Last week was the first Marketing Academy bootcamp…
Inspired. Exhausted. Thoughtful. Excited. My #marketingacademy boot camp feelings!
— Laila Takeh (@spirals) May 24, 2013
What is a marketing bootcamp?
I was lucky enough to be selected from around 600 applicants as one of 30 Marketing Academy scholars. The selection process was rigorous; written application, employer endorsement, showcase piece, telephone interview, four psychometric tests and a panel interview!
There are three bootcamps in the 12 month scholarship. The other elements of the scholarship are mentor meets, lunch and learns, faculty days and coaching.
The bootcamps are two or three intensive days of active learning with all scholars in attendance. This first one was mostly led by @thelivingleader but we also heard from @gailgallie, @olibarrett and @petermarkey.
What did I learn?
Lots and lots and lots. Here’s a few of the easy to share bits:
- Leadership: A real leader is one that develops other leaders. Authenticity is key.
- Communication: Giving info isn’t the main leadership communication style; other key ones are seeking clarification, supporting, building.
- Networking: Don’t ask what someone does – find out about them as a person first. You can spot something useful to share by email later.
- Personal development: Focus on what you want to grow, if you focus on the negatives they will grow.
- Your vision: If you vocalise your ambitions as if they were already true – it makes them easier to achieve.
- Confidence: You can’t control how people feel, only how you treat them. So focus on what you give, not what you get.
- Pull and push: When leading there are times to push, and there’s a moment to switch to pull. If you keep pushing results will diminish.
It’s going to be an amazing year of learning – I’ll try to share it with you along the way.
I’ve written about whether digital team’s will continue to exist before so I won’t go into detail again. But recently I spotted this salary benchmarking report by Propel which I thought gives some useful insights.
I particularly like the chart about new vacancies by role type. What this data makes me think is:
- there’s more growth in digital marketing roles than ‘back office’ tech and services.
- specific digital strategy roles are perhaps being subsumed into overall strategy roles.
- technology is more consumerised and development is getting slightly ‘easier’ to do and project manage with less-specialist roles.
What does it make you think?
I first wrote about the hub and spoke model back in summer 2011. Since then I’ve talked to a lot of people about it.
I’m a raving advocate for the model. The cultural changes needed to realise the benefits of digital are only really possible through an integrated approach driven from a single focal point. This is why I’ve often pondered how this model could work at a global scale for an organisation.
Local autonomy is important. I’ve been one of those ‘HQ people’ working with local offices, and now I am part of a ‘local office’ in a global organisation. So I know how important a certain level of independence is. Without this you can’t adapt to local market or community needs, innovation and motivation is stifled, and you risk not being able to capitalise on local opportunities.
Dandelions might just be the answer I was looking for. Jeremiah Owyang posted about social business models recently and described this model as:
Multiple hub & spoke “Dandelion” notice how each business unit may have semi-autonomy with an over arching tie back to a central group.
Reflecting on this – I recognise this model from my current and past workplaces – it’s nothing new. Yet it’s strange how giving a name to something means you can examine and discuss it more easily. Examining it leaves me agreeing with the points Jeremiah makes and adding a few of my own;
- too much internal comms = noise; but an internal social network delivers the power of discovery and self-filtering.
- decentralised cross- team working is critical; but it’s tricky for central hubs to empower and be sufficiently in the loop to add value.
- focus on the bright spots; understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each hub gives strategic opportunities for spreading learning.
- apples and pears aren’t the same; a common language and frame of reference (eg terminology) makes it easier to identify and share insights.
- sharing needs to be incentivised; to motivate teams to share it needs to return local results or at least recognition.
- people trust people; there’s nothing like face to face to build trust and communication, with video meetings there’s no excuse.
This week I picked up a new phrase (thanks Ian); ‘technology sovereignty’. It’s a nifty way to explain a principle I’ve used in my work ever since I can remember.
Technology Sovereignty = While you might, and probably should in many cases, outsource your technology supply and maintenance needs to a specialist/s – you should not hand over complete control.
There’s obvious downsides if you do hand over your sovereignty; reduced ability to negotiate price or options, reduced flexibility, and more. You could even find yourself in the terrible position I once experienced.
At one workplace I inherited a setup where the website CMS, development contract and hosting were all with one supplier – then the company went into administration due to a hostile merger. I was forced to move suppliers without any real choice, unless you consider months of downtime a choice. The new supplier had significantly higher prices and no understanding of the CMS (among other things).
I learnt a lot from that experience. One thing I realised is how much I’ve leaned on my computer science background to help me at work. The benefit of being able to challenge and co-design solutions with suppliers has definitely helped me to keep more control and avoid all kinds of issues.
Recently someone told me they didn’t feel they should need to know this stuff to do their digital job. In reply I talked about car maintenance. I was taught about how a car engine worked in school. It didn’t mean I could build an engine – but I could describe how it should work. It’s meant I can challenge car mechanics where needed.
So should you outsource your technology?
Yes, at least in part. Outsourcing often means you can benefit from economies of scale that come with a supplier or platform having multiple clients. But make sure you know what you’re talking about and avoid having a single point of failure unless it’s an area where failure doesn’t matter.
I was one of the keynote speakers at Media Trust’s Go Mobile conference this week, a few people have asked for my slides and notes so here they are…
Mobile is here
You have to think mobile for all of the experiences you are designing. It’s not going away and it’s not ‘on the horizon’, its well and truly here.
But it’s still evolving
Mobile compatibility is still not entirely standardised, it’s a bit like the www in the 90′s. Adoption of different devices is also changing rapidly. For example, in just the last year the UNICEF UK website has seen a big growth in iPad that has caught it up with iPhones, we also saw Google Nexus 7 appear as well as others.
Case: UNICEF UK Mobile Website
To make sure we had a mobile compatible site as quickly as possible we launched an interim mobile website of just a few key pages and the donation funnel. We’re working on optimising the whole of the site. To keep costs lower and give us increased technology flexibility we’re using separate ‘layers of tech’ to do the transformation rather than having a fully responsive site (for now).
Case: UNICEF Sweden website
Our UNICEF Sweden office, on the other hand, have created a fully responsive website. They were on the brink of a full website rebuild so it made sense to invest now and go ‘mobile first’. The site is designed for smartphones first and PC desktops last. They had to make some hard decisions on how to streamline content.
Forget about ‘mobile’
It’s easy to get obsessed about mobile devices, really what this change means is a change of behaviours. Remember behaviour first when you are designing user experiences. People are now using multiple devices, we don’t live in single screen households.
Time of day
This graph demonstrates a clear difference in behaviour that mobile has created. UNICEF UK non-mobile traffic peaks during working hours while traffic from mobile devices is consistent throughout the day, even into the early hours. This pattern is important when you think about how people are interacting with your brand.
Case: UNICEF UK Speak Up for Children
I’ve learnt the behaviour lesson. We (with an amazing group of partners) did a brilliant mobile campaign called Speak Up for Children, it was a great success in the end, but we failed at first. The original concept was to create the biggest voice petition in the world. It seemed to make sense that a mobile campaign should use the voice feature of your mobile phone.
We quickly learned that very few people wanted to interact this way, it was just a bit too intrusive / embarrassing. So we paused the campaign and replaced the petition with a simple email address entry field.
Case: Syria Emergency
We also know that SMS giving is really effective. It enables the immediate emotional response of a supporter who wants to help, it also gets funds for emergencies quickly. We even include the SMS giving number in search adword campaigns. You should be prepared for SMS giving no matter what charity you are.
Apps are hard
Finding a concept that works as an app is hard. UNICEF offices around the world have tried and success has been limited. You need an app that fits with an individual’s life, if you wouldn’t download it – don’t build it.
Email is important
Increasingly, email is consumed on mobile. If you have an email marketing programme or email newsletter it should be compatible with mobile now. Even if you have to create plain text emails, it’s better than emails that don’t work on a mobile.
It can be easy (sort of)
If you have very limited resources it can be very difficult to go mobile. But there are lots of platforms which are now mobile compatible which you could design your experience around. For example; using twitter, facebook and justgiving could give you a campaign experience which is mobile compatible without you needing to convert your own website for a bit longer.
And that was it!
15 mins really isn’t very long to talk about mobile. I didn’t even touch on UNICEF use of mobile in the field, there’s a bit about that in this innovation presentation.
Today we had a session at work on well-being and employee engagement. Lots of interesting management theory and practise was shared. At one point during discussion I drew a diagram to explain a point I was making. It seemed to explain things pretty well and someone even said I should write a book
I’m not going to write a book, I imagine someone has already beaten me to it, but I thought it might be useful to share here.
I wanted to explain the delicate balance between skill, passion and organisational need in creating the right mix of team members. It’s particularly relevant to a disruptive industry like digital.
There’s lots of people who have passion for digital, but that doesn’t mean they have the skill/s, or that the organisation needs the particular thing that individual is passionate about. How many times have you had to gently remind people that ‘shiny new’ digital idea in isolation is less likely to get results? Or how many bad videos by keen hobby videographers have you sifted through?
But at the same time; meeting an organisation need and having the right skill is often not helpful unless the passion is also there. While digital is still evolving you need passion in order to keep up with industry changes and / or to have that moment of inspiration that makes your delivery different or better.