The Modern Digital Marketing Manager – A Forerunner

The Digital Marketing Manager a forerunner

The tasks, skills and abilities required of the modern digital marketing manager, online manager or webmaster are broad. T shaped skills sets are squared off and it is the same for any marketer – on or offline. The influence of technology everywhere means speaking tech and having EQ is the equation for success.

We are required not only to have a technical understanding, but also the skills to wrangle: tech upgrades, shiny new social networks, integrations, content, user experiences and the teams or relationships involved in creating them.

That said, the most powerful approach/skill/technique that a Website Marketing Manager can take is that of being a forerunner for: his leaders, his team and his customers.

They’re the forerunner and Product Owner for their tools – the website, social media and online channels

As the forerunner for an organisation’s online presence the Website Marketing Manager champions best practice. By ensuring the overall consistency of look and feel, that image selection and copy reflects the tone of voice and brand guidelines of the organisation the manager creates harmony. An experience for the user that is consistent throughout the website, across social media platforms and through the various mediums of copy, image, video and interactive.

They understand that a post with an image is more credible, they understand heuristics like scarcity, anchoring and abundance, but most of all they craft a better online experience.

A forerunner respects rules and regulations, but also appreciates that a new audience or network will respond better to content designed for them. Ancient forerunners learnt the languages, dialects, customs and body language that appeased their new audiences, carving a path for their leader.  They master the technology and tool available but also know how to hammer in a nail with a variety of tools and quickly repurpose.

The forerunner not only tailors but they develop and implement an overall content strategy into which they meld the requirements of various stakeholders. All whilst addressing the needs of their buyer personas (the target audiences of their organisation).

They’re the forerunner for customers online

First and foremost the forerunner is customer centric.

The forerunner rolls up their sleeves for the customer ensuring they find resolution for their pain points with products and services, or information and content, should their needs be met elsewhere. They ensure the experience is as painless as possible.

They understand the various customer journeys that buyer personas take, they optimise sales funnels on the site to maximise conversion rates and they do so to ultimately please the customer.

They’re the forerunner for their team

A forerunner likes to roll up their sleeves. In posting content, status updates and A/B testing the forerunner keeps tabs on the user experience for internal customers too. Those that have to deal with cumbersome workflows, ageing tools or inefficient processes. The manager spots things like:

  • folksonomy editing
  • the pairing, deleting or formatting of tags
  • category management
  • approval bottlenecks
  • duplication
  • batching synergies
  • and workflow inefficiencies.

They keep a backlog of process and system improvement to implement that will streamline publication processes and minimise risk.

The forerunner creates a scaffold for his team to work autonomously towards well communicated joint goals.

They’re the forerunner for their leaders and peers

Forerunners are ahead explaining complex scenarios in a dialect the audience can understand and they manage stakeholders needs. Be that senior management, HR with careers branding, or legal with compliance. They communicate efficiently with each.

Like a good auctioneer the website forerunner has his eye across the digital room remembering all parties, their bids and their interests. With an eye on all facets of technical and content needs, prioritised backlogs are built of:

  • technical improvements
  • content features
  • content types, their audience, trends and seasonality

The forerunner has contacts in all camps and bridges sales, marketing and IT to meld the an optimum website within technical and budgetary restraints.

They’re the forerunner for the future

Through constant research – the forerunner has a backlog of potential new ideas for the site, social media and all digital touchpoints. The forerunner is a connector not only of people but also ideas through loose ties. Leveraging industry but also global and hyper local trends as they fit with the goals of the company, the forerunner proactively shares ideas to guide their leader.

As the champion of his website the forerunner isn’t afraid to challenges roadblocks and those deviating from what is currently considered best practice. He has the brand standards, site standards, usability and overall site design at the forefront of any decision.

They’re Agile

The forerunner has become an expert at iterative decisions. Taking big decisions and testing them with MVPs. Trialing on a low risk asset or A/B testing to integrate new features or content.

Constantly improving. Continuous beta.

 


This post is prompted by a recent Tim Ferriss podcast on the canvas strategy and a quote: “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday.

Podcast: Agile Development and some surprising upshots with Jason Wills

Agile Project management techniques, lean principles, learning and iterating are things that I’ve become quite passionate about over the last years.

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Seeing the results that “Going Agile” can bring to an organisation in terms of delivering value to the end user and business value over and beyond traditional methods gets me happy. It makes me think of the other applications for agile outside of software development – ways to really challenge organisations to take it to other teams like marketing and even into the sales and the recruitment process as well.
I even think in minimal viable product terms when I look at websites, marketing materials and even my renovation list at home.

I’ve been down in Christchurch today. Our fighting city in New Zealand that’s grinding its way to recovery from two city flattening earthquakes. A town of survivors, reminded of loss each day. A town that needs to iterate fast to get back on its feet and adopt new practices. We talk of digital disruption, we’ll this town has every disruption, from its core, to its psyche, it’s direction, transportation, infrastructure and lives turned upside down.

Many would say the town council needs to adopt some lines from the agile manifesto “working content over documentation” and “Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential”. Getting themselves up to speed again and functioning in a new normal shall we say.

Despite the hardships the city faces, Jason Wills the CIO of Harcourts introduced me to an excited team. Enthusiastic, that’s focused on improvement and learning. A team that is excited about bringing value to our end users. A team that has adapted Agile project management quickly. Despite being only in their second year of agile the team sizes epics with great accuracy (chunks of work taken into a cycle of development) and knows what they can accomplish in a sprint cycle (the time frames they work in).

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Jason and I had a fantastic day and thought we’d summarise some of the key points in a podchat – yes autocorrect I’m making a new word – for you.

Some of the pieces that most surprised me were:

  • Our commitment to agile, going all in with a coach and training
  • The rate of agile adoption in New Zealand amongst CIOs
  • The surprising side effects of agile adoption
  • The breakdown of knowledge silos
  • The resolution of business continuity issues through the sharing if knowledge
  • How it has lead to greater transparency
  • How the artefacts of scrum, like the scrum board with post it notes depicting workflow, have really helped business prioritisation
  • And yes, even some agile marketing slips into the mix which I’m amplifying as we role out our strategy.

I’ll let Jason continue the journey but please let me know what you think of this podcast format and if you’d like to hear more. I’m keen to start talking about incremental improvements, business value and that crossover between online and offline.

I’ve been talking to another of our Harcourts leaders Gilbert Enoka, the mental skills coach for New Zealand’s greatest sporting team the mighty All Blacks rugby squad. Hopefully he’ll share some tips and insights in a coming podcast too!