I’ve learned a lot about leadership in recent years. I was blessed to be introduced to my mentor and business consultant in 2009 and have focused most of my consulting contract with him around leadership development ever since. I’ve been learning and applying a host of FranklinCovey curriculums that I’m quick to attribute to any compliment I receive revolving around my own abilities to lead people. The late Stephen R. Covey has been my greatest influencer.
That said I make no assumptions that I can teach you anything about leadership and that’s not the intent of this article. Instead, I want to focus on how you can apply your leadership abilities to the goal of competing in the digital marketing world. I hope my experiences marketing and selling in the digital world while building and leading my own organization can help you lead your team towards digital marketing campaign success.
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” ― Stephen R. Covey
Leading the total alignment of people and systems
Aligning skillsets, toolsets, and mindsets towards the desired future-state of your online universe is truly a challenge. Developing your process for setting the organizational direction, getting buy-in from key personnel, and leading the continual growth of your digital marketing campaign is critical in an age where everyone wants instant gratification. There is no quick-fix for the type of sustainable digital footprint you’re targeting and everyone must understand exactly what the organization is wading into.
“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out” ― Stephen R. Covey
Clarifying the purpose of your digital marketing campaign
It’s important to identify goals very early in your campaign. You must set the stage that all strategy, assets, and promotional efforts will be done for the purpose of attracting and converting new business leads, for example. If new customer acquisition is the ultimate goal then you’ll want to identify the estimated value of each new customer, the rate you want to acquire them, and each team member’s roles and responsibilities for production. By clarifying the purpose of the campaign and setting clear targets you’ll put your team in a position to be successful.
A note about playing catchup
Successfully competing in the digital world requires patience, persistence, and a lot of heavy lifting. Understand that making the decision to compete in the digital universe puts you in an arms race. If you’re just getting into the race, you’re likely far behind many of your competitors. Because you’re about to take your organization on a long journey it’s important to set the vision for where you’re trying to go and help everyone involved understand that success comes from repeating well-conceived activities over and over. Through testing, interpretation, and tweaking the fly wheel will begin to turn and the results will flow. The faster you move in the right direction the sooner you’ll find yourself winning the arms race.
The need to align systems in support of your campaign
The need to identify the proper systems and align them all together for the sake of accomplishing your campaign goals should ultimately be the responsibility of leadership. You may want to task different team members with researching potential solutions but you’ll be doing them a service by asking the critical questions surrounding alignment capabilities for all solutions that make final consideration.
To lead your organization’s successful endeavor into the digital universe you’re going to need more than bright minds and hard work. You’ll need to vet and select the right technologies to coordinate your sales and marketing strategies. You probably already have some pieces in place, so evaluation and gap identification will be in order.
For example, if you’ve already implemented a robust CRM solution for sales then you’ll want to select marketing automation software with the ability to sync contact records directly to your CRM. Similarly, if you’ve already built a productive website you’d be wise to select software solutions that bolt onto the web platform. The need for seamless integration of multiple software platforms is significant, especially in a world where instant gratification hails.
“The way we see the problem is the problem.” ― Stephen R. Covey
Sorting through the sand can be a difficult
It can be extremely difficult to decipher the myriad of different data points within a comprehensive digital sales and marketing campaign. It’s not uncommon to be managing a half-dozen or more software platforms, each with their own reporting. Cobbling together reports and insights from multiple sources can be difficult to manage through for a true understanding of what’s really going on. If you can’t piece together all the moving parts into a sane representation of campaign performance you may find yourself needing to integrate critical systems so that custom reporting dashboards can be created.
Gathering and unleashing the talent
The team you assemble to carry out the vision for your campaign is another critical piece of the puzzle. Whether you lead a large organization, large department within a very large company, or own and manage a small startup the challenge to get the right people in the right roles exists. The larger your organization the more internal options and resources you may have, but are they right for the job?
I’ve seen a lot of companies migrate internal resources for all the wrong reasons. They really like Joe, 'and he’s been with us for a long time.’ Leadership thinks a fresh job role might save him, so they switch his seat on the bus and put Joe in charge of managing their digital campaign. Others have simply added the digital responsibilities onto existing employee’s plates without really carving out their new role properly. They’re sure that ‘Gina can handle the extra work load, she does our print design so designing our website only makes sense. Besides, we’ll save a bunch of money.’
Putting the right people with the right skills in position to be successful as individuals and team members is critical to success. I challenge you to build towards greatness, with greatness. Don’t settle. Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t buy marketing agency services on the cheap, you’ll get what you pay for. You’ll be better off waiting until you have the budget than you will by shopping for value and rebuilding everything in a couple years. Do it right the first time, that’s what my Dad used to tell me and it certainly applies here. Once you’ve assembled the right talent you can unleash them towards the achievement of the goals you’ve developed. With a clear purpose and the right toolsets they’ll be setup for success. Your leadership will support their roles and inspire their trust.
“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” ― Stephen R. Covey