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Don’t Undervalue Digital Expertise – Part II

Previously I wrote about how important it is to invest in people who have specific digital design experience versus solely relying on upskilling your current team. This is not to say cross-trained or upskilled print designers cannot be successful, but typically success takes longer and the upskilled designers do not reach the same quality level that experienced digital designers can bring. Creating a team of both experienced digital designers and internally cross-trained team members results in a win-win situation for the whole team.

The importance of digital expertise isn’t restricted to just the design side of creative services; another critical success factor is having the right specialized talent at project in-take. Specifically I am referring to digital project managers or web producers. The core organizational and attention to detail skill sets and requirements remain the same between traditional project managers and digital ones; the difference, however, is in the depth of knowledge of the digital space and ability to “speak the same language” as the digital design and IT teams and be the translator between them and the clients.

The process required for creating digital components varies by the specific competency: is it a website, social media campaign, or banner advertisement? Whichever the case, the complexity level for each varies greatly, and therefore the knowledge to deliver against that is significant and can be the determining factor of your group’s aptitude and continued growth within this discipline.

Like the creative side, it is not uncommon to see traditional account/project managers transition to the digital side. Again, the team is most successful when these team members are trained, coached and mentored by others with the industry standard expertise and skill sets.

Digital project managers not only have the specialized knowledge per medium, by programs and effort of work for each, but they are fluent in its language as well. Their ability to clearly articulate project technical requirements, timelines, and release protocols  are essential to enhancing your customers’ experience and delivering the project on time, on budget and in scope. It is important to recognize the complexities, multiple moving parts and speed of which digital projects require. Only someone with robust knowledge will be able to effectively articulate, guide and influence your clients appropriately. Many of your clients are struggling with the complexities of digital themselves and are probably less knowledgeable of your organization’s technology requirements. They are eagerly looking for direction and that ever so lightly guiding hand on defining the right path and boundaries of the digital world.

Internally, digital project managers will reduce cycle times, rework and/or errors. They will also increase overall productivity and help cultivate a greater team atmosphere. There isn’t anything more frustrating to a creative then to have an inept middleman. With the right project management talent in place clear project details on final deliverables will be provided, appropriate expectations set and those nightmare never-ending projects that keep coming back avoided.

Top in-demand creative jobs are in the digital arena—the web producer role ranking in the Top 5. With the high demand for talent and a low pool of specialized talent, it is not uncommon for these individuals to be selective when choosing their next career move and even rejecting job offers. With the continued growth of creative positions in digital or mobile, opportunities are bountiful. Stay ahead by reinforcing or enhancing your retention strategy and position your organization and team to attract top talent, and make them want to work for your group.


Cindy Ponce

As Cella’s Creative Services Practice Lead, Cindy Ponce is the lead author of the In-House Creative Industry Report. In addition, she consults with Fortune 1000 clients whose in-house teams span from small and mid-sized groups to large and global service providers. Cindy’s management competencies lie in building and managing internal agency model organizations globally and effectively managing cross-functional teams worldwide. She’s known for her passion and tenacity in delivering optimal solutions with exceptional service and quality work using proven methodologies. Prior to joining Cella, Cindy built and led an international team of 65+, servicing more than 40 countries. During her tenure, she spearheaded increased service offerings to include content development and interactive capabilities.

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