Digital marketing and technology is taking the world by storm. With an estimated 2.1 billion active users, Facebook has changed the way people communicate around the world. And, it’s not just Facebook. Instagram has become a source of revenue for countless businesses, YouTube is making it easier to communicate to millions of younger consumers, and organizations like TechCrunch, Y Combinator, and 500 Startups are growing digitally-focused businesses building new CRMs, tracking devices, and algorithms faster than you can say algorithm.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. The new crop of managers and team members who grew up in the “digital age” are bringing in ideas that require an understanding of how digital helps a business grow, gain brand recognition, and modernize their presence in their industry. As a leader, it is important to possess the cornerstone knowledge required to lead your team effectively as technology continues to take a stronghold in business tactics.
Simply put, a leader who isn’t embracing digital is missing out on opportunities for increased efficiencies, effectiveness, and modern leadership potential. Not to mention, competitors are likely ahead in the game.
Benefits of Embracing Digital
Tracking – Sales, document sharing, internal and external communications, marketing, advertising, etc. are all the main arteries of your business. And, they can all easily be digitally tracked to find strengths and weaknesses through the appropriate platform.
Sales – The day of the yellow-pages cold call is over. With platforms like HubSpot or Salesforce, potential targets can be categorized based on an algorithmic system that easily identifies “hot” “medium” and “cold” leads. Increase efficiency while minimizing time spent. It’s a win-win.
External Communications – Customers, whether retail/product or service-oriented, have shortened attention spans due to a constant bombardment of advertising through their phones, social accounts, and inboxes. In order to cut through this noise, an effective way of communicating is required. Optimize customer communications through high open-rate times to get email in front of the right people at the right time. The same goes for social posts. Not all social media posts are created equal – social optimization geared toward a particular customer cohort means every dollar spent goes further.
Internal Communications – Newer platforms, like Slack, are creating ways for businesses with offices in multiple locations to communicate faster. An employee in London can easily send a message (think a text message) to an employee in California to keep a project moving quickly. A company memo can be sent with an easy “channel” tag which means every person in your company will be alerted of time-sensitive information. In today’s digital arena, it’s all about speed and efficiency.
Web Optimization – Have a website? Optimize it. A website is the first thing a customer sees (aside from a potential email or social post). Optimizing your website produces a large amount of data, like heat charts (where a customer started, moved toward, and exited your site), A/B testing for copy and positioning, conversion goals through Google Analytics, and much more.
Analytics – Speaking of analytics, it’s important to not be scared of data. Data allows you to “try before you buy” or look back at previous results to see where pivots are required for effectiveness. Analytics and data give a clear and completely objective viewpoint of your business’s successes and where a plan may have fallen short. Data is black and white, and the proper use of data to produce results cannot be challenged.
Common Concerns about Embracing Technology
Inexperience with Digital ROI
When used effectively, technology can provide large returns to a business. This type of data analysis and measurement requires having personnel on staff who understand digital technology, social media, and the benefits of utilizing related platforms. Let an experienced employee take the reigns. All you need are the numbers to show a positive return and a very basic understanding of the benefits of this business investment.
Let’s cut to the chase. Yes, there is an expense for digital technology. Applications and digital platforms aren’t made for free use – these are still businesses that need to produce revenue. But, most of the tools required have a free trial – 14 days, 30 days, sometimes longer. Achieve increased sales efficiency through various sales platforms like Salesforce, Pardot, or HubSpot. Activate or pump the gas on social media with Buffer or Hootsuite which streamline processes and social media management. View web performance by venturing into Google Analytics. However, do not do any of that without an experienced digital professional on the team.
Hiring for and Effectively Leveraging Technology
Embracing digital isn’t about adopting one, two or maybe three practices because a competitor may have implemented similar tactics. It’s about envisioning the right puzzle for your specific business, then finding the puzzle pieces that make the whole picture.
If the next phase is national growth, how far will the business go to get there?
What messages need to be sent, to what cohorts of customers, in what areas?
What ROI needs to be seen from these investments?
Most importantly, WHO is going to do this?
A leader’s focus needs to be split between very different aspects of a business. Learning the specific details of digital marketing, technology, and data-driven decisions takes a lot of time and energy. Time and energy an executive does not necessarily have.
We suggest expanding the team and hiring the best candidate for the position. The correct addition to the team will be able to articulate to the leaders within an organization what is necessary to achieve and exceed growth goals, implement action plans, and present findings based on initial hypotheses. This individual likely matured in the digital age and has working experience with proven results. This person will understand how to effectively leverage technology (like HubSpot for sales, Slack for communications, and Hootsuite for social maintenance) while bringing new ideas that will directly impact the bottom line.
Sound overwhelming? This “needle in a haystack” candidate is out there, and our team of experienced recruiters and headhunters is ready to find this perfect fit.
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