The last two articles on Full-Stack Marketing for CxOs covered specialist roles, slow adoption (#1) and starting, expectation, people impact (#2)*. This, the third topic, is how to direct a Full-Stack Marketing plan, business sector research or business goals (i.e. sales targets). Although digital marketers take initiative and deliver results, executive management usually defines goals, allocates budgets and sometime also develops messages (or strategies). Without learning digital marketing details, CxOs can still target results, see progress and direct strategy.Technical and business focused marketers can take the initiative and communicate product features and market related information, but usually executives in charge of overall business develop strategies and even marketing tactics.
* See also on my LinkedIn account: recent activity
Read Anything Related to Marketing Your Products
Why start with reading? Simply because every executive needs to know what he is facing. In the past executives relied on their middle management to read, analyze and report on market conditions. This was divided to what customers are buying and saying (consumer preference), what the competitors are telling them (competitive analysis) and overall industry material (market landscape: reviews, trends, influencers). The digital era is eliminating the hierarchical message processing and filtering step. Almost everything you should see and read is is available to anyone. Your ability to see how information is presented, how it is perceived and consumed, and finally how it actually results in sales activity, is your own take on business. The digital format is not simply an electronic version of paper brochures, sales meetings and quarterly result analysis. It’s a new way to continuously see, analyze and go back with directions to correct .
Analyze (lead with strategy) Direct (not leadership)
Digital marketing is changing fundamental business practices. Yet perception of these changes is not always accurate. Simplifying this change into a few blog posts does not explain many of the changes (I tried this). This is why each leader needs to learn some things on her own. Each leader is faced with their own challenges and opportunities. Once you read a few blog articles, look at social media accounts and see how products are described, start tracking and analyzing on your own. If you need to see what they are talking about, record the subjects and descriptions they use. If you need to reach more people, look at social media networks.
The digital communication era clearly shows how participation and success in digital communication is a critical business success factor. But do CxOs really grasp key factors in digital business? Clear understanding of starting efforts (writing, publishing, networking, the work itself), initial results (impressions, leads, sales, influence) and the impact on the people and organization (learning, skills, practice) is a good place to start. Analyzing your own landscape and how people use digital media is one way to get started.
Start With One Plan
Once you read and analyzed, you can actually plan your next few steps. If you have something to say and can write things quickly (product descriptions, features, benefits), you can start writing blog posts, product pages and social media posts. If you have a good well defined target audience you can plan building a network and participate in social media
My advice to CxOs to actually do a little bit of the work does not come from mistrust. I am also not trying to add more work to your busy schedule. Just as in the past financial leaders made reading the Wall Street Journal and Forbes a useful daily practice, reading financial blogs and social media posts is just as useful. Just as defense and security executives spent time reading Janes Defence, so are today’s bloggers and portal worth the effort. Simply put, the digital business world simply runs on digital reading, writing, networking, advertising and management. If you don’t participate and jump into the game, you are standing by the sidelines.