As a start-up, you’re going to be pragmatic, flexible, and agile. You do the jobs that need to be done, learn from your mistakes, and only take on experts when you’re at maximum capacity and have a somewhat steady stream of income flowing in.
Larger and more established organisations have evolved organically over the years and may be set up to meet very different needs to those that we are facing today. Many businesses would benefit greatly from reassessing, and restructuring, the way in which they’re set up in order to embrace digital across the organisation…
1. It’s not just initiatives
Businesses tend to be set up around initiatives – creating, designing, and launching a new product – but digital is by definition ongoing and goes far beyond adding a few banners and search keywords into the media mix. People are searching 365 days of the year, interacting on social media many times a day, looking to buy whenever they feel like it… and our activities need to be taking this longer-term view to building lasting relationships with our consumers. We need to think total brand, “always-on”, and move beyond that historical initiative focus.
2. It’s a multifunctional effort
Digital spans many different functions, both creative and technical. Social media, for example, is at once marketing, public relations, media, customer service, legal… so wherever it sits, there needs to be a process for getting the input and approvals needed from the respective teams. Content created for PR can be used on social media, posts on Facebook and Twitter will need to click through to relevant pages on the website, the team planning promoted posts and paid search needs full visibility on what content is planned when. Integration in digital is key.
3. Don’t underestimate the complexity
It’s very easy to say that we need to “do digital”, “think mobile”, “be social” – but what exactly does this involve? What are the specific actions needed and who will own those actions? Does the team have the skills and capabilities needed? Are you adding this work on top without taking anything away? A complete website re-stage, for example, will require more dedicated resources than maintenance of an existing website. Being ambitious can be inspiring for the organisation, but are you setting realistic objectives and milestones?
4. It’s more than a sheet of paper
Creating an org chart is all very well but in reality people already in the organisation will have particular skills and passions. There may be an ideal structure, and it’s great to have a vision for where you want the organisation to be in the future, but at least in the short term you need to consider the people in the existing roles today and whether they have the capabilities, and willingness, to accept a shift in the scope of their work. Additional head count in the current economic climate is unlikely, so how can you best optimise the resources that you already have?
5. Don’t leave it to the intern
We’ve said it before, but digital is not a little project to be handed to the youngest member of the team because they “understand all that social networking stuff”. Digital has fundamentally transformed marketing and business as a whole, and the entire organisation needs to be engaged and trained to deliver results within this new framework. Taking time to build the capability of the full multi-functional team, from intern up to the CEO, will ensure that each member of the team is clear on what they need to deliver, and how to do so.
How have you approached these questions in your team? Is your organisation set up for success in digital? Do you have advice to offer other other businesses? Share your comments below!