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In what is probably a world’s first, I’m going to open this blog post with a joke from the future. And to pile on the excitement, Future You is in the joke! Here goes…

Future Me: Knock, knock

Future You: Who’s there?

Future Me: The Digital Team

Future You: The Digital Team who?

Future Me: Exactly!

[Future Us laugh knowingly and with gusto; Future Me spills her G&T slightly in the process.]

Present You is probably a bit confused right now, and is definitely considering checking Facebook instead. But stick with me, as we go on a journey through time and space to examine the future of the Digital Team as we know it…

More, more, more!

So, five years ago this was Past Me all the time: “We need more people in the Web Team!”. Two years on and this became: “We need more people in the Digital Team!”.

And then Digital Transformation became A Thing and lo and behold my voice was heard. Thus my small team of Web Officers became a large team of social, email, analytics and content specialists. A well-oiled hub of digital expertise, fit for future.

Or are we?

No more!

You see, Present Me has gone all Mystic Meg. I find myself wondering what the Digital Team of the future should be, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it shouldn’t be. It is an ex-team.

My vision for the future is threefold…

1. Marketing

You’ve got marketing and you’ve got digital marketing. Maybe at one time it made sense to split the two, to give the newer discipline time to grow and to take shape. But actually isn’t the best marketeer one who thinks about audiences and messages first rather than channels?

It’s time to blend digital skills into core marketing skills. Move the digital marketeers into the marketing team, and eventually stop dividing the two up entirely.

Boom, job done. Next!

2. Content

Digital content. It’s different, right? You have to know about short paragraphs and bullet points for a start.

But maybe your organisation has print writers or editors too – look, there they are, over in the corner by the window. They’re writing the same stuff as you, but with more semi-colons.

Let’s take a different approach to content creation across the whole organisation: go ahead and create a content team that spans print, online and any other media where people read words.

Zing!

3. The rest

So, what’s left? How about UX, IA, innovation, developers and project managers?

In a truly digital organisation (ie every organisation, eventually) these skills should sit outside Marketing and Comms in a central team that spans the whole organisation. Why? Because digital will be everywhere, delivering everything. It will need cross-organisation planning and management.

And finally – controversy alert! – maybe the organisation’s websites (yes, there should be more than one) will be managed by this team too.

Ta da!

Handy summary

  • Digital marketing and content skills should be mainstreamed – into existing expert teams like marketing and even to a certain extent out into all staff.
  • Control of the digital landscape should move out of Marketing and Comms and should concentrate on user experience, integration and innovation.

Find out more

Future You agrees with me (I refer you to the hilarious joke we shared at the start). What does Present You think?

3 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of the Digital Team”

  1. Good ideas, sort of agree! I’d sort of go further through – content and marketing, they’re (for good and ill) separate things now. Why should they be separate teams?

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