Here is the thing… in certain regards it makes sense that you have individuals who are familiar with publications, or broadcast and of course digital. However, a well rounded practitioner should be well versed in all areas of communications. As we move forward with technology, more and more it becomes apparent that these mediums bleed into one another, and have become tripods with each one depending on the other.
Yes there are definitely shifts in the way organizations spend their advertising/communications/pr dollars, with more moving away from print and into digital. That being said, it does not mean that all the mediums disappear and one will emerge the champion. Audiences consume information in so many different ways, and the most important decision you need to make as a practitioner is where to find them, if that medium makes sense for your target and what you are trying to achieve.
When you divide the three mediums so specifically, you end up with departments that compete for dollar spends based on their specific “specialty”. I’m not disputing that it does not make sense that happens, but I will say that divisions like that mean that it becomes a personal interest on obtaining larger dollars, rather than whether or not it makes overall sense for a campaign or an organizational objective.
I firmly believe that at this juncture in the evolution of our industry, being a digital specialist should not exist. I’ve mentioned this before, and I will mention this again – digital is another medium. It is another tool in the tool belt for marketing and communications practitioners to use. There should be no reason why anyone on any team should not be familiar with all three mediums, have some exposure to all of them, and have a firm grasp and understanding how they all should be used.
Teams should be educated in all ways that each of the mediums change. That being said, I also believe that every professional should have a vested interest in self education and keeping themselves current and relevant as well. The future of digital in these professions is that it will be common place – as it is in every day life already.
As most of you are aware, I have proudly worked for Rogers Media in their Digital Client Solutions Team for the last 3 years. Unfortunately, and to my greatest shock – last Tuesday I was laid off as part of their restructuring process. (You can see the story here: Rogers Communications lays off 94 staff in media operations.) Myself and 1 additional team member also was let go after 8 years with the company and 5 years on my team.
I first and foremost want to say that working at Rogers in my role as a Digital Engagement Manager was really and truly my dream job. It really was everything that anyone that works in communications could dream of and ask for -not to mention that I worked on one of the most prestigious teams. I’m not shy to say – as I did at many of our morning department teams – it was the team that everyone within the organization was trying to be part of.
I considered my team members to be like family. My Director was outstanding as was my reporting manager – and I always think that these situations are the most difficult – because when you work with great people and great mentors, it is so sad to not be able to see them and interact with them everyday. As I said to them – I hope this is only just a temporary pause until we have an opportunity to work or collaborate together one day.
I shall not include names because I do respect people’s privacy and anonimity 🙂 But to all the sales reps, GMs, editors and publishers, producers, project managers, creative and also of course to my entire team – thank you all so much for the time I had to learn and grow and be part of the wonderful things that Rogers Media does 🙂
Having had the opportunity to become a well rounded communications practitioner, it is really interesting to see how people use the word “strategic” when speaking about executional things. It’s almost as though the word “Strategy” or “Strategic” has become a buzz word and somewhere along the line, it does get confused with tactics and/or execution.
Press releases, websites, contests, a page in a magazine, a commercial, Facebook pages, Twitter pages – these are all the tactics. HOW you use them and your plan for that, should be tied into a bigger concept that is then linked into a specific objective. Confusion over the word “strategy” is prevalent in all communication/marketing disciplines and this truly impacts creative as well. Creative is encompassed into a large part of what we do and being creative also requires strategic thinking.
This post was inspired by my friend and colleague Lisa, (@lisawrites) when speaking about the creative process and creative strategy. Much like the communications process, the creative idea (images, layout, copy and design) has to link to some overarching theme that does inspire, engage or cause something to happen. Pretty or Twitter or a Website are not a strategy, but they are definitely tools that can be used to make something happen or reach an objective.
As common as this is, I do encourage communications and creative teams to think like this:
- What is your organizations overall objective?
- What is your organization’s overall goal/s for the year? How do you understand these goals linking into achieving their objective? (Not sure – then ask!)
- How is this campaign or idea going to help the organization achieve the above two things?
- What is the main objective for this campaign? How does it link to your organization’s objective?
- What are your goals for this campaign and how does that tie into your organizational goals for the year?
- Who are you trying to reach? Why do you need to reach them? (Creative teams need all the above information and absolutely need to be linked in at this point and moving forward)
- When do you reach out to them? What do you want them to do/say/think/believe?
- Where are they? How will you reach them? (Here are the tactics! See how far down the list it is? All the other stuff needs to happen first before we get here!)
- How will you know if what you want them to do is being done? – In other words – what are your metrics of success or KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).
- What are your benchmarks? What will you do if your KPI’s are not performing the way you would like? What other areas of support will put into this? What is your plan B?
Once you have these in your pocket you can execute. By no means am I implying that this step by step process is linear at all! In most cases, it will be more matrix like with lots of back and forths and adjustments, all while being sensitive to deadlines and budgets. As a rule of thumb I try to follow the above. Now, more than ever in my career (especially because I work production focused advertiser initiatives a.k.a – the actual execution), I see how critical the above steps are. Not all campaigns will perform the way you hoped, but that also means there are key learnings that can be pulled from that to understand your organization and its objectives even better.