Friday, July 4, 2014

Digital leadership - be more than an online expert

Being a digital leader means you need to be more than just an absolute expert in one area of online technology or marketing. You may know all about PPC, display & remarketing, SEO, email , display, affiliates and social media, but this isn't enough. To truly be at (and stay at) the forefront of digital, you really need to have the following qualities or experience:

1.  A leader of people
It's not just enough to have line managed the odd eCommerce staff member or digital agency, you need to be a mentor & coach, a motivator and a decision maker who can support and build a high performing team members to do great things.

2. An all-rounder
To understand how to get the best from that team, you ideally need an understanding of all aspects of online business. From being able to produce a focused digital business case to justify further investment, through to engaging with your opposite number in the technology department... you are going to have to have a broad spread of expertise.

3. An innovator
What have you done in your career that wasn't just "me too" but truly ground breaking? Have you been creative in your delivery of a new digital platform or applied a new method or approach to a building a difficult user interface? Have you been the first in your industry to trial a new device or an advanced technology that was subsequently adopted by the rest?

4. A strategic brain
Are you able to consider the bigger picture and link your team's work to the business drivers of the wider company? The creation and ownership of your organisations digital strategy should sit with you, it's yours to manage shape and develop as the company grows in its adoption of new online technologies and practices.

5. A customer advocate
Do you know who your customers are and what their digital needs really are? Do you know why your online presence or your eCRM initiatives work well (and why sometimes they don't strike a core)? It's not just a case of hiring a user experience (UX) person to do your thinking for you... you also need to get under the skin of your users and know what drives both their loyalty & resistance.

6. A scientist
Getting data from your analytics package is a basic necessity for any online practitioner these days, but being able to dive into the dashboards and analyse the insight that the information is giving you needs more than just a little diligence. You should also have experience of carrying out multiple experiments to improve your goals, ideally from a programme of on-going AB and Multi-Variate tests.

7. A communicator
It's fine to have strong views on those topics that you are passionate about, but you also need to be able to get your ideas across in a structured and eloquent manner.... especially to senior stakeholders.
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