As the convergence of different marketing tactics takes root in agencies, vendors and marketing departments of companies of all sizes, I’ve started to think about what it takes to ultimately be a “five tool player” in the digital space. Ed Boches wrote a great post yesterday about labels in creative and digital – and that got me thinking it was time to document these thoughts. What did I miss?
1. Creativity and Appreciation for Technology
Being able to come up with creative concepts is important for anyone in the marketing business, but taking it to a new level with an appreciation for technology is what is going to make or break success with regard to digital. I’ll be calling out some other technologies separately below, but understanding and being able to leverage tools available is critical to delivering impact. One of my favorite examples of this application is the Converse Domaination effort (it’s worth the watch, go ahead, I’ll wait).
2. Understanding the Community
I contemplated using “customer,” “audience,” and even “constituents” here, but community seems to broadly cover business partners, customers, and prospects. Understanding the needs, attitudes and behaviors of the community a digital player is trying to reach or interact with is a fundamental key to being relevant. It’s more than just market research, it’s the practical application of it.
3. Understanding of Conversational Technology
Social media is providing new tools, technologies and techniques to identify, engage and activate. Digital players today need to understand the etiquette, ins and outs of how these tools work and how people use them. A most recent example for me is a conversation with a copywriter trying to craft the “voice of the brand.” If that voice isn’t conversational, and they haven’t considered how to be so, an extension of any initiative into social media will be very challenging. One person who has spent plenty of time studying behaviors and what makes social initiatives work is Dan Zarrella – worth subscribing to.
Another critical area of technology focus is search engine optimization. A few years ago SEO as an industry was on par with voodoo, but today it’s both art and science to understand how people search online and how to best position digital assets to be found. Without an appreciation for SEO, a digital player will have a harder time delivering the goods to the community who is searching for it. One of the best speakers and evangelists in SEO is Lee Odden, always looking to understand and push the digital marketing industry along in this space.
5. Business Acumen
Those who have worked with me before know this is a space near and dear to me. Perhaps it’s obvious, but to be successful in digital a player needs to understand marketing, the relevant industry (regulated industries have very different expectations and limitations), and how to work with people. They need to be good team players and good leaders, especially in pushing through ideas that are new. Honoring commitments, adjusting approach to who you are working with (C-level vs. junior resources), ability to multi-task are just some things I look for in a team player – regardless of digital background.
What other qualities make the most well-rounded digital athlete? Does this apply to all areas of interactive marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if you’re a Digital Five Tool player yourself, I know an agency who would love to hear from you 😉
Photo credit: StarrGazr via Flickr