In conversations with colleagues and peers about what’s on the horizon, for this year and beyond, ongoing education and training is always at the top of my list. Our clients, in both the B2B and the B2C space, are smart, hardworking people. But the world is changing so rapidly and technology and connectedness are so rapidly evolving that it’s difficult to know what to pay attention to first. Our clients feel this pressure and I’m sure you do, or that your clients do, as well.
In fact, I see job descriptions all the time that make me shake my head. Companies are often looking for one individual who is not only a marketing strategist but also an expert at email marketing, social media strategy and community building, ecommerce and SEO/SEM. Seriously. Oh, and those same job opportunities – it’s not unusual to see specifications for a candidate with 3-5 years of experience and salary of $50,000 or $60,000. Those are the ones that make me laugh. Do people really think they’re going to find capabilities that diverse at a mid-level salary?
I digress. My point here is that it’s hard to be in marketing today. In order to be really successful on behalf of your clients you need to not only understand the web and online marketing, you need to understand the basics of SEO, social business and how it impacts you and your company and you need to understand the mobile space and its implications for your business, as well as social media channels. And, of course, you need to be able to keep on top of what’s happening on which platform and how each can (or might) be used as part of your integrated marketing efforts and brand campaigns. And so much more. And those things–they take time to learn and experience in the trenches to get right.
So if you’re running a marketing department or managing a team or even just charged with marketing for your small to medium sized company, the first step, at least to my way of thinking, is understanding that you can’t know it all. And also, that you probably can’t DO it all.
Once you’ve come to grips with that, instead of being frustrated about the lack of abilities or resources that your team possesses, focus instead on training and adding resources to help your team stay abreast of what’s going on. And realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different groups of employees need different kinds of training. It’s also important to understand that employees don’t walk away from one training session qualified as experts. They need regular reinforcement, opportunities to ask questions and continue to learn and grow, best practices examples on an ongoing basis and also data that shows the fruits of their collective efforts.
So as you’re putting your plans in place for 2013, do yourself a favor and put training for you and your staff very high on the list. There are great resources out there, conferences you can attend or send your people to and vendors you can collaborate with to help relieve some of the pressure and let you and your team focus on what they’re good at, yet deliver great results for your company and your clients as well. And most of all, remember that one training session or one conference can’t possibly make someone an expert. Keep providing regular training and regular support and your team will not only thank you, they’ll perform better and be exponentially happier as a result.