tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/talent-recruitment Latest Talent & recruitment content from Econsultancy 2017-07-31T12:30:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69283 2017-07-31T12:30:00+01:00 2017-07-31T12:30:00+01:00 10 things agency owners can do to help their Business Development Manager flourish Ben Potter <p>So what can agency owners do to ensure they make a success of their fledgling business development function? Here are a few thoughts based on someone who has been there and bought the t-shirt (from a very good salesperson might I add).</p> <h3>1. Develop your knowledge and appreciation of business development</h3> <p>If the discipline of business development is under-valued by agency owners (or anybody else for that matter) it’s because it’s misunderstood. It’s completely unrecognisable from the traditional, negative perception of ‘sales’ or ‘selling’. This is reflected in the heady blend of attitudes (blue), behaviours (yellow) and skills (grey) required to do the job well. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7771/BDM_attitudes__behaviours_and_skills.PNG" alt="Attitudes, behaviours and skills of successful BDMs" width="741" height="415"></p> <p>Before you do anything, make an effort to read a <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Sales-Guide-Youll-Ever/dp/0735211671" target="_blank">decent book</a> or two and understand some of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68385-ten-guiding-principles-to-help-small-digital-marketing-agencies-win-more-business/" target="_blank">principles of business development</a>. It will make you more appreciative of the role, more realistic in your expectations and a better manager.</p> <h3>2. Know what you’re looking for</h3> <p>If you haven’t recruited a BDM before, do your research and seek help. Look at other agencies and their job specs. Look at BDM’s on LinkedIn; their background, experience and the language they use. And speak to recruitment agencies with experience of placing BDM’s into agencies.</p> <p>The better you understand the responsibilities and requirements of the role, the more equipped you’ll be to put together a decent job spec, interview questions and tasks. You’ll also know what to look out for if using personality profiling techniques, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator" target="_blank">Myers Briggs</a>.</p> <h3>3. Ensure you have a credible value proposition  </h3> <p>Even the best BDM is not a miracle worker. If your <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68869-why-your-agency-s-value-proposition-probably-sucks-and-what-to-do-about-it/" target="_blank">proposition is weak</a> or your products / services uncompetitive (due to price, quality, service), hiring a BDM will make little difference. </p> <p>A relevant, compelling and credible agency proposition is the foundation of a successful business development strategy. It forms the basis of how the BDM will communicate your agency’s offering and value to prospects. If it’s not right, work on it.</p> <h3>4. Become a Sales Director… of sorts</h3> <p>A BDM is not <em>the</em> solution to winning more business. They are <em>part of</em> the solution (albeit an important one). As an agency owner that means the hard work doesn’t stop once they are on board. </p> <p>Their success will be largely shaped by your ability to manage them. In effect, you become an overnight Sales Director, responsible for inspiring, motivating and holding the BDM to account.</p> <p>If a BDM is left to their own devices, with poor stewardship from someone who doesn’t understand business development, they are very unlikely to succeed.</p> <h3>5. Invest in marketing, especially content</h3> <p>Prospects are busy, they research on their own terms and are inundated by other suppliers. Therefore, buying lists, ‘hitting’ the phones or sending hundreds of generic emails doesn’t work. We are way beyond that. </p> <p>If a BDM is to open new doors and nurture relationships, they need to create value through their communication. This means understanding the challenges faced by prospects, empathising with them, advising when appropriate and being helpful.</p> <p>To do this, the BDM needs a ‘tool kit’ of relevant, useful and engaging content. They simply will not have the time or expertise to create or curate this on their own. They’ll need the support of the wider team, particularly the discipline experts.</p> <p>Positively, most agencies invest in creating content. The key is to ensure that the content plan is, in part, driven by the new business strategy. </p> <h3>6. Give the BDM time to build a sales function</h3> <p>The frameworks, processes and templates that will exist in a more established new business department are probably thin on the ground if you’ve never had a BDM. A lot of small agencies I speak to don’t even use a CRM (for someone as anally retentive as I am when it comes to recording every call, email or even the slightest of enquiring glances at a networking event, this frightens the hell of out of me).</p> <p>With nothing to work from, you are essentially tasking the BDM with building a sales function from scratch. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you give them the time and support to do so.</p> <h3>7. Approach business development as a team effort</h3> <p>The BDM is on board to own and lead new business. But they can’t do it on their own. He or she will need help from the wider team. Along with content, they can support the BDM in all manner of ways, from industry research to attending pitches. </p> <p>Another often forgotten point is that a BDM needs to believe in what they are selling – in an agency that generally means its people. Yet too often business development sits to the side of the agency, rather than at its heart. All the onus is on one person, rather than a collaborative effort where everybody plays a part. </p> <p>If you want your BDM to succeed, put them at the centre of the agency where they can hear everything going on and build relationships with the team; the people whose expertise and experience they are ultimately selling.</p> <h3>8. Invest in their development</h3> <p>I’ve done business development for the best part of (uh um) 15 years. But I learn new things every day.</p> <p><strong>There isn’t a BDM in the world who is the finished article.</strong> In fact, there isn’t a human being alive who is the finished article (apart from Bruce Springsteen, obviously). </p> <p>This means your investment in a BDM goes way beyond their salary. They need the necessary support, internally or externally, to continuously build their knowledge, skills and network.</p> <h3>9. Give credit when it’s due… and support when perhaps it’s not</h3> <p>Only a seasoned BDM knows just how much commitment, patience, resourcefulness and attention to detail it takes to win that dream client.</p> <p>It might take months, sometimes years, of hard graft.</p> <p>Celebrate every win like it was the first. Ensure the BDM’s pivotal role is acknowledged and understood by everyone. Celebrate the small wins too – the appointment booked with a great prospect after months of trying, for example. </p> <p>People in sales are (hopefully) motivated by the opportunity to smash a target and the financial rewards that comes with doing so. But this isn’t all they care about. The pat on the back, the casual ‘well done’, the motivational ‘keep your chin up’ are just as important as any financial rewards, especially when they’re on a bad run... which, trust me, happens. </p> <h3>10. Don’t pull the plug too soon</h3> <p>It will typically take a BDM 6–12 months before they’re flying. This is of course dependent on a whole host of factors, some of which have been explored above.</p> <p>Yet I speak to agency owners that have got shot of a BDM after three or four months, blaming their poor performance. Granted, in some instances perhaps the BDM just wasn’t right for the agency. But in others, I’m not convinced the BDM was given the necessary support, time and resources to deliver.</p> <p>So before you give them the old heave-ho, consider whether it might be you, not them. Have you given them the best possible platform from which to perform?</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69254 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 2017-07-20T09:44:00+01:00 Four key digital challenges for IT leaders in 2017 Nikki Gilliland <p>Based on a sample of more than 500 IT leaders, here are a few key charts from the research, highlighting the biggest hurdles IT professionals currently face.  </p> <h3>1. Threat of security breaches</h3> <p>While technical skill is still a given, the role of senior executive within IT departments has evolved into something much broader, requiring a deeper understanding of business objectives. This also means creating a bridge between technology and other areas of the business such as HR, finance, and marketing. </p> <p>This focus on the wider customer experience has also led to the concept of the ‘chief integration officer’ – someone who is able to influence the overall strategic vision of a business. Following on from this, it is clear that the challenges faced by IT leaders are much more complex than they once were.</p> <p>Now, the threat of security breaches and cyber-attacks is cited as a key concern by 41% of respondents – higher than any other area.</p> <p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, executives at organisations with annual revenues exceeding £150m are more likely than their peers at smaller organisations to reference security as a major challenge.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7501/Security_attacks.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="535"></p> <h3>2. Finding the right mix of skills</h3> <p>Interestingly, it is larger organisations that cite lower levels of confidence in their digital skills mix, with just 58% agreeing that they are well-positioned in this area compared to 61% of smaller organisations. </p> <p>Similarly, European organisations seem less confident than their American and APAC counterparts. Talent availability is seen as more of a challenge than in other regions, with availability of individuals with the right mix of skills being cited as a top-three internal problem by more than 34% of European respondents.</p> <p>This is also the case when it comes to culture, with 61% of European respondents describing their company culture as "innovative, adaptable and undertaking a ‘fail fast’ approach". When compared with 68% of respondents saying the same for North America and 75% in APAC, it’s clear that Europe is still playing catch up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7504/Skills_and_culture.JPG" alt="" width="739" height="618"></p> <h3>3. Escaping silos</h3> <p>In terms of internal barriers, it appears the age-old problem of organisational structure remains the biggest. 42% of executives cited frustration with departmental silos and bureaucratic processes, while 41% expressed frustration over integrating legacy systems with new tools and technologies.</p> <p>This is even more the case for larger organisations in Europe, with 52% of European respondents citing bureaucracy as a top internal barrier.</p> <p>Interestingly, while support from senior management is less of a concern, a lack of shared vision relating to the meaning of digital transformation appears to be sustaining conflict. Again, this challenge is slightly more evident in Europe, tying in with the aforementioned struggles of skills and culture.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7506/Silos.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="541"></p> <h3>4. Keeping abreast of innovation</h3> <p>With IT executives now expected to help drive marketing strategy, keeping ahead of major technologies connected to innovation is another growing challenge – especially for larger organisations.</p> <p>46% of executives at larger companies are more inclined to feel pressure regarding tracking technology and innovation trends compared to 36% of smaller company peers. Interestingly, IT executives appear to be looking outside of their organisations to keep abreast of technological innovation. More than half of respondents say they exploit technology content sites and webcasts and webinars.</p> <p>Lastly, the challenge to keep on top of innovation also extends to finding talent, with increasing importance in striking a balance between traditional technical knowledge and softer skills such as communication, co-operation and strategic thinking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7508/Innovation.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="550"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-digital-trends-in-it/">2017 Digital Trends in IT Report</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69039 2017-05-08T15:00:00+01:00 2017-05-08T15:00:00+01:00 12 do's and don'ts for attracting digital talent in job postings Patricio Robles <p>Here are 12 do's and don'ts for job postings for digital roles. </p> <p>And to learn more on this topic, apply for a free place at our <a href="https://goo.gl/LO5VrK">Digital Transformation Conference</a> in London on June 14, which will focus on Digital Talent and Culture.</p> <h3>1. Do: describe what your company does and what makes it unique</h3> <p>For many digital professionals, what you do and why it's interesting can be what first interests a candidate in learning more about an opportunity at your company.</p> <p>In describing what you do and why it matters, KISS (keep it simple, stupid) works best. Focus on the who, what, when, where, why and how, and do it succinctly. In effect, this portion of a job posting should be thought of as the elevator pitch for prospective employees.</p> <h3>2. Don't: talk about "changing the world"</h3> <p>Even if you truly believe that your company is "changing the world", let your description of what your company does make this evident instead of incorporating this overused and increasingly meaningless phrase in your job postings. The smart people you're trying to recruit will have no problem determining the impact of your company on the world if you describe what you do well enough.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXuFrtmOYKg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>3. Do: use a standard job title and make sure it's accurate</h3> <p>When it comes to job titles, don't get clever. Make sure your job postings use industry-standard job titles.</p> <p>Sometimes, this can be more difficult than it sounds, particularly for creative roles. For example, there is a lot of debate about UX roles and job titles. In cases where there's some question as to the job title, ask for input from the employees who will be managing and working with the new hire.</p> <h3>4. Don't: try too hard to look cool or creative</h3> <p>While adding a dash of humor or creativity to a job posting is not a no-no – when done well, it can be especially helpful for creative roles and firms – be careful not to try too hard to look cool or creative.</p> <p>Modesty is best when attempting to inject humor, irony or pure awesomeness into a job posting because more often than not, attempts that are overdone produce postings that are confusing, awkward or even cringeworthy.</p> <h3>5. Do: describe the skills and experience you want in a candidate</h3> <p>Far too many job postings fail to describe in detail the skills and experience the successful candidate will possess. Not including this information is one of the primary reasons job postings fail to deliver quality candidates who are capable of performing the duties of the job.</p> <p>Specificity is key. For example, what specific software, tools and processes should the candidate have knowledge of? And how many years of experience do they need? Often companies don't include detailed enough information because the person who writes the job posting doesn't ask for or receive enough input from the employees who are best-positioned to know what the job actually requires. So it is important to ensure that there is collaboration between HR and hiring managers when this portion of the job posting is written. </p> <p><strong>Bonus tip:</strong> be careful about substituting adjectives like "ambitious", "analytical", or "assertive" for a legitimate description of skills. These are <em>not</em> skills, and they <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/textio-unitive-bias-software_n_7493624.html">can even reveal bias that turns candidates off</a>. Fortunately, if skills are adequately described, ambiguous adjectives often become unnecessary.</p> <p>For example, a well-written job posting for a data scientist role would probably not need to use the word "analytical" because a candidate with the skills described would obviously have a track record demonstrating analytical prowess.</p> <h3>6. Don't: use words like "ninja", "rockstar" and "guru" or state that you hire only the "best"</h3> <p>Words like "ninja", "rockstar" and "guru" mean nothing, and given that <em>every</em> company only hires candidates it feels are up to its standards, stating that you're looking for the "best" in a job posting is pointless. Enough said.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5914/ninja_turtles.jpg" alt="" width="709" height="493"></p> <h3>7. Do: post the salary</h3> <p>While many job postings do not list a salary or salary range, it's a seller's market for many digital roles today. Desirable candidates usually have no shortage of options – a recent survey <a href="https://medium.com/@wbelk/68-of-high-performance-employees-are-contacted-about-new-job-opportunities-at-least-once-per-month-c710f0393654">found that</a> 68% of high-performance employees are contacted about new job opportunities at least once a month – so keeping salary a secret in your job posting can sometimes even result in it being passed over.</p> <p>Posting salary also eliminates the need to spend time dealing with candidates whose salary expectations aren't aligned with yours and could be especially helpful in attracting engineers, who, thanks to the hot market, have over the years become increasingly sensitive to and savvy about salary negotiations.</p> <h3>8. Don't: oversell your sweet digs</h3> <p>There are few people who don't want to work in a comfortable setting, but chances are that the awesomeness of your office is a lot less important to job candidates than it is to the person who decorated your office. So while it's okay to mention the basics about the physical environment you offer, don't make your office a focal point of your job posting.</p> <h3>9. Do: list benefits</h3> <p>Health and life insurance, retirement accounts and paid leave aren't sexy, but they are very, very important to many candidates. So be sure to detail them.</p> <h3>10. Don't: play up perks that could give the wrong impression of your company culture</h3> <p>While there's nothing wrong with an awesome ping pong table or hosting epic parties from time to time, companies should resist the urge to play up perks that probably aren't all that important to many good candidates. In many cases, these perks can even be turn-offs to talented prospects because they can create a false impression of company culture.</p> <p>Obviously, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68840-culture-and-digital-transformation-how-to-build-a-living-business/">company culture <em>is</em> important</a>, but if your company culture is defined by perks, your company likely has a problem.</p> <h3>11. Do: explain the challenges and opportunities the job will offer candidates</h3> <p>Salary and benefits are generally important considerations for talented professionals who often have numerous options, but offering a high salary and generous benefits won't necessarily seal the deal if a candidate doesn't feel that the job will be challenging enough and/or offer significant enough opportunities for growth.</p> <p>For that reason, it's incredibly important that a job posting explain what the job offers candidates beyond salary and benefits. Examples of things that can entice candidates include the ability to work on unique technical challenges that a candidate likely won't encounter elsewhere, or the opportunity to work on high-profile projects.</p> <h3>12. Don't: ask for a unicorn</h3> <p>The fast-paced and ever-changing nature of digital means that organizations are often looking for candidates who have cross-disciplinary skills and are comfortable taking on a wide range of tasks, even if it means learning on the fly.</p> <p>But be careful about giving the impression that you're unrealistic in your expectations. Nothing will turn off a qualified candidate more than the impression that you're looking for a single employee who can do anything, anywhere, anytime. There are no unicorn employees, even if your company is a unicorn.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68962 2017-04-06T11:03:00+01:00 2017-04-06T11:03:00+01:00 How HR professionals are adapting to the digital age Nikki Gilliland <p>Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-hr-in-the-digital-age/" target="_blank">Future of HR in the Digital Age</a> report delves into this topic, drawing on insight and knowledge from people within the industry as well as wider research.</p> <p>Here are a few key takeaways, highlighting how HR professionals are adapting to digital change.</p> <h3>Being proactive rather than reactive</h3> <p>While HR professionals are increasingly using data to gain a clearer picture of employees across organisations, it appears that this is still being done at quite a basic level – usually for diagnostic purposes such as measuring output. </p> <p>In future, it is predicted that data will play a more proactive role in HR practice, ultimately being used in predictive ways to develop greater understanding and impact for the HR function overall.</p> <h3>Following the focus on CX</h3> <p>The below chart shows that customer experience is still seen as the biggest opportunity for businesses – above and beyond other factors such as creating compelling content or data-driven marketing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5200/CX.JPG" alt="" width="624" height="592"></p> <p>In turn, CX is also driving change in the processes, structures and practices across organisations as a whole – including HR. </p> <p>Whether it is finding ways to reinforce a collaborative culture or breaking down department barriers, the implications for HR are essentially a greater need to support cross-company collaboration and to facilitate change.</p> <h3>Improving digital literacy </h3> <p>Despite 71% of respondents in a survey saying that it is very important for business leaders to be technology-literate, just 28% said that they believe that is the case within their current organisation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5201/Tech_literate.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="453"></p> <p>This is clearly one area that senior professionals need to work on, however it’s not just about improving technology knowledge in an operational sense.</p> <p>Rather, senior professionals need to understand the potential, integration and application of technologies, with the separation and clear distinction of these three contexts being key.</p> <h3>Recognising the employee experience</h3> <p>While CX is often cited as the main catalyst for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68216-six-iconic-retailers-and-their-digital-transformation-journeys/" target="_blank">digital transformation</a>, many professionals are beginning to recognise that employee engagement is also a core component.</p> <p>In other words, true transformation is about more than just technical expertise and channels, or indeed marketing and CX. It is about how organisations respond appropriately to the challenges and opportunities that the digital world creates, or in other words, how they reshape the way in which teams work, collaborate and behave. </p> <h3>Evolving leadership qualities </h3> <p>Finally, HR professionals are increasingly focusing on ‘softer skills’, with a change in the perception of leadership qualities seen overall. Rather than traditional leadership qualities such as being inspirational, highly commercial and action-oriented – skills such as adaptability, flexibility, curiosity and the ability to embrace change are growing in importance.</p> <p>Of course, a mix of both soft and traditional skills remain the ideal, with knowledge and empathetic emotional intelligence truly driving organisational change. For HR professionals, the greatest challenge remains being able to find it.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68873-what-exactly-is-company-culture-and-how-can-hr-change-it/" target="_blank">What exactly is company culture? And how can HR change it?</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67976-this-is-how-you-explain-to-hr-what-digital-means/" target="_blank"><em>This is how you explain to HR what 'digital' means</em></a></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy subscribers can also download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-hr-in-the-digital-age/" target="_blank">Future of HR in the Digital Age</a> report.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68951 2017-04-03T11:44:55+01:00 2017-04-03T11:44:55+01:00 What makes Premier Inn the world’s strongest hotel chain? Nikki Gilliland <p>With total sales up 12.9% and like-for-like sales up 4.2% in 2015 and 2016, it marks a successful period for the hotel chain.</p> <p>So, what exactly makes Premier Inn so strong? Here’s a breakdown of its <a href="http://brandfinance.com/knowledge-centre/reports/brand-finance-hotels-50-2017/" target="_blank">BSI score</a> along with some further insight into what it’s been doing right.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5139/BSI.JPG" alt="" width="368" height="400"></p> <h3>Familiarity and consumer confidence</h3> <p>As one of the first mass market UK hotel chains to be advertised on prime time television, Premier Inn has infiltrated the consumer mind-set as a go-to brand. By using high-profile celebrities in its TV ads, most notably with comedian Lenny Henry, it has further cemented itself into the consumer consciousness.</p> <p>Alongside this sense of familiarity, Premier Inn has worked hard to instil a sense of confidence in consumers – and this has mainly been achieved by differentiating itself from the competition.</p> <p>With its ‘great night’s sleep guaranteed’ pledge, it goes above and beyond the promise of convenience or value to offer something that all consumers crave from a night in a hotel – real comfort and a sense that it is a home away from home. </p> <p>By using its partnership with Hypnos beds in this way, and even going as far as offering a money-back guarantee, it has been able to beat out similar chains that solely rely on factors like low cost.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpremierinn%2Fposts%2F1469295463100686%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="662"></iframe></p> <h3>Emotionally-led campaigns</h3> <p>Having established itself as a well-known and familiar brand, Premier Inn has widened its marketing approach to focus on more emotionally-led campaigns – recently using director Ben Wheatley for a new series of adverts. </p> <p>‘Great Aunt Mabel’s Birthday’ – a decidedly Wes Anderson-inspired ad – portrays the experience of getting ready for a special birthday party, building on relatable family-driven elements to engage viewers. </p> <p>Similarly, its ‘Working Girl’ ad depicts a different but similarly emotionally-driven experience of giving an important work presentation, which is conveniently made easier thanks to Premier Inn’s free Wi-Fi, unlimited breakfast and king-size Hypnos beds.</p> <p>With an emotional response reported to have a far greater influence on a consumer’s intent to purchase than the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials – Premier Inn’s decision to veer into this territory is likely to resonate with consumers. </p> <p>What’s more, it aims to show the brand in a fresh and multi-faceted light, removing the perception that it's <em>only</em> about a good night’s sleep.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dbpH2F-kn8Y?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Value-for-money and employee focus</h3> <p>With value-for-money having a direct influence on consumer satisfaction, Premier Inn’s commitment to offering a quality service for less appears to be at the heart of its success. But more than this, it is its ability to strike a balance between value and quality which sets it apart – and a reason why it has also ranked consistently highly on YouGov’s BrandIndex.</p> <p>Lastly, with staff satisfaction and corporate reputation contributing to brand strength, Premier Inn’s commitment to equality is also worth a mention.</p> <p>As well as a student placement scheme, the brand runs the Premier Inn Hospitality Apprenticeship programme to recruit people from diverse class backgrounds, regardless of academic achievement. The chain employs around 700 apprentices in the UK at any one time, offering the opportunity for apprentices to rise up the ranks and even run hotels or large teams at corporate level.  </p> <p>In doing so, it has demonstrated its position as a fair and socially-aware employer, undoubtedly contributing to its status as a powerful brand. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpremierinn%2Fposts%2F1349966288366938&amp;width=500" width="500" height="488"></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65315-which-hotel-sites-offer-the-best-user-experience/" target="_blank">Which hotel sites offer the best user experience?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb/" target="_blank">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68025-how-hotels-can-create-a-more-convenient-customer-experience/" target="_blank">How hotels can create a more convenient customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68904 2017-03-20T10:09:34+00:00 2017-03-20T10:09:34+00:00 Minding the digital skills gap: top tips for aspiring modern marketers Donna-Marie Bohan <p>In today’s business landscape we are witnessing a transforming job market. How are marketing roles and responsibilities going to change and develop in the future? How does the human element of brand building evolve in a world of emerging technology?</p> <p>These are some of the questions that concern us as modern marketers grappling with a fast-moving and uncertain environment. </p> <p>Data from The Marketing Society shows that <a title="why cmos life expectancy is falling" href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/03/07/why-cmos-life-expectancy-is-falling/" target="_self">the average tenure of CMOs in the UK stands at just 18 months</a>. All this means that marketers are having to work even harder to prove their worth to the board. With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68718-what-is-zero-based-budgeting-and-what-are-its-benefits-for-marketers/">zero-based budgeting</a> and increasing pressure to prove ROI on marketing spend now commonplace, the onus is on marketers to show how marketing affects the business bottom line and how it ultimately drives a business forward.</p> <p>A shift in how marketing operates means that finding and nurturing the right talent is often difficult.</p> <p>Panellists Julia Porter (Origin Housing), Liz Curry (Comic Relief) and Luis Navarrete Gomez (Lego) reflected on this issue at Marketing Week Live and spoke about the challenges and opportunities of the skills gap for the modern marketer.</p> <p>Here are some of their top tips for aspiring marketers.</p> <h4>Data is your friend</h4> <p>Data is now a central part of marketing for the future, which means that marketers need to be comfortable utilizing it. Creativity is no longer enough; understanding data is essential if a marketer wants to develop their career.</p> <h4>Don’t lose focus on what’s important</h4> <p>Functional skills such as ecommerce and CRM as well as channels skills such as programmatic and social were cited as examples of the type of know-how now in demand.</p> <p>That being said, while data literacy and a basic knowledge of technology is important, the tech revolution has perhaps resulted in marketers losing sight of what’s really important: the customer.</p> <p>Porter (Origin Housing) admitted that marketing to people has become a bit frenetic. Instead, marketers must focus on how data can be used to add value and provide a better customer experience.</p> <h4>A hybrid mix of skills</h4> <p>The expectation for marketers to embrace both innovation and data analysis reflects a new reality: marketers need both left and right brains; a competency with numbers but also a creative mindset. In actuality, a combination of skills is essential for marketers to truly progress in their careers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/4742/left_and_right_brain-marketo-blog-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="left and right brains - Marketo" width="470" height="234"></p> <p>This notion can be extended to the need for marketers to possess both functional and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64780-have-changes-in-modern-marketing-led-to-a-soft-skills-revolution/">soft skills</a>. Proactivity, adaptability and leadership are increasingly valued. As professionals with more technical backgrounds continue to join the ranks of marketing and the requirement of proving ROI to the board continues to increase, stakeholder management, aligning people with business goals and team building are important capabilities for the modern marketer.</p> <h4>Curiosity never killed the cat</h4> <p>So while recruiting for attitude and behaviour is considered just as important as hiring for skills and qualifications, panellists were in agreement that curiosity is one sought-after characteristic in the search for marketing talent.</p> <p>With rapid technological advancements demanding more continuous links between education and employment, lifelong learning is an imperative. Reading to keep abreast of the industry, the rising popularity of MOOCs and online classrooms and joining the gig economy are some of the ways in which marketers are taking ownership of their learning and shaping their own career and personal development.  </p> <h4>Finally…</h4> <p>Panellists offered some other practical tips on staying ahead in the era of modern marketing and how to improve knowledge and skills.</p> <p>Curry spoke of the benefits of making contacts with people who are at the same level as you in their career and mentioned the data council forum of which she is a member. Networking with peers in such forums is a valuable means of exchanging information and learning from one another.</p> <p>Finding a mentor was also referred to as a useful step towards boosting professional development. Mentoring schemes are provided by professional bodies such as the <a title="CIM mentoring scheme" href="http://www.cim.co.uk/more/mentoring/" target="_self">Chartered Institute of Marketing</a>, for example. The Marketing Academy also provides one-to-one mentoring and executive coaching from CMOs through its UK <a title="Marketing Academy scholarship programme" href="http://www.themarketingacademy.org.uk/our-programmes/the-scholarship" target="_self">Scholarship Programme</a>.   </p> <p>But Curry also emphasised the importance of being clear about what it is that you enjoy doing. There’s no point trying to make yourself a data scientist if you hate maths or statistics. It’s important to understand what an organisation needs as well as what you need.</p> <p>Deciding what you are interested in and building a portfolio of skills around that is a sensible approach to maximising opportunities and getting the most out of your career. </p> <p><em>To benchmark your own digital knowledge, take Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">Digital Skills Index</a>. And to expand your skills, book yourself onto one of our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/">digital marketing training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68883 2017-03-13T13:40:00+00:00 2017-03-13T13:40:00+00:00 How are brands structuring marketing teams in the face of a changing media landscape? Nikki Gilliland <p>The panel included Hugh Pile from L’Oreal, Jeremy Ellis from TUI, Paul Davies from Microsoft and David Indo from ID Comms. Here are just a few key points from what they said.</p> <h3>Understanding what consumers want</h3> <p>What does it mean to say transformation is the heart of marketing? Jeremy Ellis, the MD of travel brand TUI, emphasised that this means a company truly understands what its consumer wants. </p> <p>In other words, by bringing the target consumer into the room (so to speak) and building strategy based around their needs and desires – that’s when a marketing team is able to drive transformation as opposed to merely react to it.</p> <p>For TUI, a package holiday company that now competes against the likes of Google and other digital brands, a collaborative internal structure is critical for driving business performance.</p> <h3>Considering competition from new areas</h3> <p>When it comes to competition, L’Oréal’s Hugh Pile suggests that its biggest rivals are not necessarily multi-billion pound businesses – but those emerging from entirely new areas. </p> <p>Social influencers, for example, have been a massive disruption to the beauty industry, leading brands like L’Oreal to ask themselves – 'what changes are we making internally in order to compete? More specifically - what skills do we need from our marketing teams in order to do so?'</p> <p>While many adjectives were used, the two that seemed to crop up the most were ‘curious’ and ‘agile’, with the panel in agreement that the latter should be a trait of every modern marketer. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">A key skill we look for in marketers is agility: smart, analytical, creative - L'Oreal W Europe CMO <a href="https://twitter.com/hughpile">@hughpile</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ISBAconf?src=hash">#ISBAconf</a> <a href="https://t.co/QcXCZ8pNsP">pic.twitter.com/QcXCZ8pNsP</a></p> — David Black (@davidblack) <a href="https://twitter.com/davidblack/status/839486289195986944">March 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Establishing a balance of skills</h3> <p>The subject of agility was picked up by Paul Davies, the Marketing Director of Microsoft, who mentioned how this skill is most commonly present in millennials. </p> <p>As a brand that, in his own words, is ‘constantly playing catch-up with our audience and to follow where they are going, what they are watching, and what platforms they are on’ – agility is not just an effective skill but a necessary one.</p> <p>That being said, Paul also highlighted the importance of getting the balance right between left brain and right brain skills – i.e. logic and science compared to creativity and ideation. Ultimately, a marketing team that is based on fusion of the two is the goal.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">"When talking about the left &amp; right side of the brain, efficiency v creativity, focusing on the left, it's a race to the bottom." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/isbaconf?src=hash">#isbaconf</a> <a href="https://t.co/VoH0SnuLyf">pic.twitter.com/VoH0SnuLyf</a></p> — M&amp;C Saatchi London (@MCSaatchiLondon) <a href="https://twitter.com/MCSaatchiLondon/status/839501976773746688">March 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Recognising the importance of failure</h3> <p>During the discussion, Paul Davies was asked what has made Microsoft sexy again. While this was a rather crude way to describe the brand’s resurgence (and rivalry with Apple) – it brought up the subject of innovation through failure.</p> <p>Highlighting the phrase ‘done is better than perfect’, Paul suggested that giving marketing teams the permission to test and learn continuously is what drives true innovation. </p> <p>On the flip side, L’Oréal’s Hugh Pile suggests that innovation as an intrinsic part of strategy is what drives change. For example, he cited the brand's acceleration from a product-led company to a digitally-led one as a natural progression – facilitated by the constant innovation of internal teams. Simply put: if the culture is right, you can move your businesses in any way you want.</p> <p><strong>Further reading:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-marketing-organisational-structures-and-resourcing-best-practice-guide/"><em>Digital Marketing: Organisational Structures and Resourcing Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66223-with-a-blank-sheet-what-organisational-structure-would-you-choose-for-marketing-and-digital/"><em>With a blank sheet, what organisational structure would you choose for marketing and digital?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68867 2017-03-06T11:49:00+00:00 2017-03-06T11:49:00+00:00 Q&A: Direct Line’s MD on the marketing team of the future Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4369/Mark_Evans.png" alt="" width="380" height="248"></p> <p>Here’s what he had to say.</p> <h4><strong><em>Econsultancy:</em> What are the main challenges you are facing today in regards to team structure? What keeps you up at night?</strong></h4> <p><em>Mark Evans:</em> The biggest challenge most marketing teams currently face in a fast-changing world is how to structure for success. At Direct Line Group we have very deliberately re-shaped the team in recent years to maintain our edge. The result is a cohesive team of specialists that fully understand the benefits of integration and embrace working across silos.</p> <p>Today more than ever, it’s crucial to have a shared sense of purpose and accountability in order to address marketing challenges. At Direct Line we have fused together teams to bridge typical divides: propositions and communications, customer management and customer experience, social and PR, insight and marketing effectiveness.</p> <p>As a consequence, the heads of each of these four broadened teams have really big strategic roles, which ensures that we can move at greater pace where we previously faced mobilisation and prioritisation issues, ultimately leading to a more dynamic and effective function overall.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> How have you developed your marketing team to make it ready for the changing digital landscape?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> With the majority of our business happening on digital channels, we continue to invest heavily in ensuring everyone in our team (and the wider business) is digitally savvy. Within the marketing team, we’ve already made some significant changes to ensure digital runs through the heart of everything that we do.</p> <p>Consequently, we now run every campaign in a fully integrated way from the outset. An example of this was our recent Emergency Plumber campaign which stretched from traditional TV all the way through to a number of digital firsts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8MMYuGrROao?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> How much as has your org chart changed in the past three years?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> The evolution of the Direct Line marketing team has been extensive over the past three years. We have grown organically into a "full-service" marketing function incorporating accountability for social, PR, customer experience, and proposition development. Digital has also grown in prominence, not least as we have in-sourced some aspects of the model.</p> <p>More broadly though, we have invested in a progressive culture whereby the structure of the team itself becomes less relevant as we form more liquid cross-functional teams to attack specific challenges. For example, the creation, build and launch of the Shotgun brand which aims to save young drivers' lives was run as an agile process from the outset. </p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> What skills do you look for when hiring senior team members and why?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> We are passionate about developing talent from within so the majority of our senior team members come up through promotion rather than being brought in from elsewhere. However, regardless of where our senior talent comes from, the core qualities that we look for are curiosity, collaboration and a desire to take personal accountability.</p> <p>Broadly, this translates into an ability to spot the gap, the conviction to go for it, and the emotional intelligence to do so in the right way.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> Similarly, what skills do you think grads and young marketers should look to acquire?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> From my perspective, the key for graduates and young marketers is to be voracious to learn. At Direct Line we look to fast track learning by putting our grads through rotations to give them the broadest base of business knowledge.</p> <p>This was the process that I benefited from at Mars, moving through different functions, different operating units, and even different countries in the early years in order to maintain the steepest possible learning curve. It was a rude awakening working on a pet food production line for my second rotation but gave me a huge insight into leadership at a very early stage.</p> <p>To state the obvious, having exposure to several areas of the business provides perspective that translates into impact and gravitas. Ultimately if you aspire to move into bigger leadership roles, then you need to build the broadest possible foundations in order to survive inevitable personal earthquakes.</p> <h4><strong><em>E:</em> What is Direct Line’s approach to training and development? How does your team learn new skills and innovate?</strong></h4> <p><em>ME:</em> Training and development is a massive focus for us, again a legacy from spending a decade at Mars where personal development was very highly valued. We are committed to long-term development and so are constantly looking for new approaches.</p> <p>An example of this is that for the last three years every employee has had their own personal training budget (total training spend for the team divided by total FTE) to use as they see fit to improve themselves.</p> <p>This empowerment leads to greater personal ownership and as long as the money is spent in a way that is coherent with the individual's personal development plan then it leads to a better outcome for the individual and therefore also for the organisation.</p> <p><em><strong>Don't forget to sign up for <a href="http://www.marketingweeklive.co.uk/">Marketing Week Live</a> on March 8-9 in London.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68656 2017-01-03T14:17:12+00:00 2017-01-03T14:17:12+00:00 Will the digital skills gap hold back young entrepreneurs? Nikki Gilliland <p>So what’s behind this entrepreneurial boom? Here’s more on the study and why millennials in particular are turning towards non-traditional roles.</p> <h3>Startup inspiration</h3> <p>According to Wix’s study, 44% of people would prefer to be their own boss rather than work for somebody else. Which is hardly surprising, I suppose?</p> <p>However, one statistic that <em>is</em> quite startling is that over a quarter of people believe they could make up to £48,000 pounds a year if they turn their hobby into a business.</p> <p>That’s quite a bold claim, especially taking into consideration the industries that people are interested in.</p> <p>From those considering starting an online business in the coming months, 19.2% of people cited the startup category of cooking, while 18.5% cited baking, 18.3% photography and 16% sports.</p> <p>As we can gather from this, there is a growing shift towards creative roles, with the majority choosing this over technology or finance-driven industries.</p> <p>Interestingly, many respondents cited TV shows like the Great British Bake Off and The Apprentice as the inspiration for their own entrepreneurial goals, as well as motivational online content like TED Talks.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bvAEJ8G9l9U?list=PLOGi5-fAu8bFkzTIDgxljLEbCAyvzpyhB&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>Similarly, with millennials now <a href="https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/What-Millennials-YouTube-Usage-Tells-Us-about-the-Future-of-Video-Viewership" target="_blank">preferring to watch YouTube</a> rather than traditional TV, perhaps we can also put it down to the example shown by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">social media influencers</a> – a career path that is typically built on self-motivation and self-expression.</p> <p>For younger generations, it is equally clear that happiness is a big motivation, with 49% of respondents saying that doing something they love is far more important than earning lots of money or having an impressive job title.</p> <p>Luckily, digital companies do appear to be cottoning onto this trend, with many more introducing workplace initiatives to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68487-how-can-companies-attract-and-retain-talent-in-the-digital-age" target="_blank">attract and retain talent</a>, such as flexible and remote working and training opportunities.</p> <h3>Biggest hurdles</h3> <p>Despite an increased desire to work independently or become self-employed, there are undoubtedly still huge barriers to success.</p> <p>Although 70% of Brits in the study said that finance was the biggest factor stopping them from launching a startup, 57% said a lack of marketing skills, while 49% said a lack of digital skills like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/">SEO</a> and analytics. This isn’t big news, of course.</p> <p>Last year, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report on the ‘digital skills crisis’, highlighting the fact that 12.6m of the adult UK population lack basic digital skills.</p> <p>The report urged the government to take action, calling for increased focus on digital skills in apprenticeships, universities and schools.</p> <p>However, while an investment in education is certainly required, we cannot ignore the untapped potential that already exists within businesses, with many also calling on companies to ensure employees develop their digital competence.</p> <p>Similarly, with 47% of employees having never taken steps to boost their digital skills - it is also vital for employers to promote the value of it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2570/digital_skills.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>Path to success</h3> <p>While the digital skills gap remains a big barrier for would-be entrepeneurs - and the reason why turning a hobby into an online business might remain a pipe dream rather than a reality for some - the desire to do so still reflects the change in how younger generations perceive work.</p> <p>Alongside increased flexibility, this also boils down to the kind of work young people are keen to get involved in.</p> <p>Deloitte’s 2016 <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html" target="_blank">Millennial Survey</a> showed that, despite being known as the “me me me” generation, millennials have a greater desire to work for companies that have a positive impact on society – with the majority agreeing that success should be measured in terms of more than just financial performance.</p> <p>In fact, millennials that intend to stay with their organisation for at least five years are far more likely to report a positive culture, with an alignment of values being incredibly important for job satisfaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2573/Purpose.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="472"></p> <p>Interestingly, this was also reflected in our series of interviews with the Top 100 Disruptive Brands of 2016, with executives citing shared values, creativity and a lack of ego as some of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68483-hiring-digital-talent-what-skills-characteristics-do-startups-value" target="_blank">skills and characteristics most valued</a> by startups.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>With a growing percentage of young people looking into self-employment, it remains to be seen how the digital skills gap will affect the ratio of success to failure.</p> <p>Perhaps then, if the UK Government succeeds in driving action to combat the issue, we can expect tomorrow's workforce - otherwise known as Generation Z - to be the real digital entrepreneurs of the future.</p> <p><em><strong>To see how your digital knowledge stacks up, take <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/" target="_blank">Econsultancy’s Digital Skills Index</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Or to improve your skills, you can also check out our range of digital marketing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/" target="_blank">training courses</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68533 2016-11-16T12:42:00+00:00 2016-11-16T12:42:00+00:00 Low growth predicted for digital agency revenues in 2017: Report Nikki Gilliland <p>The research also found that on average agencies predict their daily rates will grow by only 2% in 2017.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1513/Predicted_growth.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="572"></p> <p>This news comes from the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/digital-agency-rate-card-survey-2016/">Digital Agency Rate Card Report</a>, which is based on an online survey of 398 UK digital agencies.</p> <h3>Predicted growth is down but positivity is up</h3> <p>So what’s behind the downturn?</p> <p>Many respondents cited uncertainty over Brexit as the biggest obstacle in the near future, and more specifically, its impact on clients' budgets and funding capabilities.</p> <p>A surprising number also mentioned resourcing, with difficulty managing freelancers and finding the right people in a competitive market appearing troublesome.</p> <p>Despite this level of uncertainty, many agencies reported having a high level of confidence in their business for the next 12 months.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1514/Optimism.JPG" alt="" width="628" height="465"></p> <p>Though it might sound contradictory in relation to the previous finding, this positivity stems from the weaker pound and the opportunities it presents on an international level.</p> <h3>Offline networking growing in importance</h3> <p>Finally, when it comes to attracting new clients, the majority of agencies said recommendations and referrals are the most effective tool.</p> <p>Though this method is seen as marginally less effective than it was in 2014, other practices like offline networking and email marketing have seen a spike in perceived importance.</p> <p><em><strong>What are the most effective business development methods or ways of getting new clients? (2014 vs. 2016)</strong></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1537/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_12.45.51.png" alt="" width="774" height="891"></p> <p><strong>For lots more on this topic, you can download the full <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/digital-agency-rate-card-survey-2016/">Digital Agency Rate Card Report</a>.  </strong></p>