Net-times: My Perspective

A collection of unorganized thoughts about my experience in the online world (by Kevin Shea)

Today I was updating some of my professional documentation and profiles.  There’s a ton of content I have to manage about myself (no thanks to yours truly), which kept me busy.  Then I came to my LinkedIn and other profiles.  I didn’t really like the photo of me, even though it is a good professional shot (thanks Vaughn).  I think my facial expression doesn’t represent me.  So, I decided to look around for another photo of me.  I went through albums and posts various social networks.  I could not find a single shot of me, just me.  All my photos are with other people.  This isn’t a bad thing in my life overall, but makes it a challenge to find something and crop it without others in the same photo.

I ultimately chose this which was cropped a couple of times from a great photo of me and my daughter.

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We’ll see if this helps my LI profile :-)

Kevin

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Great for the kids. I highly recommend.

Senior level online marketers (aka digital marketers, interactive marketers, web marketers, digital CRM, etc.) need to have a strong understanding of product management to be effective.

It’s great knowing individual tactics but if you don’t see the whole picture, you are going to miss key elements in your strategy.  In order to see the big picture, it is necessary to have walked through the requirements development process for each.  In addition, today’s digital marketers should also have an understanding of the technologies that support your strategies and tactics.

For example, the following chart is a modified example a B2B focused online digital marketing organization I did some online consulting for recently. As the online marketing lead, or agency responsible for those activities, an accurate strategy can only come from intimate knowledge of these operations. In other words, you need to be able to visualize the operation like a product manager can do the same for a complex software application.


In this organization, there is a senior digital manager responsible for overseeing the entire operation with a few internal resources and several external agencies. I drafted this chart to show senior management what was involved with their digital marketing. Without PM-level requirements, many of these initiatives would likely fail in their objectives.

There are some initiatives that carry stronger needs for detailed requirements than others. For example, analytics and reporting became it’s own very detailed product due to the complexity of the operation and various levels of stakeholders.

In the end, knowing details within each category of operations will make you a better online marketer. A product-level requirements perspective of your strategy, tactics and operations will help build confidence that you understand each process and how it will be fulfilled.

In the past, I’ve found that companies of all sizes generally like people with some start-up experience when taking on new talent.  However, it’s the SMBs that really see the value, particularly those based in technology.  People who have worked for startups generally have gained experience in various areas surrounding their specialty.  It’s the nature of many startup operations…the need to wear many hats.

But lately, I’ve heard a few comments from people that wearing of many hats probably means the person was not able to focus on their core responsibility (even from startups now looking for people).  Well, from my experience this could not be farther from the truth.  Most people I know that have worked in startups have had to do at least 150% of their core job PLUS the “other hats”.  This is a huge advantage when qualifying someone because you are getting a contributor who knows their core responsibility and how other functions interact with it.  People with this type of supplemental knowledge usually see the bigger picture better and are more capable of offering non-standard solution options.  They are also not afraid of taking on challenges outside of their core expertise and you’ll probably never hear them say “but that’s not in my job description”.

Add this to the other benefits of startup folks (high energy, ability to work under extreme pressure, over performers, flexibility, etc.) and you have a winner.  All you need is to harness these benefits with your superior management capabilities :)

So, next time you are thinking of bypassing a startuper, stop and have a chat with this person.  You might find a winning combination of experience, drive and aspirations.

There is definitely a lot more to this story than the graph below.  However, this report from Compete.com shows declining web traffic from 4 of the 5 major tech blogs (that I read regularly).  If this graph was the story, year over year numbers are looking ominous.   Techcrunch and Lifehacker both down more than 50% is a drop that can’t be ignored, assuming it’s accurate.

Some reasons why this might not be the whole story:
1. Compete.com’s data is just wrong for general web data – it would be a good bet to assume these numbers are incorrect.  I’ve always found Compete to be off when compared to actual web data.  Most of the time the numbers are lower than the real web stats.  However, I’ve also found the relative positioning between the sites being compared and general increase/declining indicators to be accurate for sites with high traffic.
2.  Mobile traffic is making up the difference, but not being counted accurately – audience analytics companies have had difficulty measuring mobile traffic accurately due to sampling methodologies and challenges getting onto the mobile devices
3.  Access is coming from sources not measured here – RSS and Twitter are delivering enough of the message to keep visitors from hitting the website.
4.  Content is being syndicated and effort is focused on delivering there

The actual reason is probably a combination of these.  However, I would still want my trends pointing in the other direction if I were any of these publishers.  Also, with all of these Tweets, you would think an increasing number would get clicked from non-mobile devices.

One other interesting note is that Techcrunch hides their traffic info on Quantcast.  Why is that?  For competitive reasons?  If things were going great, I’d want the world to know.

And if people aren’t going to these websites for their info as much as they were, where are they going?  Has social media diluted the impact of the largest media vendors, including tech?

What do you think is happening?

NOTE: GigaOm was up significantly in year over year comparison.

Kevin