I have noticed that the word ‘confidence’ has come up in numerous conversations recently. For example, during one of my marketing workshops, a delegate told me that they wanted to be confident when it comes to using software, communicating with their marketplace and updating colleagues.
Where does confidence come from? The simple answer is ‘knowledge’. The challenge is the exponential rise in complexity of marketing arising from the digital age. In the last century, part of my training involved visiting the firm of printers that the marketing agency I was working for used regularly. I spent a day talking to professional printers who had spent years learning their craft. I did not want to become a printer, I wanted to gain a conceptual understanding of the process so that I could liaise between the client and the printer.
Today, many enterprises do most of their marketing themselves. They probably outsource the development of their website and some other tasks. However, once it is up and running, adding new content to their website such as images and routine tasks such as blogging are usually down to them. This means that they have to become adept at using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress and image manipulation software such as Adobe Photoshop. What is more, they have to become professional copywriters and get to grips with syntax, idiom, punctuation, grammar and the intricacies of webcopy layout and flow. This is before we contemplate the art and science of SEO.
No wonder that, at times, the person or persons responsible for marketing communications can feel a little daunted. The challenge does not exist in a vacuum. Our lives have become more complex in general terms. A digitised life and economy means that many people are constantly connected to the internet. Software applications, platforms, communities and tools keep changing, don’t they? New ones arrive on a daily basis.
The Apple iPhone was launched in 2007 and smartphone and tablet usage has skyrocketed in recent years. As I travel into London, for example, it is normal for everyone around me to be glued to a screen of some type. According to Wikipedia, amongst a UK population of 65,511,000 some 68.6% or 44,953,000 people now have a smartphone. Here is a Wikipedia list of smartphone penetration by country. Apparently, half the UK population now spends half an hour a day on Facebook. The stats roll on and on.
So what are the options for the hard pressed, busy marketer / business owner? They can attend workshops, read books, listen to podcasts and read marketing blogs. Alternatively, they can join a community such as The Marketing Compass or hire a marketing coach or marketing consultant if they would prefer 1-2-1 feedback.
Above all, no matter what is happening in our lives, we must keep learning.