Last week I was fortunate enough to speak at the first TechXplore conference in Belfast, which featured a number of topics from raising capital to social media. It was a good event and I met several really interesting people who are pushing the envelope in terms of ideas and thoughts on the digital space.
TechXplore merged discussions on digital technology and business strategy among businesses, the public sector and entrepreneur’s in Northern Ireland.
As part of my presentation and panel discussion, I was asked to comment on the future role of technology. This is difficult to fully assess without looking at the way technology has changed the profession of communications (e.g. advertising, marketing and public relations). In fact, I focused on the very disruptive nature of all things digital to our jobs.
If we think of the way we do our jobs today there really is very little that has not be affected by technology. We network with people via LinkedIn. We search for news and issues through streams on Twitter. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are changing the way images shape our thinking and influence what we read. And blogging continues to be a way that we read a diverse set of opinions (including from B2B Voices) on news and trends.
The Financial Brand blog posted today Five Traits of High-Performing Financial Marketers, and some of these I touched on last week in my discussion. What’s happened is that the traditional silo roles of communications – advertising, marketing, PR – have been further blurred by technology. Integrated communications is now the norm for professionals, but technology has also pushed professionals to expand their responsibilities to the business.
Here are the new job functions that digital has evolved the way we need to think as communicators in order to be influential internally and externally:
Technologist: This goes beyond just using social media. We need to not only build our strategies around social media for our brands, but we also need to focus on building robust CRM systems and understanding how our stakeholders use technology. CIO magazine has been covering marketing v IT spending and the convergence of digital marketing and IT systems management regularly and it is worth following. Everything around technology in communication is moving toward inbound and real-time relationships and you should understand how they work.
Economist: Our jobs now mean we need to analyze, follow and interpret trends in the economy. If you think about your company’s value chain — from incubation of ideas to end users — what are the micro and macro economic issues that could positively or negatively influence your brand? We need to think like economists. Understanding the behavior of your company’s ecosystems will help you better interpret how your marketing and messages need to react.
Analyst: We are swimming in data; perhaps even drowning in it. How do you separate the good data from the bad data? What really matters to your business? Interpreting data and understanding success and trends can no longer be left to web clicks and pageviews. We need to think differently about data and move communications into a more robust process focused on understanding what matters to our stakeholders and what we should deliver.
Strategist: Competitive threats are constant and knowing the landscape is a must. There are a number of ways social media can help manage and monitor this ongoing stream. More importantly, interpreting and understanding what is happening and working closely with your business teams to equip them with the perception of the market is vital. How do you package and deliver this information to your internal stakeholders?
Lawyer: Answer this question: is your social media policy just plain useless? Disclosure, transparency and privacy are all regular discussions now. If you are not having these meetings regularly internally you are setting your brand up for a crisis.
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Are you ready for a real-time B2B world?
Still pitching to use social media?
What drives your b2b strategy?
Tuning into your industry