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How to get your bosses onboard your digital marketing plan

“Digital transformation is not about having a Facebook account, it is about changing the way you talk within an organisation,” said Nicco Tan, vice-president, relationship marketing and social media, Genting Malaysia.

According to Tan, understanding the company vision and strategic plan is crucial in getting your bosses on board.  Tan himself spent his first 60 days sitting with his bosses trying to understand their vision, how they saw the resort and their product evolving before trying to convince them of his ideas. He said:

If you don’t align yourself with the company vision, no matter how fantastic your idea is, the answer will always be a no.

The next step is transliterating these visions into breakthrough goals and then translating these goals into a digital plan. According to Tan, it is important to not only base the digital plan on the vision and business goals, but also look at it from a digital standpoint.

Agreeing with him is Veneesa Sinsua, group digital marketing, Asia at Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care. Voicing similar concerns at a recent Digital Marketing Malaysia conference, Sinsua explained her challenges in getting the hospital folks on board the digital transformation track.

In the case of Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care, Sinsua explained that her team had to explain to every doctor how SEO worked and why that was important in how they were being found online. This also included showing doctors and members of the management how social media platforms were primary in shooting traffic to the hospital’s website.

“Once they were convinced, they were more willing to help,” Sinsua added.

Meanwhile Mellissa Lee, head of GetResponse Malaysia said that a lot of time, people think that automation is going to replace their jobs in the near future and there will be no need for marketing executives anymore.

But this is not true. In fact, what automation does is it provide marketers with relevant actionable data, so marketers can track your audiences from the time they first interact with your brand, and through the different stages of the buying cycle.

“It helps you understand more about where people come from, what their interests are. And what automation does is that it provides you with more time to develop other areas of the business,” she added.

Get the other departments on board

The next hurdle a digital marketer may face in a traditional organisation might be getting other departments on board. This is because other departments may have their own agendas and KPIs to meet. According to Genting’s Tan, the solution to this would be getting everyone involved.

“If you want people to accept a behaviour or use the technology required in the organisation’s digital transformation, you need to understand that it is driven by some form of intention. This can be done through setting the right performance and effort expectations,” Tan explained.

To set the right performance expectancy, the digital marketer needs to convince other departments that the digital tool in question would be able to increase productivity and their performance – leading to bonuses.

“Cutting down work hours is also of value. Tell them that adopting these digital strategies can enhance their jobs, and tell them right away,” Tan said.

The next thing is setting the right expectations when it comes to effort of adoption. This can be done by assuring the relevant departments that the technology is easily adoptable into their existing routines,

“It’s always about ease of use – if the person perceives it to not be easy to use then it fails,” Tan added.

Social influence is also key to getting the majority to adopt the new digital strategies and technologies associated with it. Tan is of the view that members of an organisation respond to peer pressure because they are social beings.

“If they feel like they are being left out in the workplace, they are more likely to adopt new technologies to keep up,” he added.

However, all of this would not come without the right facilitating conditions, which provides the rules and structures required to create the right digital-friendly environment. Tan highlighted the importance of giving employees the right tools and access.

“While it is important to have a social media policy for guidance, don’t be too strict as it may restrict exploration across different groups,” Tan said.

Brands also need to recognise that the level of adoption may be different for different groups of employees. With younger employees, being given space to explore new digital tools is sufficient. However, with older groups with slower rates of adoption, the approach needs to be different.

“Invest time in teaching them and also consider creating a manual for them to follow,” Tan said.

It is also important to convince a lot of the senior management that automation doesn’t make things mechanical, which is a fear many older marketers face.

Content is king, distribution is queen

Having a content and distribution plan is also essential. Before deciding on content that is professionally made or one that is user generated, brands need to think about how this can be combined together in the storytelling process, Tan said.  Sharing the view Sean Ter, regional strategy director, Innity who said that if content is king, distribution certainly is queen.

“Without distribution, content are just words sitting on a page that no one reads. If no one views the content, the value content brings will not be achieved. Hence, distribution is queen and she wears the pants,” Ter said, adding that in the digital space, every brand is now a publisher.

Echoing similar sentiments on distribution was Hedvig Lyche, global strategy director of King Content Singapore. She however was of the view that one should have their own land to display their works of content on rather than work on “rented” property. But of course, if you are with limited budget, working with a partner with an established platform can be the better move, she said.

And ultimately, tracking is everything.

“Tracking and analytics is also crucial when it comes to starting out in the digital journey. This should also follow with small tests and iterations,” said Ter.

Not having trackers is unforgivable – you are just wasting money. Everything can be tracked now, especially when it comes to digital.

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