This article is a summary of Episode 5 of the Dutch-language podcast, Digital Dialogues, made in partnership with Adformatie. Katharina Hicker is public relations lead for B2B at Google as well as the producer of the Digital Dialogues podcast series.
Customer insight specialist, programmatic advertiser, SEO specialist, data scientist... the marketing world has evolved over the last 20 years, bringing with it new roles to integrate, or the need to reshape existing roles.
In my role as a communications manager at Google, I work closely with marketing teams on a daily basis. In PR it is essential to find that ‘one voice’: one voice in a team of outspoken communicators, whose job it is to challenge the status quo and be vocal with one's opinion – acting and reacting fast is the essence of what we do. It is the reason why we need a strong bond within the team, just as we need a strong bond with our marketing colleagues.
Building the strongest possible team is vital for any business, no matter how big or small. But, as the current digital ecosystem consists of a variety of specialists and endless niche expertise, how can you assemble the most effective team?
When you think team, think customer
With the growth in the number of roles on any given team, ensuring that there’s trust, a clear common goal, and openness is important.
A strong team is similar to a close group of friends; the strongest ones tend to be made up of people sharing a similar DNA, but diverse personalities and backgrounds, as well as room for a creative way of thinking, should always be at the core.
One approach to building a team is to always keep the end consumer in focus. At the end of the day an outstanding consumer experience is the shared end goal and the only way to achieve this is to put the user first .
Beate van Dongen Crombags is a partner at management consultancy firm EY VODW. For her, ensuring the team is thinking about the consumer and their experiences is key to driving engagement.
"When everyone in the company thinks from the consumer perspective, that's how you become a consumer-focused organisation," she says.
Adaptation and the importance of training
Finding the right specialists to fit the team can be difficult. You won’t find your perfect fit in the ones strolling in from the campus with a spring in their step.
That’s why a willingness to adapt and learn new skills is imperative for any team. In an industry that’s ever-changing, everybody needs to upskill at one point to keep up with demand.
Martin de Boer, commercial director at Corendon Hotels & Resorts, where he is responsible for brands such as GOfun, Karinschoice, Marislife, STIP reizen, and Corendon Hotels, say the company introduced a training academy to ensure they can keep on top of developments.
“This type of internal training means that trust within our team has already been established, and the team’s rapport is there. This helps our employees improve and become more specialised in their area of expertise,” he says.
But for all the training, and the ability to adapt, a pleasant work environment can be the crux of a successful team. Psychological safety encourages a culture of speaking up, sharing out-of-the-box ideas and creating room to be the best version of yourself.
As van Dongen Crombags explains: “I think that is often the success of small organisations compared to the large companies. In the larger ones, I see too often that people don’t enjoy going to work every day, and don’t embrace their colleagues and say: ‘Dude, we are going to put something together!’. Enjoyment in the workplace is essential to a well-functioning team.”
Corendon’s digital maturity
The Digital Maturity Benchmark tool measures how digitally mature companies are. And Corendon’s score comes in at 2.4 out of 4, which means they are Connected.
If we look at the industry average (1.3), this is a good score. But De Boer believes Corendon has room to improve.
“Ultimately we have to go even further. Because I think we are just at the beginning, especially with Corendon Hotels. So, for us it’s a case of onwards and upwards as a cohesive, adaptable, consumer-focused team.”
Digital Dialogues is a six-part Dutch-language podcast series from Adformatie and Google about digital marketing maturity. The podcast explores how companies can become truly progressive with their marketing, and features insights and discussion with industry and science specialists.