Traditional marketing organisation structures are failing touchpoint innovation. With marketing teams largely organised by channels such as search, display, social, and customer care, there is little incentive to think laterally about problems and opportunities across the group.
Emerging touchpoints often redefine and cross channel boundaries, which can quite quickly cause problems for teams with restricted views, budgets, and personnel. Take the emerging touchpoint of interactive video, for example, which turns video content into a microsite and has implications on eCommerce, search engine tactics, social, and content marketing. Aside from process and budgeting issues, many brands find that staff members who have worked together for years find it difficult to break out of their habits when asked to embrace and drive the 'new'.
So what does this emerging touchpoint talent look like? Along with core qualities of entrepreneurial drive, creativity, and the ability to work flexibly across direct and virtual teams, there is also a skills profile that suits this multifarious role. Emerging touchpoint staff members have a wholly different profile from staff members in your ROI-driven, core marketing machine, who typically have a single specialism. In 1991, Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo, described this flexibility as a T-shaped skill set. While he intended it to be used for collaboration across roles, it's also a useful way to think about a broadening of functional skills, resembling more of an "M" shape. See the figure below for an illustration of this new balance with greater emphasis on multiple skills.
My colleague David Johnson wrote a good blog earlier in the week on ‘Your Best Chance for Long-Term Employability as an I&O Professional’in which he discussed the key areas that I&O Professionals should focus on for employability. This and the recent wash of articles, especially in the UK, in regards to the IT skills gap got me thinking about the IT market from an employment perspective. With the various pressures facing I&O Professionals it is more important than ever to have a personal career plan which focusses on your career aspirations or at the very least a personal career vision.
I think one of the important aspects of this personal career vision is to have a clear understanding of the type of I&O organization that you would like to work for. Why? Well, in the same way in which a business selects the right candidate, it is important that that I&O Professionals select the right company which will help in their long term career vision. With this, I would like put forward the idea that, as I&O Professionals, we should be looking for certain organizational ‘career accelerating qualities’ during the recruitment process. My initial list is below and you may not find an organization which meets all these qualities but some will be more important to your personal career plan than others.
A strong I&O vision linked to the overall business mission – I would look to assess this by asking the interviewer(s) for both the overall business mission with a view to clarifying whether the I&O vision is in harmony with this. Put simply this will help you get a feel for how integrated and thus how important I&O is to the business.
As we move toward 2012, I can guarantee that many I&O leaders will have reviewed/defined what their strategy priorities are for the coming year, 3 years and maybe 5 years are. Hands up though: Who has had in-depth planning conversations around I&O people skill requirements?
I am not just talking about what technology skills are required to support these strategy initiatives but about I&O professional or soft skillsrequired to ensure that your I&O function survives and prospers during the evolution currently happening in the world of enterprise IT - How many hands are still up?
During a recent Forrester I&O Leadership Council meeting, I led an interactive session based on my recent I&O Council exclusive report entitled "Tomorrow’s I&O Leaders Require An Equal Blend Of Technology And Business Acumen." This session utilized the results of an I&O Council Leadership survey to analyze what skills are required by successful I&O leaders and which skills should I&O executives be looking for when recruiting high-performing teams. From a high level the results show the following:
The results may already be pretty clear to you but how will you develop business and industry experience personally? How will you work with HR to ensure that these skills are uncovered during future recruitment processes? Also take a look at the executive-level skill requirements - do you think that these are easily applicable to a CEO role as we progress through this decade?