On a recent client visit, the main purpose was to help them plan their 2013 strategy. One of the topics we covered was how the management team and sales people could remain digitally relevant in 2013. After seeing the movie "Parental Guidance," it was obvious one of the lead characters, Artie Decker could relate.
In the movie, Billy Crystal stars as Artie Decker, a sports announcer for a minor league baseball team who still has aspirations to work with the San Francisco Giants. However, his dreams fall apart when he is fired from his job by a younger boss who tells him that he's not relevant anymore… they are cleaning house and getting rid of dead weight.
His boss declares Artie needs to get with the times and make use of Facebook and Twitter. Artie’s complete misunderstanding of these social platforms and digital leads to one of the movie’s funniest scenes. Artie now lives in a world he can no longer compete with and loses his job because of it.
Unfortunately, I see some sales managers and sales people facing the same scenario.
So here are what's called, Artie Deckers's 5 tips to being digitally relevant in 2013:
1. Know your digital terminology: There are a number of ways to brush up or learn what Digital terms are, like cross media campaigns, WAP, rich media, cookie based targeting and uniques. You can google terms you don't know, you can look up terms and definitions on IAB.net, you can review the Digital or you can review our Digital What and Why, or do what Artie does and ask a 12 year old.
2. Know your audience: Digital is not just used by Millenials or Gen X'ers but spans across all demographics. However, each audience uses digital differently. If you're blogging, posting, tweeting or pinning, understand your audience and make sure you're relevant. This also applies if you're executing advertising campaigns and designing creative.
3. Don't be afraid to try new things: Much like audiences may respond differently based on platforms, they also may engage in various ways through different devices. Embrace new technology and devices even if you don't plan to use them yourself. You don't need to buy an iPad Mini to understand how they work. Go to the Apple Store and play around with different devices they have on display, or ask a friend to see and/or try using theirs. You can also do this at Best Buy with various other tablets. Explore how they work so you understand the differences. If you don't know what I mean about Android verses iOS, then re-read Tip #1.
4. Don't put yourself in a bad position with those who know more than you: When Artie applies for an announcer position for ESPN at the XGames, he clearly makes a fool of himself by not knowing the lingo used by the people he is trying to impress. If you find yourself meeting with decision makers that know more about digital than you do, bring along reinforcements to help; people in your organization that DO understand Digital. But don't use these people as a crutch all the time. Take notes and be responsive.
5. Realize that Digital continues to evolve: What you learn today will most likely evolve or even be irrelevant in 3 to five years. Take a deep dive to learn Digital today but don't let the learning stop there. Sign up to receive news articles, blogs and trend information about digital. Make and take the time to read and understand what's going on now and what also may be coming in the future. The movie features a futuristic R Life Digital Home System that Artie has a difficult time understanding. Even though made for the movies, a system like this is actually part of our reality.
Would you like some help?
Kim Willoughby is a Senior Consultant for The Center for Sales Strategy