This is a day in her life…
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Michelle Goodall: I’ve not had a job description on my business card for well over a decade! I’m a consultant, speaker and trainer. I work with organisations of all sizes, B2B and B2C, across many industries. I help them improve their digital culture, communications, content and communities. My catch-all title is “Digital Transformation Consultant” and I work with organisations at all stages of their digital roadmap.
You may have met me if you’ve attended one of my Econsultancy training workshops. Or even seen a tiny version of me delivering Econsultancy’s Fast Track to Digital Marketing Online Classroom. I’m not a shabby old jumper-wearing, dusty-satchelled academic delivering a theoretical workshop but a practitioner expert. I’ve lived through dot com bubbles, booms and busts and have navigated through some seismic changes in the digital and technological landscape. I can feel your pain. And have lots of real world experience, knowledge, skills and case studies to draw upon to help you.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
MG: Knowing your stuff is a given. No one would sign up for a course if they didn’t trust the trainer to have the required knowledge and experience. But not all impressive and knowledgeable conference speakers are good trainers. Empathy and energy are core requirements. A training workshop is not about you as a trainer performing or ‘wowing’ people , but adapting to needs of the people attending. It’s very much a consultative process. I take time to identify why people want to develop their skills and knowledge.
There are many reasons why people want training. Sometimes it’s to sense check and formalise knowledge. Others are changing roles or careers. Some need to formalise or develop very specific skills.
The real value in workshops is the 1:1 and face-to-face time that you get with a trainer as well as the collective power of being in a room with others. We provide perspective, knowledge and example approaches to challenges. Some people say, “this may sound like a stupid question but….”, it rarely is, and we are able to make people feel that their questions are never stupid. Often those types of questions can unlock big blockers for those attending.
Having an empathic approach means that, as a trainer, you can ensure that everyone leaves the session full of new skills, knowledge and tools. Energised, enthused, confident and happy. We provide answers but it’s important to understand that you will leave workshops with questions – but significantly more focused and detailed questions, backed up with the new knowledge and confidence.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
MG: It’s tough to say what a typical day looks like.
This week I’ve helped a client with customer journey mapping and have run a content strategy alignment session between various teams. I’ve developed a social media crisis scenario where we’ll run a live crisis simulation for those who identify, escalate and manage crisis communications. I love this very practical and necessary element of social media and strategic communications. My husband is a firefighter and they deal with emergency scenarios daily. Applying some of those emergency services processes to reputational crisis and communications, where reputational impact and the ability to trade is affected, is something that I love. It’s about preparing people and giving them confidence in each other, their processes and systems, not finding out who cracks under pressure.
When I’m not on clients’ sites or training, I am in my office. A typical day always includes reading a raft of digital, technology, marketing and creative sites, blogs and resources. I source case studies, statistics and evidence of best practice so I don’t solely talk about my approach and my client activity/campaigns.
I’m developing training and skills development content on a typical day. Whether that’s modules for an online classroom, something bespoke for clients or developing face-to-face workshops. I also write best practice guides and reports. When I need to get into ‘flow’ mode, the social media notifications are switched off and I’ll only check email at specific points in the day.
On a typical day, I’ll also meet clients, potential new clients, vendors or perhaps another consultant or agency. I’ll also be reviewing tools and try to be helpful on Twitter and LinkedIn if I can.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
MG: At this stage in digital it is almost impossible to be an expert of every element of the digital marketing mix. That sucks. I wish I could clone myself and spend years on becoming a UX genius or go deep into a highly specific subject like predictive data modelling.
What I love about my job’s is that I get to meet and work with some bona fide geniuses who specialise in specific areas and sub-sets of digital. I also love catching up with old colleagues who, like me, were at the very start of things and now have incredible jobs in broadcast, entertainment, the agency world, beauty and fashion. They have powered their careers and their businesses by being early adopters of digital transformation. We used to be called the geeks in the room, but now the geeks are running things. 😉
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
MG: I have personal goals. Life is short. I have a family. Work hard, be good at your job and be nice to people is my mantra, the rewards then follow. Financially and in other ways. As for KPIs that measure success, it’s those that show both the big picture and the small picture. Using social media as an example, there are organsations that focus purely on acquistional metrics. That is critical, but we must consider and measure the broader business impact of using social for improved customer experience, customer service, brand and comms metrics.
The best KPIs are the ones that allow you to make a clear connection between your outputs, outcomes and outtakes. Here comes the not-so-subtle plug…come to my training workshops and you can also read more about this in the Social Media Best Practice Guide for subscribers.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
MG: I’m a big fan of trying free and low cost tools, breaking them and then figuring out what you need that ‘free’ simply doesn’t provide. That goes for all digital marketing tools. I would find it impossible to do my job without Trello or Slack for project management, Brandwatch for social monitoring and analytics and a tool that I created that allows me to track client progress against project KPIs.
There are a gazillion tools – the question should always be “what do I need to do that can be done more easily, quicker, more effectively?” rather than “what can this tool do?”
E: How did you get into social media, and where might you go from here?
MG: Ha ha! I tell everyone that I’m like the Dame Judy Dench of social media. I feel like I’ve been doing it for so many years.
I worked at the UK’s first e-PR agency in the late 1990s, when we used to call everything e-something. As well as SEO and online PR we created and executed the first social medias strategies, working with big agencies and clients who didn’t have the in-house skills and knowledge.
I then headed up digital at a hot, award-winning consumer PR agency at the time. We did lots of social firsts with nascent social media platforms, some disappeared, some became HUGE. Brand launches in Second Life, Bebo campaigns/takeovers and lots of firsts.
My personal career highlight to date was working with LOCOG pre-London2012 and during games time as a consultant and later becoming part of the team. I learned so much about preparation, focus, alignment and the pursuit of excellence. There was no dress rehearsal and it was the biggest show on earth. The team can’t be congratulated enough for the brilliant job that they did– it was truly the first Social Olympics! They did us proud.
Where am I going? Well, like everyone I’m keeping on top of changes and looking at the application of AI. Having 2 kids who will be entering the world of work in the next decade, I’m mindful that any disruptive force in technology has the power to improve the world and has its darker side. Ethics and a mindful approach to AI is going to be critical.
E: Who is using social media well at the moment? Favourite brands?
MG: So many for so many different reasons. When it comes to brand tone, the usual suspects, Tesco Mobile, Wendys and Caspar Mattress to name a few. Sports brands with their big budgets and teams to manage influencer activity consistently to create great co-branded stuff catch my eye. Adidas’ pivot to micro influencers and messenger based campaigns is strategically very clever.
I love all the innovation going on in broadcast media, especially related to social content, community and AI. It’s a Darwinian era for them as they recognise their audiences are spending a larger percentage of their time in vertical, social platforms and messaging platforms. Other media loses out. How do you recalibrate your marketing, comms, content and business model against this backdrop? They are forced to innovate, stand out and create entertaining and valuable content and experiences
I look to the BBC as a great example of having to deliver as a public service provider but also adapting to user behaviour changes. They constantly trial new things in social but also have to demonstrate value. The important thing for strategic marketers is to differentiate between ‘doing well in social’ and generating ROI, impact or creating efficiencies. That’s where strategy meets creativity. Get that bit right and it’s ‘happy days’.
I work with non-commercial and government organisations. For them, the focus isn’t on selling things but changing behaviours or delivering messages effectively and efficiently. Whilst it’s easy to highlight things that look superficially sexy on social, the litmus test is “what value does this create?”
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to start in Social Media?
MG: Simply being an active user of social media and having the ability to create an Emojisliding poll on Instagram or a lens on Snapchat, doesn’t make you a social media expert. Ensure you have a solid understanding of business, marketing, customer experience and communications strategies and how your social media strategy aligns to these. Platforms and technologies come and go but solid strategic knowledge doesn’t.
Skill up in this area whilst honing your craft as a creator and communicator in social media.