In many organizations, the digital team is responsible for creating and managing what is often the first experience your customer has with a brand. Despite this, digital teams are often neglected, relegated to a corner of the marketing or IT department.
As the use of digital has grown in the enterprise, so have the teams that manage it. And as your organization rethinks its use of digital platforms, it’s also important to step back and examine the state of your digital team. Unfortunately, few organizations take the time to enable these important brand stewards.
Here are three ways organizations keep their digital teams down:
I know. There’s never enough funding for internal projects. That's nothing new. But in a lot of organizations, digital teams don't even have their own budgets. Many organizations take the stance that digital is just a permutation of the marketing communications and IT efforts that have been going on in the enterprise for decades. That’s only partially true.
Of course, there are strong components of marcom and IT in digital, but there are also some unique factors--and factors that have changed substantially since the advent of digital. Digital requires headcount and capital funds to support social media strategy, digital analytics, search engine optimization, user experience, mobile application interface design, multichannel content strategy, taxonomy development, and the list goes on. So don’t leave your digital team in the position where it is passing the cup to products and brands, or waiting for leftover funds from large marcom and IT budgets in order to get strategic digital work done.
You Don’t Change The Way You Work
Even though digital has been around for 20 years, few organizations have changed their marketing communications and IT processes to support the dynamics and prominence of digital. For instance, a constant complaint from digital workers is that when coming up with a new marketing campaign, the Web site to support that campaign is often an afterthought—and a less-than-ideal site is thrown up at the last minute.
Sometimes this dynamic reaches a level of absurdity: Organizations use the same process they’ve used for years to create a printed marketing brochure, but then the brochure is never printed. It’s made into a PDF and put online. Sure, people can download and print it. But there are likely better ways than PDF format to deliver that information to online prospects and customers.
Face it. Digital is here to stay. It's time for organizations to rethink internal processes and, in some instances, do digital first and paper second (or maybe never).
You Don’t Develop Your Digital Team Resources
Because digital is still a relatively new discipline, sometimes an organization’s executives and senior leaders have no experience in the domain because digital wasn’t a factor when they built their careers. For this reason and others, sometimes managers are not aware of how best to develop the careers of digital workers—or they forget to.
Digital workers often are not sent to the same management courses as their peers. As a result, some employees have worked inside the digital team for more than 15 years--some even have “manager” or “director” in their titles--but they've never actually been taught how to manage or been involved in strategic business planning processes. Often, senior managers just want their digital workers to keep that Web site up and running and don’t think seriously about their career paths.
This makes digital workers feel like nothing more than “page putter uppers.” As these resources grow and mature, they are going to want more challenging work and more responsibilities. Pay attention to this trend, as many digital workers get frustrated and move from job to job seeking an opportunity to grow their careers. When they leave, a lot of information about how digital works in your organization leaves with them. So take the time to nurture your digital workers. Make sure they grow, not just in digital domain expertise but also in business expertise—a powerful combination.
The good news for your organization is that, despite a lack of attention from management, most digital teams have provided a lot of creativity and innovation to the organization. So make sure when you bring them into the fold, you listen to all of the great ideas and expertise they have to offer the mainstream organization. Some of them have up to 20 years of digital expertise to share, and it’s the first time they’ve been asked to share it.