How to best use my skills?
Having successfully run a number of projects in this space, I am beginning to recognize some common trends, spanning across industries and countries.
The transition to digital is not painless and challenges established working methods, breaking down the responsibility siloses before it settles into new ones. Marketing rarely is an exact science, but the usual trial and error can be deadly; not only gone are the times where companies could allow themselves the luxury of experimentation, but any subpar performance will stoke the fuel of criticism of those within the organization that resist the transition, derailing the whole process by entire planning cycles.
The first project must run flawlessly and accelerate the rate of acceptance, while providing a sandbox for the organization to learn the new ropes and settle into the new reality.
While the lower echelons of the organization are busy learning and adapting, management will continuously demand reassurance: they resist the transition just like everybody else: the Social Enterprise champion now needs all the help s/he can get, continuously reconnecting the forest and the trees, the minute detail of the individual projects underway to the big transition.
And – of course – all of this in the usual whirlwind of everyday activities: organization manuals would like us to believe that companies stop, regroup and collectively learn from experiences and best practices, but this never happens. Firefighting gets in the way of our day jobs, and emergencies get in the way of firefighting.
The Social Media champion needs someone which can guide conversations such as:
- how does a Social Enterprise interact with its distribution channels?
- how will Customer Service need to change?
- is our IT a help or a hindrance while we transition?
- how can we get top management to support us?
A typical such conversation usually pops up when the subject of ROI appears on the table. Measuring being so easy in Digital, the question then becomes what should we measure? How can the full process be broken into smaller pieces whose performance we can measure easily? How can each reading drive a corrective action?
And finally, the transition can roll out to the rest of the organization: gone is the pilot and the Social Enterprise champion, because now everybody is a Social Enterprise champion.
Going into 2013 research shows, the need for flawess mastering of these new processes is leading many marketeers to rethink their agency support, so adding this type of skill and experience will be key.
Like riding a bike, describing it in words actually adds to the complication but thankfully after a while the new reality sets in and my role can be phased out in favor of the day-to-day project management.
Whether you are a Client or an Agency, therefore, my role will be temporary, usually between 12 and 18 months; it is best for my “replacement” to be identified right away, so that s/he can gradually incorporate the methodology and successfully take over when the time comes.