During my travels, I always get this intrinsic feeling when walking through the airports. The feeling of passing through a space intermittently as an intersection of life and travel that is somewhat odd yet intriguing. I’ve been to many places but only in passing through this gap in travel. Kind of like window shopping but never even passing the front entrance of the store to get a whiff of the smell and energy.
There is this space and time continuum within our industry of digital analytics and as I walked through an airport recently, going up and down escalators, through security, and taking advantage of the amenities, I come upon an analogy that may help us realize some of what we don’t know. Because the reality is, no one person knows what they do not know. I’m not trying to be clever and play on words. Hear me out.
You have three types of travelers:
The frequent flyer – Extremely familiar with the airport process. Has things packed ahead, car waiting or a cost effective parking situation. Travels with pre-check to avoid long lines and earns points with airlines to have premium access through airlines. They know best on how to maneuver through the system of an airport more efficiently and more cost effectively than anyone else. They are the Premier members of flying. They have been doing this for quite some time and have the experience.
The leisurely traveler – Enjoys the annual trip to a beach destination, a few trips across a few states, and maybe a couple travels to see a place they have not yet visited. They have a process they go through a couple weeks or even month prior to the flight. Making sure to prepare as best as possible but still having to second guess themselves because they don’t travel that often. They experience the long security lines, inconvenient seating and sporadically missing their flights. They are competent travelers that enjoy the destination but never really endure the convenience of the airports.
The non-traveler – This is the once a year, or every couple years passenger. The are comfortable in their domain. Home body is what they consider themselves. They may have to be forced to go on an airplane. This person is great at being local. They probably know their town better than most because they don’t frequently travel outside of it unless by car. Which at most will be a few hours. The thought of flying gives them anxiety, the tickets always feel expensive for what they are getting, and the airport is just a complete shit show. If they can drive, they will. If they have to fly it becomes a dragging experience that is complained about later.
Now lets talk about this from the perspective of digital analytics…
You have many types of individuals involved within the industry and organizations. But lets break out 3 general types as we have with airport travelers and think through how experience changes the perception and engagement of the individual.
The born and raised in digital – This person has worked for or with several brands, agencies, and freelanced on some level. They’ve leveraged a variety of tools and services related to a vast range of analytics projects. They have their preferred tools and methods of approach but are agnostic because they know the power of leveraging different services to face different challenges. They see a tremendous value in knowing the why first behind the how and then executing. They maneuver through projects with a mentality that things need to be done right from the beginning and they know what the process should look like in order to do so.
The maturing digital analyst – May have come form a background completely outside of digital or has only been a part a couple types of digital organizations, but has the bug of being a part of this industry so they take pride in their learning. They too are comfortable with specific tools but they are not well versed in the process of all the others. The thinking of the maturing analyst is narrow and project based. They have a tremendous amount of information to learn from a thought perspective and absorb growth from their leaders teachings and mentorship. They have a great future in digital if they keep their mind open and their thinking strategic.
The single focused individual – As time quickly moves within the digital analytics space many are falling behind. 15 years ago this type of person was great at what they did. Marketing and bringing in money at all costs. The focus wasn’t about strategic thinking from a granular perspective but instead a sales approach to their process. The thought of foundation is not as important as results for this type. They are comfortable knowing what they know and want to pass the rest for someone else to deal with all the details that come along with the newly and complex world of digital. This individual is truly great at what they do but have no clue the value of what they do not know.
This long-winded analogy is a perspective for us to recognize that everyone has strengths in what they do individually. But just as if you were to travel with the frequent flyer, letting them show you the ropes, having you tag along and take advantage of how they maneuver through airports and flights…to truly drive success within a digital organization, we need to be open to letting the born and raised in digital lead the way when focusing holistically on the bigger picture.
The frequent flyer and the born and raised in digital know that to get to your destination in ease, with peace of mind and to make it enjoyable, it requires a process that has been planned and proven overtime. We should use the frequency flyer, the born and raised, to help identifier areas of personal growth because we, who are not them, don’t know what we don’t know. If we take a moment to look beyond the overwhelming process and all the obstacles along the way and truly look at the entire process as a bigger picture thinking, we can learn how fruitful an experience can be.