RPRNmag newsmagazine spoke with Clare McDowall, CEO of Socially Good and the leader behind the Digital Literacy for Leaders, a Masterclass for Executives about the nature of Digital Marketing and the key role C-level Executives and team leaders play in successful campaigns.
RPRNmag – Clare, let’s start with the beginning and introduce you to our readers. Can you tell RPRNmag’s audience, how long have you been in business?
Clare McDowall – I registered Socially Good in Canada in 2011.
How large is your company? Do you intend to grow it or keep it at that size?
We are a small and nimble agency of two working with contractors around the world to allow for flexibility.
How did you come up with the idea for the Digital Literacy Masterclass?
In the spring of 2016, I launched Digital Literacy for Leaders, a Masterclass for Executives
to develop business leaders’ strategic understanding of today’s digital marketing and communications landscape. For more than five years I have worked with businesses and non-profits to help them create and shape their digital strategies and identities. More often than not, the challenge in affecting change has not been with the people I was working directly with, such as the campaign managers and others, but with the team leaders. The leaders often would not approve a request put in front of them based on the fact that didn’t understand why or what they were being asked, and out of fear of many the wrong decisions. Eventually, I realized that leaders were a bottleneck to progress and success and working against their success. Not by their own fault, but because of timing in their careers and during the time in which their career advancements happened.
Maybe, they advanced into leadership roles as the onset of the ‘digital revolution’ in business and relied on their staff to investigate and keep up with the trends.
Now that ‘gap’ in their knowledge is dangerous to the future of their business. This Masterclass was born out of the frustration of marketing and communications professionals everywhere who want to drive their organizations forward and are being told “no” by those who hold the keys to the budgets and strategic plans.
Who should register to the Masterclass?
I am speaking to the decision makers. Any professional who is responsible for strategic planning, revenue growth, audience development and budgeting or hiring in an organization and who recognizes that they have only the most basic understanding of the digital landscape and what it means for their business and to their customers.
Also, any business owner who isn’t sure if their company website is SEO optimized and responsive, or if their social media presence and activities are tied to overall business strategy, will greatly benefit from taking this Masterclass.
Who should not attend? Why not?
Good question. The Masterclass is not a practical class. If someone wants to learn how to tweet or create Facebook Ads, or write a digital strategy, they will not get what they want out of this class. We won’t teach you how to log in and create a social media accounts either.
This Masterclass is specifically designed for leaders who do not need to know the details, but need to understand the landscape and opportunities, as well as the language and become “literate in the digital language”. This class will teach them how to successfully assess campaign plans, build strategies and budgets, and hire the right talent for their teams, and those hires will take care of the details. If you are not leading at this strategic level, then this Masterclass is not for you.
What is your definition of Digital Strategy?
Digital strategy includes different traditional business functions: from sales, marketing, customer loyalty and retention, to brand awareness. In my opinion, digital strategy is not a stand alone activity or a set of actions. A digital strategy encompasses your website, all your online marketing, and communications activities, which would, of course, include social media and email. It also looks at how you raise brand awareness and perception. Nowadays, your ‘brand’ is often first discovered digitally. Ask yourself how is your company perceived online? Is it easy to contact you via a digital channel such as a tweet? Would even consider answering a tweet? From a sales perspective, how does your team use the wealth of information available online to aid the sales process? Are you taking advantage of the tools to help you analyze your prospective customer’s preferred communication style, and lets you find their social media profiles with one click, and help you prepare yourself before placing a call to them? How your business takes advantage of these opportunities is also digital strategy.
Why choose a webinar as the format for the Masterclass?
These key players and leaders are busy! It can be incredibly difficult to commit to a dinner date with an old friend, never mind a series of in-person classes in a particular location over some weeks. The online learning and webinar format are changing how the world accesses and absorbs information, and by encouraging leaders to learn in this way, not only am I offering flexibility to fit with their busy schedules, but also, I offer a glimpse into how the world is changing, and how convenient and easy things can be if done online. Remember that’s how your future customers want their experiences to be too!
What is Digital Literacy Masterclass mission?
To help great businesses connect better with their audiences. The more a leader understands about what is the ‘digital revolution,’ the better placed they are to make real strategic decisions which will in turn advance both their business bottom line and the customer’s brand experience.
What would you consider to have been your greatest achievement so far?
The process of taking this online Masterclass webinar from idea to reality has been a great achievement of mine. From understanding the ‘gap,’ to identifying the areas that will really help move leaders understanding forward for the benefit of their businesses, to building the content and getting it all online. The whole process started in the summer of 2015, and will launch in May 2016.
What’s your best advice for other tech entrepreneurs who are starting a business?
Actually, I don’t consider myself a tech entrepreneur. And right there is a big part of the misunderstanding around the digital world. There is a massive difference between those who have the vision and talent to build great tools to help the rest of us do things better. I am thinking of Uber, Air BnB as examples among others, and those that use existing tools and technologies to advance our work. The ability to take what would once have been considered a conference session, or classroom and boardroom learning situation and turn it into a convenient, online, and scalable opportunity that anyone across the country can access is where the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ arises in me.
I would encourage people who don’t think of themselves as techies to consider how they can best utilize platforms and ways of communicating available to them and turn those into something better, more efficient, more cost effective. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be changed and improved upon.
If you were starting over, would there be something that you would different and what would that be?
When building something new, you will find that you get a lot of advice and opinions, often contradictory. It can be hard to know who to listen to. When in truth, I would have trusted my gut and brought to market Digital Literacy for Leaders, a Masterclass for Executives a lot sooner and not listen to the naysayers.
Finally, we want to thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Can you tell our readers where they can find you online? Website? Social Channels? And where to register to your Masterclass?
Of course, RPRNmag can reach out to me by visiting our company website at digitalliteracycourse.com and sociallygood.ca. They can find out more about and register for the Masterclass at digitalliteracycourse.com/signup/.