Digital disruption: Hit the books to hit your targets

13 Sep 2017

  • Leadership
  • Digital Marketing

By: The Big Smoke writers

This article originally appeared on The Big Smoke.

In 2016, the man responsible for inspiring many digital marketers, Seth Godin, wrote a post about the path forward. The path forward, Seth explained, is easy – it is about education and connection. Seth said

"The path forward, it seems, is to connect. To earn enrollment in having others join you on a journey of education…And if you can connect and make education accessible, it creates a new standard for the people you care about."

However, the reality is many within organisations struggle to find the time or employee support to set aside for informal education, only to find that slowly they are less likely to be aware of new digital trends, the metrics that shape strategies and the technology frameworks awareness required to truly compete in their field.

Ongoing education, one could argue, becomes the responsibility of an organisation’s leadership team. Regardless of industry, leaders need to encourage learning; with an emphasis on a personal commitment to not only their own industry growth but of those around them. CEOs who truly understand the value of ongoing education, shape the culture within an organisation by creating an atmosphere committed to moving not only the company forward but each individual.

Regardless of industry, leaders need to encourage learning; with an emphasis on a personal commitment to not only their own industry growth but of those around them.

Irrespective of role or department, every individual within a company requires the skill set to truly understand how to navigate digital. And, seeing that space evolving daily, an emphasis on ongoing education is the vital piece of the emerging puzzle. Understanding the digital and market trends of 2015 is not acceptable in 2017, and CEOs who believe that previous knowledge suffices puts both their company and their teams at risk of falling behind – and fast.

From analytics fundamentals to copywriting, the skill sets required are growing as are the tools that are more accessible. While a quick Google search can provide the basics – companies who take seriously their role in a competitive climate will realise the ROI of investing in their teams and their knowledge gaps. Understanding the need to invest in employees can feel overwhelming at best until it’s broken down into three key benefits that can provide a framework to move forward with:

Create opportunities for individuals to explore learnings outside their current roles.

While an individual may be performing well in their current position, it is worth management exploring where they want to go next and how can the company help create a roadmap for them. This open dialogue allows the chance for those unsure about their future prospects to think outside the box and take into consideration a course that perhaps doesn’t initially sit within their current position. For example, a staff member who excels at sales may be also naturally geared towards telling stories that convert. While the ability to verbally tell this story has historically transferred into a company sale, the organization could create an opportunity to apply the same fundamentals of selling into copywriting essentials. This will result in a broader understanding of how to apply the same abilities to tell stories that result in sales, yet funneled into content that can be an evergreen digital footprint for the company and personally fulfilling a creative need within the individual.

Facilitate the chance to connect and brainstorm towards greater outcomes.

Hackathons and meet-ups have become the networking activities of choice, and it provides an interesting glimpse into the ongoing needs that technology can’t actually meet. Real connection. While one can argue that much of the information required to ‘hack’ your career’s progress, or connect with others in your industry can be done online – Harvard Business Review has written about the impact of face-to-face meetings. The writers found that as personalities connected, so did the opportunities to grow and scale team work. The dual benefits of connecting with others while also learning in a structured framework create ongoing benefits that long surpasses the initial learning stage. This connection, built on a thirst for knowledge and industry advancements, creates bonds that take companies further.

Enhance and understand critical performance metrics that add to the bottom line.

When companies are working towards clear outcomes, it is easy to understand how each role compliments each other. What becomes more ambiguous, however, is how each of these activities works towards a strong bottom line. Whether that is revenue or market share, the broader understanding of why each activity is crucial requires understanding the nuances of how each part fits together. Outdated metrics, misguided marketing activities and wasted tech tools that are available to companies mean one thing – risk being outpaced. By creating learning opportunities for teams to truly understand the metrics that matter, the opportunity to remove barriers becomes key in moving forward together.

Within any organisation, it is a risk to become great at what you do but not evolve. Even industry leaders are required to invest in their employees and teams to ensure the ongoing health and viability of their organisation. With ongoing education, a priority for many employees, the opportunity to facilitate this internally encourages participation, feedback and a unique glimpse into capabilities in others you may never have become aware of.

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