Carlson Smith, Workhouse Advertising, graduated from Curtin University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing). He took time to give some fantastic advice on web management, analytics, processes and systems. As a Marketing grad, you’re not expected to be a tech expert, but having a solid overview and some basic skills will make you immediately stand out to employers.
Some of you will work at a large multinational, where things like websites, analytics, processes and systems are part of a carefully selected, tested and curated environment. This will be a great opportunity for you to experience firsthand ‘best practice,’ but you are not likely to enact change, not yet.
But some of you are likely to end up at smaller businesses; where technology, systems and processes are an afterthought and people are busy ‘working in the business – not on the business’ – this article is for you.
Your business probably has a website – if it doesn’t then I would suggest you get one – quickly, but carefully.
One of the most important things about a website, look and feel aside, is that it is easy to work with and maintain. The most common way of managing this, is by using a CMS (Content Management System) – this allows you to make changes to most visible parts of the website without being able to ‘break’ the code or the server.
If your website needs regular updates and you’re not familiar with coding, a good CMS will become your new best friend. There are many CMS that cater to different types of websites and applications, with different costs and complexities. Here’s two worth exploring, that will make your job a lot easier:
Many businesses/clients will already use WordPress. Alternatively, if you’re starting a website from scratch, WordPress can be a great tool. Either way, knowing the basics is a great start. WordPress is free, so get your own account and start experimenting. One of the first things you should learn is how to modify pages and make new pages – something simple like fixing a broken image or changing the phone number on the contact page could make your boss very happy – and possibly save large amounts of money that would have been spent on a developer.
- Business Catalyst
Business Catalyst (BC) is a product by Adobe – the same group behind Photoshop. BC is a great choice if your website is fairly simple – some text, a few pictures and a phone number, for example. One of the best things about BC is that Adobe handles all the technical bits for you like setting up your emails, forms and hosting – it even throws in a few nice extras like a CRM and an Email Marketing System. Try watching tutorials on YouTube to get a handle on the basics!
Wherever you work, you’ll undoubtedly work on projects collaboratively. Having the right tools to do this will make your work extremely efficient and if your team aren’t already using these tools, they’ll love you for introducing them!
Google Docs and MS Office 360 are the two primary collaborative tools, so once again, experimenting with these and watching some tutorials will give you a great understanding. The biggest difference between the two, is that Google Docs has a much larger ecosystem in regards to apps etc (things like Email Marketing, CRM, Project Management). If you want to get started, simply get a gmail account and start exploring Google Docs – you’ll be able to share and edit documents in one universal location!
Customer Relationship Management
CRM or ‘Customer Relationship Management’ software will help you record inform about your customers/clients, track communication and activity, report on results and trends and ultimately, inform important business and marketing decisions.
Get familiar with products such as Salesforce, Zoho, Insightly and Podio. Most programs work in a similar way. However, having an understanding of their core uses and differences will help you select one that matches the business. Just as it’s important to understand the software, it’s incredibly important to understand how your business and customers operate. So if you’re in the position where you get to recommend a solution, take some time to observe the business, ask colleagues and research software before making a suggestion.
An effective CRM system will allow you to produce analytics that can inform your marketing channels and the business’ direction more broadly.