Collaborate to innovate
One of the most enjoyable elements of the course was the group work. We were put in small groups of around eight people, all with different experiences and based internationally, to work together on projects ranging from developing a proposal responding to a client’s digital brief to writing a white paper addressing a disruptive digital trend. My group’s white paper on the impact the ‘Internet of Things’ could have on the FMCG sector was published on the Squared Online blog if you’re interested in having a read!
Everyone brought something different to the table and by building on each other’s ideas we created some really interesting pieces of work drawing on our learnings from the course. When trying to come up with new ideas for clients, rather than just relying on the dedicated account team, organising a brainstorm with the wider team offers new perspectives and ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise. The biggest challenge was working virtually with team members living in different time zones juggling busy lives and other commitments. Working for an international content agency, this was something I relished. Arranging regular Google hangouts, using planning tools such as Trello and working on shared documents kept us on track throughout the six-month course and we motivated each other with encouraging WhatsApp messages!
When it comes to achieving results in the digital age we can’t operate in silos anymore. We need to collaborate (and communicate) with colleagues, teams, agencies and clients to get all the data and insights we need to make informed digital decisions.
Invest time in learning new things
The digital landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace and if you don’t make the time to research the latest trends, you’re at risk of being left behind. Sounds obvious but busy agency life can leave us with little time to spare to read up on the latest industry developments. There’s no doubt that Squared Online is a pretty intense learning experience. Other members of the Hattrick team who’ve also completed it described it as a “marathon at sprint pace” which is a perfect analogy but it’s really made me appreciate how important it is to invest time in learning no matter how busy you are. The more time you put into learning, the more you and your clients get out of it.
The course structure is broken up into five modules including Digital Channels and Strategy, Data, Analytics and Insights and Staying Ahead of the Curve. Each week there is an hour-long class online with an expert speaker sandwiched between pre-and post-class work. Each module then has a group and / or individual assessment where you draw on learnings so far.
Squared Online boasts an incredible line up of expert speakers who are at the forefront of digital marketing industry including Martin Talks, Chris Perks and Andrew Lloyd Gordon to name just a few. The course offers a really interactive approach to learning and rather than getting bogged down in tactics, it provides digital marketers with a practical framework for implementing more inspiring and innovative campaigns for clients.
The See, Think, Do, Care model for the customer journey and Help, Hub and Hero content model have been particularly useful when planning content campaigns and the Business Model Canvas is a great tool for business strategy development. The course also highlighted the importance of doing the right thing when it comes to data to make sure we use the insights digital marketing offers responsibly. With the impending introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations in May next year it’s something we all need to be aware of and prepare for now.
Think differently (and don’t be afraid of messing it up)
The saying goes if you keep doing things in the same way, you’re going to get the same results. The most successful brands are embracing change when it comes to digital marketing, continually pushing boundaries to improve the customer experience and reach their audience online at each stage of the consideration stage. The speakers shared some great examples of really innovative campaigns from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Guinness and Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (creators of the brilliant ‘The Big Deal’ advert) that are having fun experimenting with digital, putting the customer first and reaping the rewards.
Trying new things can carry an element of risk but being less afraid of what might go wrong and focusing more on what can be achieved by doing things differently is a much more rewarding experience. The trick is to take any learnings and iterate for next time.
Squared Online has given me a new level of confidence when it comes to the digital landscape and I would encourage anyone who is looking to improve their understanding of the digital world to sign up to Squared Online and join the digital revolution!