The Digital Conversationalist

I’m in marketing or communications, where should I focus my efforts?

None of us can deny that marketing and communication professionals are anything but overwhelmed by our roles today.

What technology should we use?

How do we shift our advertising efforts to get better results?

How do I demonstrate revenue from our campaigns?

Content marketing, what, why, how?

Employee advocacy, how do I create a movement?

How can I make our digital activities more potent and powerful?

How can I get customers actually engaging with our brand online?

I need to find influencers!

How can I get the sales and executive teams supporting me?

Big data yes, I need to focus on that.

And so much more.

All of the above and many many other things, as well as industry leaders re-defining the CMO role (remember this example – Coke Global CMO to Depart Amid Leadership Changes) are challenging senior marketing and communication professionals, with many of us struggling to work out how to be relevant and take on the mantle needed to transform our businesses from the inside.

It’s an interesting time for professionals in our field, but equally, a wonderful opportunity to stand out.

So to answer the one question I always get asked when speaking to a marketing audience: what can we do today that will make a difference? Where can we start?

Start with yourself.

Get social, seriously social, and own your voice in the market. You see, people in marketing and communications are always working on this for their brand, but rarely do it for themselves. This is a miss – personally and for their company.

I shared this blog last week, about LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index, which shows the average SSI score for the marketing and advertising industry at 23. I was completely shocked to see this. Our industry should lead this, or at least be equal with sales!

So why should we do this in the marcomm industry?

Two reasons.

First: because participating deeply on social media gives you the insight into how it really works. With 90 per cent of the population essentially voyeurs on social, the people leading the marketing revolution need to be in the top 10 per cent – driving adoption and intelligent engagement from the front. They need to live and breathe the digital world by being an active member of it.

If we’re not in it and invested, it’s virtually impossible to understand it’s true power, as well as gain the understanding needed to cut through the noise to gain our customer’s attention. How can we appreciate what it takes, unless we are personally trying to work out how to get our own message heard?

To know how the customer operates today (whether voyeur or active), we need to be where they are, engaged, and lead from the front. Not only is it great for your career, but it will also help you to understand it, which means you can help your brand be more effective at it too.

Second: Most marketing and communication leaders tell me they want their leaders engaged on social media. Awesome.

But if you really want this, it is your example and experience that will be the inspiration to get them truly engaged. I find that marketing/comms leaders who aren’t engaged are happy to outsource the social presence of their leaders, which is almost always ineffectual.

Social leadership is personal. Sure, they can have help, but they must be in it. If they’re not, it’s just more PR noise and everyone can see through it. Shaping the executive message to perfection is not relevant anymore. It’s old school PR and quite simply, just doesn’t inspire.

I cannot say this enough – true social leadership requires executives to be behind their digital voice – it is the humanity and authenticity that cuts through.

Do we have a deal?

So, marketing and comms leaders, shall we make a commitment and get our industry SSI average up to 70+?

I definitely believe it’s time. It’s time for us to be examples to all of the people we work with, so we can show them what they can personally get in return from the investment. It’s definitely powerful ROI.

To do this, we must live and breathe it, so we know what works and what doesn’t. This is the only way to truly understand the noise and how to be exceptional within the mix. That is our job today. It is this insight that will help us ensure our brands excel too.

I really believe in this. Get on board. Define what you want to be known for, get out there and own it. Be an example and lead the revolution from the front.

What do you think? Am I right? Wrong? Something else is more important in your opinion? Let me know in the comments.



Pathway to triumph photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I really appreciate it. If you like it, I’d love a comment, or perhaps you can tell me who your favorite social leader is today? Of course, please feel free to share with your communities, because that’s what this is all about today – sharing and giving to each other.

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