How do you get a head in digital in 2016? That’s the question this month’s Digital Alberta’s meetup tried to answer, but …

Have you ever been to a meetup? Well, if you haven’t they’re these little gatherings, usually at a bar, where people come together informally to chat about a specific topic. They’re seen as a bit of a networking opportunity and a chance to rub shoulders with people in your field. There’s usually a guest speaker or a panel set up to share some insights as well.

Digital Alberta Panel

Digital Alberta, which serves to support, promote and connection Albertans in digital media, recently held a meetup to chat about the state of digital in 2016. They had a panel of guest speakers which included:

  • Peter Bishop, Partner and Creative Director at ZGM Marketing
  • Kawal Kaur, Marketing Specialist at TELUS Spark
  • David Nagy, Digital Specialist at Kings of Beast
  • Michael Tighe, Partner at Solid
  • Dan Evans, Managing Partner at Evans Hunt

These guests took on the challenge of answering some pretty tough questions but they all managed to squeeze out a nugget or two of insight into the current state of digital media as we see in Alberta.

Here are a few of the take aways:

Digital Alberta Takeaways

What’s the biggest problem for Digital in 2016

One of the biggest problems digital agencies in Alberta are facing, according to the panel anyways, is a shallow talent pool.

The people are out there looking for work but do they really have the right skills for a high performing digital agency? The panelist agreed that Calgary is looking a little lean when it comes to finding people with the right diversified skill set to fill the talent gap but offered a little insight into what they’re actually looking for:

  • Diversified Skill Set
    • If you’re Twitter profile says you’re a social media ninja or a content marketing guru – that’s great but what else do you bring to the table? Agencies are looking to hire individuals with a swiss army knife full of skills. Can you write social media copy? Well, pick a copywriting book and start practicing your calls to action – there’s always room to learn something new!
  • Analytics and Data
    • What is digital marketing without analytics and data – It might just be called … marketing? Anyways – one of the more sought after skills sets in 2016 is not only the use and familiarity of data and analytics but being able use that information in a way most people would gloss over. Dig deep into the data and you’ll see the results.

Don’t Get Complacent in 2016

One of the many knowledge bombs dropped during the Digital Alberta meetup was the idea of agencies getting lazy. Technology evolves and changes so quickly that often times we skim over opportunities to streamline and optimize our day to day operations.

  • Just because that’s the way it’s always been done doesn’t mean it’s the best way
    • One of the major sticking points from the panel was the idea of re-evaluating the tools we use in an digital agency. When tools become painful to use it might time to get rid of them, especially if they’ve failed their way into our day to day.
  • Don’t be afraid of automation, agencies will always bring creativity
    • It’s easy to get a website up and running. And it’s pretty simple to get that website looking good with a template. What’s not easy however is creativity and design – something clients will always come back to an agency for.
  • Large agencies move slow – small ones are much more nimble
    • Small agencies seem to be able to adopt new trends when it comes to digital media as they work within a much smaller team and are able to change focus on a dime, Large agencies might have the client base, but the smaller ones can definitely do some much newer and more exciting stuff.

Clients hire agencies to do the things they can’t. Whether it’s a time constraint or a knowledge barrier clients seek out digital agencies to fill in the gaps when it comes to digital and social media. They also come to digital agency for the creativity and insight we bring to the table when marketing a product or service. 2016 might not look great for commodities, but since when was creativity a commodity?


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