Six Signs Your Brand Needs a Digital AuditThe definition of a system audit is an investigation into how effectively a business operates in the digital world. It examines all the aspects of an organization addressing what elements are working and not working. It also reveals the most likely return on investment that an organization can expect to receive. The type of auditor required depends on the circumstances. There are several different kinds. There are internal auditors who are employed by companies for the purpose of auditing them from the inside. Government auditors audit federal and state agencies. There are also independent auditors who are not affiliated with any government agency or other organization.

Misinterpretation of data
Not interpreting your data correctly impedes your ability to make your business succeed. To improve marketing and sales results, you have to know how to manage your data effectively. Decide what data you want to track and how you’re going to track it. Then make sure the data you collect is presented in an organized and consistent manner so it can be interpreted the same way by different examiners.
Under-utilization of a Marketing Automation PlatformA Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) is a powerful digital business mechanism. Some of the features of a MAP include: database segmentation, multi-touch campaigns and revenue attributions, lead scoring, cloning, A/B and multivariate testing and sales empowerment activities. If you are not employing these tools, you’re not using your MAP to its full potential. Common examples of how marketers under-utilize a MAP are: only utilizing fundamental functions and failure to explore and learn how to integrate different functions effectively.

No return on investment

The primary function of any MAP is to be used as a vehicle to traffic more revenue into your business. Besides increasing revenue, marketing automation brings several other benefits to the table, including: an increase in highly qualified leads and a rise in Structural Query Language (SQL) conversion rates. So the utilization of marketing automation can be very advantageous. It gives better support for more sophisticated strategies, as well as provides new insights for targeting customers and gaining leads.

Automation plans uncoordinated with marketing and sales strategies

When an auditor reviews your organization they will closely examine your strategy as well as determine an automation activity that will fit your strategy the best. As your strategies evolve over time, make sure you are keeping your MAP up-to-date. No matter what marketing and sales strategies you use, your platform should always be in sync with your strategies.

Conflict between marketing and sales

A well designed MAP can make your marketing strategy work. However if it is not assembled effectively your MAP can be holding you back. The red flag here involves marketing teams and sales teams. While your marketing team may support a given automation activity, your sales team may not feel the same way. A common conflict is when a marketer is confronted by reluctance from his or her sales team when they are tasked to automate an aspect of a campaign. To ensure universal agreement from all parties you have choose the right approach.

Another common frustration among marketers is not receiving satisfying results especially after a great deal of effort has been spent integrating new automation activities. This can occur when an organization utilizes a grab bag of features that aren’t put together in a sensible way and aren’t assembled into a solid cohesive unit. The usual culprit here is the succession of different marketers over time choosing the marketing automation platform to best suit their individual specifications and objectives.

Lack of Strategy

Of all the aspects of building and operating a digital organization, leadership is the most important component. The transition from manual to digital automation is not immediate. It takes time. The danger here is that the sense of non-urgency can lure executives into a false sense of security and the mindset that they can take their time. On the contrary when transforming into a digital business speed and efficiency are crucial.
While the decision of who to appoint to head the digital transformation of your company may generate a fair amount of discussion, the duties and responsibilities of that position generally fall under the jurisdiction of a Chief Executive Officer. However, certain circumstances may dictate otherwise.

The type of executive officer position you create depends greatly on the nature of your organization’s transformation. If your transformation is focused primarily on the customer leadership should be given to a Chief Marketing Officer. If the transformation is technological a Chief Information Officer should be appointed. When a cross-operational approach is needed elect a Chief Digital Officer.

No matter what form of executive officer you choose to elect, the most important thing to remember is to assign them clear concrete responsibility and authority, as well as accountability.

Tagged with:
 

Build Better Teams - 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

If you are interested in finding out exactly how successful you can be with the team you have, there are a few foundational conditions that have to be met. Create the right environment, and you will achieve milestones. Keep trying to force production in the wrong environment, and you can expect a few sputtering fits and starts until the whole thing just seizes up before the inevitable crash and burn.

Step one in getting the most out of your team is figuring out what matters most to them. Here’s the rub … they may not even know. Many employees are so conditioned to “trying to make the best of it” at work, they never really think about what could be done to truly inspire and motivate them.

Sure, they gripe. To you, to each other, to social media … but complaints are not always what people really care about. Think about politics for a moment. For four years you will read diatribes online about specific issues, then, when the time comes to actually pick someone, their choice is made for entirely separate reasons. Human Nature 101.

But don’t be discouraged, there are some good people who specialize in studies giving employers and managers a good baseline for learning what matters most to your employees. Start there.

People want to belong, to matter, and be important. Humans are tribal, for better or worse. We want to be part of a successful team. We’ll even tolerate being a part of a failing team if there’s some hope for a better future. Belonging is not just about the right color t-shirt or company name tags. Those are just props. Belonging is a feeling, something deep that draws people together and provides identity and strength.

How can you create that sense of belonging? It starts with something clear to cling to. Think about sports team fans. The most popular teams tend to have an “identity” closely aligned with the character and reputation of the town. Fans revel in that connection. Potential fans gravitate toward it. In business, that identity comes from culture and vision. Where you are going, what you are doing, and how you plan to get there each and every day all contribute to your culture and vision.

Don’t be afraid to allow your vision and culture to be obvious. Plant your flag in How We Do Things, and you will attract the right sort of people for your team. You will also encourage those who don’t appreciate the vision and culture to find another they like better.

Definitive cultures need strong leadership. You don’t have to be Conan the Barbarian or Josef Stalin to be considered strong. Principled, wise, and secure work even better. Let people know you understand where you are all going and you appreciate their genuine contribution to getting there.

Tagged with:
 

Winning In Public Relations With The NewWith the advent of news on mobile devices, the public relations industry as a whole shrugged. Then they started hemorrhaging money left and right. Pundits and prognosticators weighed in, predicting DOOM for the Traditional Media. New media, they presumed, was king. People didn’t want Old Media anymore when they could get it on their phones. But, trends are not always to be trusted. Rumors of News’ death may have been premature.

While the momentum is still decidedly on the side of New Media News, at least one contender to the throne of Tomorrow’s Media has fallen from contention. Former New Media Cinderella “Circa News” recently reported that it would be putting its news app on “indefinite hiatus.” That, usually, is code for “we’re done with this.” It’s almost always cheaper and more profitable to come up with a new idea than to try to resurrect a proven loser.

Then again, Circa News may not really have been a bad idea. It may have just been too expensive for its developers to continue to produce. That’s the current story being floated, anyway. The promise had been “breaking news faster and better and more mobile-friendly than ever before…” then they ran out of cash and had to pull the plug.
Wait, you argue, isn’t there more cash out there for a concept with some momentum behind it? Usually, yes. Unless that idea is going nowhere.

In their swan song missive, the decision makers at Circa divulged a fact all media tycoons understand – real news is expensive to produce. Here’s what Circa’s CEO Matt Galligan had to say:

“Producing high-quality news can be a costly endeavor and without the capital necessary to support further production we are unable to continue.”

This is the dynamic all digital news agencies and app producers have to face. The news business is hard, profit is tough to come by and making it work on a reasonable budget is next to impossible. Competition is fierce, and the public appetite is immediate. Delays don’t just cost money, they kill companies.

At the center of all of those dynamics is the reader. The fickle, ever-changing reader. There was a time when media control was absolute. Now a single-menu restaurant has become an all you can eat buffet of options. To be consumed, media has to be chosen. That means media – both old and new – is subject to the same dynamics that govern the marketing of any other high-competition product or service. Those who figure out how to work within that paradigm will survive. Those who ignore it, favorable winds or otherwise, will sink.

Tagged with:
 

leadership training

Large companies should know that frontline managers should be given training and authority to act. Frontline managers are those noteworthy souls who, in most cases, oversee others efforts in a management role yet are given no authority to make policy or decisions. Generally they relay decisions and then make sure those policies are followed. Yet, frontline managers may be the very people who can see where changes should be made to create better results. If they know how to develop strong relationship with the line workers and with upper management, they can become the bridge that strengthens every part of an organization.

Leadership Training : A Necessary Investment for Success

If your company wants to see real expansion and growth, consider training for your frontline managers in the following areas:

Communication and coaching. An active and empowered frontline manager needs to be aware of what is happening in his location. If he has an open communication with the workers, customers, and upper management, he can then use that information to make decisions to stay ahead of any problems. If the frontline manager is in charge of one store in a national chain, he is the one who should have the power to act when community situations arise.

Waiting for a policy decision from the national headquarters may cost valuable response time in emergencies. The faster the manager can act to provide help and assistance, the more positive will be the outcome for that store, and in many cases for the chain of stores in an onslaught of positive publicity. And just as each location may have specific needs and concerns, they have individuals in their workforce.

The frontline manager is the one who, if he is keyed in, can see the special talents, connections, and skills of his workers. That manager should have the training to know how to use those skills to the best outcome for the company as well as the individual. As a manager learns to develop the abilities and skills of his staff members, he improves the conditions of the workplace, employee satisfaction, and the morale of the workforce. Happy workers make for pleasant interactions with customers, which lead to repeat business.

Retention and motivation. Yes, your frontline manager will make sure the workers know the company policies, but he should also know how to get the best results from those efforts. It is hard to build employee loyalty simply by enforcing corporate rules and policy. A good manager will find ways to amp up the efforts of his staff, to motivate them to better results. He will also make sure that he retains employees, so turnover is not costing more than necessary.

When people feel they are appreciated and honored for the work they do, they will generally stay longer and be loyal to their employer. And, in this case, their employer is the frontline manager, at least to their way of thinking. But that manager will have also instilled a culture that lasts beyond his time in the job because the workers have seen how it is done day-in and day-out. This trains them to do the same with each other.

Problem resolution. Whenever possible the manager will foresee any problems, plan for them, and put solutions in place before the problem happens. But there are also emergency situations that arise and need to be addressed. A local dam breaks and floods half of the community – this is an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. In such major situations, communications may not be available for days. If your manager has the authority to act promptly, he can save your company a lot of headaches and money.

Whether he closes shop and sends the unaffected workers out (on your company’s dime) to volunteer in the community rescue efforts, or opens the facility to provide temporary shelter to displaced families, he can be the best thing that happens in your company. If his hands are tied, you may not have repercussions, but you also won’t have any good will nor the publicity garnered from his good choices.

Give your frontline managers the tools they need, and they can do wonders for your bottom line.

Lean Management

Lean management is a holistic approach to running a company and how your organization can benefit from this style of communication. As in most things, change starts at the top. Once you, as CEO, are convinced of the value of lean management, then the shift to it begins to happen. Now, how can you get that ball rolling?

Lean management allows people to do what they do best and most love to do. So one of the first steps you need to take is to organize your people so they can create small groups allowing them to do that most of the time. In other words, if you have people who want to sit at their desk and focus on getting information into the computer, you shouldn’t have them spending half of their day in meetings where they are expected to be highly communicative with others. Nor should you have someone who is highly social stuck in a filing room all by themselves all day. So the big trick at each level of your organization is discovering who likes to do what and how to make it possible for them to do that with more of their day. That will start with communication between them and with you and other leaders.

But sometimes people are so used to being told what to do, it might be hard for them to identify what the ideal situation would be for them.

Another issue you will face is that your management staff may feel as if they are being robbed. Because you will be empowering people to do what they already know and love doing, they will need much less direction and supervision. So helping management staff realize that they also will do what they love more and not as much of what they dread, the transition should be easier.

Even in the microcosm of your company, you will find those who love to file, those who love to answer phones, those who love to type, and those who love to organize. You will also find the people who dream up solutions and innovations. It is a simple matter of identifying and channeling those people and allowing them to shine in the way they have always wanted.

You’ll spend less time training new employees, partly because old ones won’t leave and partly because they will gladly train themselves about the things they love. You’ll spend less energy following up with people about when they will complete a project you feel they should do because almost everything they do is fun and exciting to them. You’ll also get to experience the appreciation of employees who know they’ve never loved a job more than what they are doing right now.

Ultimately, you’ll have managers who love communicating with their group and who know best how to do so. When that happens, your job as a communicator becomes almost effortless both inside your company and with the public.

The road to getting to this utopian company may have a few bumps. You’ll probably encounter some resistance too—mainly because no one has ever had it so good before. But the effort will be worth it and in the end your team will be happier, more productive, and more efficient.

Tagged with: