April 26, 2011

Narrow, Deep Skills

Without directly mentioning it, I spend a lot of time discussing the concept of "narrow, deep skills" in the eBook (Amazon Kindle, B/N Nook, $0.99).

Narrow, deep skills are a marketing problem.
  • "He's only a search person, he knows nothing about the business."
  • "She's only an email marketer, she knows nothing about the business."
  • "He's a 57 year old catalog guy, what could he possibly know about modern digital marketing?"
Social media is probably the worst.  The disconnect between making quarterly sales and profit numbers and having "conversations" with customers couldn't be greater.  In no way does this make social media wrong, it's simply an issue of "narrow, deep skills".

If you have ten employees, one will take the initiative to learn about other areas of the business.

The other nine employees need leadership.  They need somebody to teach them, not "how" to do search marketing for instance, but the concepts surrounding why the business needs what the business needs.

In the eBook, Libby Benson is the Social Media Director.  Nobody spent any time with her, explaining what happens if catalog marketing is removed from the marketing mix.  To Libby, you just have conversations with customers, and the sales follow.  Nobody is mentoring this individual.

You are an EVP or CEO, so you have the responsibility to teach your employees why your business works they way it works.  Help your employees understand why you can't eliminate certain areas of your business without dire consequences.