, there will be a requirement for training to help marketers and companies navigate those changes.</p> <p>And so education and training go very much hand in hand. Education provides the foundation upon which to layer training. Skills-based training on its own will only result in short term thinking and an inability to understand the limitations of that training.</p> <h3>Our thoughts on balancing theory and training at Econsultancy</h3> <p>While technology and consumer behaviour may change, the fundamentals of marketing don’t, at least not very quickly. This is why I think the Econsultancy’s sister-brand <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/mini-mba/">Marketing Week’s Mini MBA in Marketing</a> has been so well received. It provides a nice foundation upon which participants can layer on digital and channel specific skills.</p> <p>The Mini MBA in Marketing was designed to mirror the core marketing course offered in MBA programmes at top business schools. That means equipping learners with the knowledge and frameworks they need to become more effective marketers.</p> <p>It’s a nice supplement to what we do at Econsultancy. Please excuse the shameless plug but our clients turn to us to get a balanced view on the latest trends, tools and tactics in digital marketing. We can do this because we publish content that bridges the divide between education and training. While the Mini MBA in Marketing can provide the foundations, Econsultancy is able to support marketers to layer up their skills via capability management, training, conferences and e-learning.</p> <h3>Econsultancy career resources</h3> <h4><strong>Mini MBA in Marketing</strong></h4> <p>If you are interested in classic marketing education, I would encourage you to check out the <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/mini-mba/">Marketing Week online MiniMBA in Marketing</a>. Participation will equip learners with awareness of key marketing skills such as market orientation, research, segmentation, positioning, brand equity and strategy. This knowledge will empower learners to move beyond tactical thinking to being strategically aware.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/8499/mw_mmba_logo-blog-flyer.jpg" alt=""></p> <h4>Digital Skills Index</h4> <p>If you are already schooled in classic marketing, but feel that you are lacking in digital skills and don’t know where to start, may I suggest that you start with our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index/">Digital Skills Index</a>. The Digital Skills Index is an online assessment that measures the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in digital marketing and provides a detailed appraisal of your current digital marketing knowledge as well as a set of recommendations on how to advance and sharpen your skills.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8718/Digital_Skills_Index.png" alt="" width="763" height="417"></p> <h4>Relevant reports and blog posts</h4> <p>If you’re already a supporter of professional development and lifelong learning but are wondering what to focus on next, my colleague Ben Davis wrote a really great piece last year called '<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68550-forget-learning-to-code-what-should-marketers-really-know">Forget learning to code; what should marketers really know</a>'. It’s a very well written and pertinent article for any marketer wondering what skills they need to learn next.</p> <p>You might also be interested in our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/skills-of-the-modern-marketer">Skills of the Modern Marketer</a> report. The report defines the soft skills needed to be successful in an organisation and the deep vertical knowledge areas that marketers see growing in importance in the coming years.</p> <p>As an analyst whose job it is to be able to identify and translate the importance of digital trends, I am very much in a state of always learning. This has enabled me to subscribe to the philosophy of pursuing a “living degree”, that is, taking an always-on approach to learning that adapts to changing environments.</p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/how-marketers-learn-research-findings/" target="_blank">How Marketers Learn report</a> will benefit leaders and managers in organisations of any size or sector by providing insights into the importance of having a learning and development strategy. It provides an overview of how marketers are currently managing their learning requirements.</p> <p>The research in this report will also help marketing leaders by highlighting the value of L&amp;D in marketing and demonstrating its business case. If you’re a marketing practitioner, regardless of where you are in your career, this report will help you reframe how you and your organisation approach professional development.</p> <h3>Econsultancy training</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/">Econsultancy training courses</a> are developed by digital marketing experts and are based on the most up to date insight available. By attending an Econsultancy training course, you’ll benefit from:</p> <ul> <li>Best practice advice that draws on the expertise of researchers, analysts and practitioners</li> <li>The opportunity to continue your learning and grow your digital capabilities through our raft of resources, including a free report of your choice on completion of your course from our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/" target="_self">award-winning research library</a>.</li> <li>A friendly training team that will advise you on the course or programme that’s right for you.</li> <li>Small, collaborative classes (no more than 15 people).</li> </ul> <h3>Festival of Marketing</h3> <p>The lineup at this year’s Festival of Marketing is packed with great speakers and brands. Business icon Jo Malone joins <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69359-stephen-fry-to-headline-the-festival-of-marketing-2017">Stephen Fry</a> atop the bill, while marketing heavyweights Mark Ritson and Byron Sharp will go head-to-head in the other headline slot.</p> <p>Away from the headliners we have speakers from the world’s biggest brands, including Virgin, Unilever, Bentley and JustEat. After you’ve <a href="https://goo.gl/dsqgYw" target="_self">browsed the full agenda</a>, make sure to <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/buy-a-ticket?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econblog/" target="_self">buy your ticket</a>.</p> <p>...............Always be learning!</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69283 2017-07-31T12:30:00+01:00 2017-07-31T12:30:00+01:00 10 things agency owners can do to help their Business Development Manager flourish Ben Potter <p>So what can agency owners do to ensure they make a success of their fledgling business development function? Here are a few thoughts based on someone who has been there and bought the t-shirt (from a very good salesperson might I add).</p> <h3>1. Develop your knowledge and appreciation of business development</h3> <p>If the discipline of business development is under-valued by agency owners (or anybody else for that matter) it’s because it’s misunderstood. It’s completely unrecognisable from the traditional, negative perception of ‘sales’ or ‘selling’. This is reflected in the heady blend of attitudes (blue), behaviours (yellow) and skills (grey) required to do the job well. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7771/BDM_attitudes__behaviours_and_skills.PNG" alt="Attitudes, behaviours and skills of successful BDMs" width="741" height="415"></p> <p>Before you do anything, make an effort to read a <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Sales-Guide-Youll-Ever/dp/0735211671" target="_blank">decent book</a> or two and understand some of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68385-ten-guiding-principles-to-help-small-digital-marketing-agencies-win-more-business/" target="_blank">principles of business development</a>. It will make you more appreciative of the role, more realistic in your expectations and a better manager.</p> <h3>2. Know what you’re looking for</h3> <p>If you haven’t recruited a BDM before, do your research and seek help. Look at other agencies and their job specs. Look at BDM’s on LinkedIn; their background, experience and the language they use. And speak to recruitment agencies with experience of placing BDM’s into agencies.</p> <p>The better you understand the responsibilities and requirements of the role, the more equipped you’ll be to put together a decent job spec, interview questions and tasks. You’ll also know what to look out for if using personality profiling techniques, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator" target="_blank">Myers Briggs</a>.</p> <h3>3. Ensure you have a credible value proposition  </h3> <p>Even the best BDM is not a miracle worker. If your <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68869-why-your-agency-s-value-proposition-probably-sucks-and-what-to-do-about-it/" target="_blank">proposition is weak</a> or your products / services uncompetitive (due to price, quality, service), hiring a BDM will make little difference. </p> <p>A relevant, compelling and credible agency proposition is the foundation of a successful business development strategy. It forms the basis of how the BDM will communicate your agency’s offering and value to prospects. If it’s not right, work on it.</p> <h3>4. Become a Sales Director… of sorts</h3> <p>A BDM is not <em>the</em> solution to winning more business. They are <em>part of</em> the solution (albeit an important one). As an agency owner that means the hard work doesn’t stop once they are on board. </p> <p>Their success will be largely shaped by your ability to manage them. In effect, you become an overnight Sales Director, responsible for inspiring, motivating and holding the BDM to account.</p> <p>If a BDM is left to their own devices, with poor stewardship from someone who doesn’t understand business development, they are very unlikely to succeed.</p> <h3>5. Invest in marketing, especially content</h3> <p>Prospects are busy, they research on their own terms and are inundated by other suppliers. Therefore, buying lists, ‘hitting’ the phones or sending hundreds of generic emails doesn’t work. We are way beyond that. </p> <p>If a BDM is to open new doors and nurture relationships, they need to create value through their communication. This means understanding the challenges faced by prospects, empathising with them, advising when appropriate and being helpful.</p> <p>To do this, the BDM needs a ‘tool kit’ of relevant, useful and engaging content. They simply will not have the time or expertise to create or curate this on their own. They’ll need the support of the wider team, particularly the discipline experts.</p> <p>Positively, most agencies invest in creating content. The key is to ensure that the content plan is, in part, driven by the new business strategy. </p> <h3>6. Give the BDM time to build a sales function</h3> <p>The frameworks, processes and templates that will exist in a more established new business department are probably thin on the ground if you’ve never had a BDM. A lot of small agencies I speak to don’t even use a CRM (for someone as anally retentive as I am when it comes to recording every call, email or even the slightest of enquiring glances at a networking event, this frightens the hell of out of me).</p> <p>With nothing to work from, you are essentially tasking the BDM with building a sales function from scratch. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you give them the time and support to do so.</p> <h3>7. Approach business development as a team effort</h3> <p>The BDM is on board to own and lead new business. But they can’t do it on their own. He or she will need help from the wider team. Along with content, they can support the BDM in all manner of ways, from industry research to attending pitches. </p> <p>Another often forgotten point is that a BDM needs to believe in what they are selling – in an agency that generally means its people. Yet too often business development sits to the side of the agency, rather than at its heart. All the onus is on one person, rather than a collaborative effort where everybody plays a part. </p> <p>If you want your BDM to succeed, put them at the centre of the agency where they can hear everything going on and build relationships with the team; the people whose expertise and experience they are ultimately selling.</p> <h3>8. Invest in their development</h3> <p>I’ve done business development for the best part of (uh um) 15 years. But I learn new things every day.</p> <p><strong>There isn’t a BDM in the world who is the finished article.</strong> In fact, there isn’t a human being alive who is the finished article (apart from Bruce Springsteen, obviously). </p> <p>This means your investment in a BDM goes way beyond their salary. They need the necessary support, internally or externally, to continuously build their knowledge, skills and network.</p> <h3>9. Give credit when it’s due… and support when perhaps it’s not</h3> <p>Only a seasoned BDM knows just how much commitment, patience, resourcefulness and attention to detail it takes to win that dream client.</p> <p>It might take months, sometimes years, of hard graft.</p> <p>Celebrate every win like it was the first. Ensure the BDM’s pivotal role is acknowledged and understood by everyone. Celebrate the small wins too – the appointment booked with a great prospect after months of trying, for example. </p> <p>People in sales are (hopefully) motivated by the opportunity to smash a target and the financial rewards that comes with doing so. But this isn’t all they care about. The pat on the back, the casual ‘well done’, the motivational ‘keep your chin up’ are just as important as any financial rewards, especially when they’re on a bad run... which, trust me, happens. </p> <h3>10. Don’t pull the plug too soon</h3> <p>It will typically take a BDM 6–12 months before they’re flying. This is of course dependent on a whole host of factors, some of which have been explored above.</p> <p>Yet I speak to agency owners that have got shot of a BDM after three or four months, blaming their poor performance. Granted, in some instances perhaps the BDM just wasn’t right for the agency. But in others, I’m not convinced the BDM was given the necessary support, time and resources to deliver.</p> <p>So before you give them the old heave-ho, consider whether it might be you, not them. Have you given them the best possible platform from which to perform?</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69254 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 Four key digital challenges for IT leaders in 2017 Nikki Gilliland <p>Based on a sample of more than 500 IT leaders, here are a few key charts from the research, highlighting the biggest hurdles IT professionals currently face.  </p> <h3>1. Threat of security breaches</h3> <p>While technical skill is still a given, the role of senior executive within IT departments has evolved into something much broader, requiring a deeper understanding of business objectives. This also means creating a bridge between technology and other areas of the business such as HR, finance, and marketing. </p> <p>This focus on the wider customer experience has also led to the concept of the ‘chief integration officer’ – someone who is able to influence the overall strategic vision of a business. Following on from this, it is clear that the challenges faced by IT leaders are much more complex than they once were.</p> <p>Now, the threat of security breaches and cyber-attacks is cited as a key concern by 41% of respondents – higher than any other area.</p> <p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, executives at organisations with annual revenues exceeding £150m are more likely than their peers at smaller organisations to reference security as a major challenge.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7501/Security_attacks.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="535"></p> <h3>2. Finding the right mix of skills</h3> <p>Interestingly, it is larger organisations that cite lower levels of confidence in their digital skills mix, with just 58% agreeing that they are well-positioned in this area compared to 61% of smaller organisations. </p> <p>Similarly, European organisations seem less confident than their American and APAC counterparts. Talent availability is seen as more of a challenge than in other regions, with availability of individuals with the right mix of skills being cited as a top-three internal problem by more than 34% of European respondents.</p> <p>This is also the case when it comes to culture, with 61% of European respondents describing their company culture as "innovative, adaptable and undertaking a ‘fail fast’ approach". When compared with 68% of respondents saying the same for North America and 75% in APAC, it’s clear that Europe is still playing catch up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7504/Skills_and_culture.JPG" alt="" width="739" height="618"></p> <h3>3. Escaping silos</h3> <p>In terms of internal barriers, it appears the age-old problem of organisational structure remains the biggest. 42% of executives cited frustration with departmental silos and bureaucratic processes, while 41% expressed frustration over integrating legacy systems with new tools and technologies.</p> <p>This is even more the case for larger organisations in Europe, with 52% of European respondents citing bureaucracy as a top internal barrier.</p> <p>Interestingly, while support from senior management is less of a concern, a lack of shared vision relating to the meaning of digital transformation appears to be sustaining conflict. Again, this challenge is slightly more evident in Europe, tying in with the aforementioned struggles of skills and culture.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7506/Silos.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="541"></p> <h3>4. Keeping abreast of innovation</h3> <p>With IT executives now expected to help drive marketing strategy, keeping ahead of major technologies connected to innovation is another growing challenge – especially for larger organisations.</p> <p>46% of executives at larger companies are more inclined to feel pressure regarding tracking technology and innovation trends compared to 36% of smaller company peers. Interestingly, IT executives appear to be looking outside of their organisations to keep abreast of technological innovation. More than half of respondents say they exploit technology content sites and webcasts and webinars.</p> <p>Lastly, the challenge to keep on top of innovation also extends to finding talent, with increasing importance in striking a balance between traditional technical knowledge and softer skills such as communication, co-operation and strategic thinking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7508/Innovation.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="550"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-digital-trends-in-it/">2017 Digital Trends in IT Report</a>.</strong></em></p>