It’s no secret that digital marketing is constantly evolving. What works today may not work tomorrow, so it can be tough to keep up with the latest trends and changes. If you want to remain successful in this field, you need to be ready to adapt quickly and overcome any obstacle.
Digital resilience is one of the most critical modern skills for any marketer. In a world that is increasingly digitized, we must be able to weather any online storm and come out stronger on the other side.
This post will explore what digital resilience is, how it can benefit you and your team, and some tips on how to build it.
“It can feel like trolls, contrarians, haters, and critics run the web. Unlike many who can simply close social media apps or limit their screen time, digital marketers have to come into contact with and overcome these digital haters in order to do their jobs.”
What Is Digital Resilience?
Let’s break down this two-part concept.
Resilience, in psychology, refers to an individual’s ability to cope with stressful situations and bounce back from adversity. In our everyday life, it could manifest as picking yourself up after a difficult breakup or getting through a tough work week. The graver the situation, the more resilience it may take to cope, learn, and move forward.
Many go through emotionally or physically traumatic experiences and never recover, leading to forms of trauma both big and small. It could be due to a lack of support, not having the proper coping mechanisms, or simply an inability to find the strength to overcome today’s mounting pressures. On the other hand, some people can come out stronger after going through tough times. They have what we call “resilience.”
Psychologists have long studied resilience as a critical quality for anyone looking to lead a fulfilling and successful life. They’ve found that genetics, environment, and social relationships affect an individual’s resilience. Mindset also plays a significant part in resilience. People who believe they can overcome adversity are more likely to do so than those who don’t.
When we apply this to the digital world, it refers to our ability to adapt and recover from any negative experiences that happen online. This could be anything from an advertising gaffe or cancel campaign to a website or security breach. No matter what the challenge is, modern marketers must be able to face digital adversity head on to be successful in their roles.
For example, on social media, things get heated. It can feel like trolls, contrarians, and critics run the web. Unlike many who can simply close the apps or limit their screen time, digital marketers have to come into contact with and overcome these digital haters in order to do their jobs. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the negativity and drama, but we must remember that it’s only a small part of the online world.
While this problem primarily affects teenagers and kids, who are more susceptible to cyberbullying, it’s something we all have to deal with to some extent. No matter how old you are, you need to be aware of the possible dangers of the internet and how to protect your wellbeing.
Why is resilience important in a digital marketing setting?
When it comes to marketing, change is the only constant. The last few years adjusting to a pandemic and waves of economic uncertainty have shown us how quickly things can change and how important it is to be prepared for anything. We’ve seen marketing teams lose their ad spend overnight, agencies go out of business, and marketers lose their jobs.
In times like these, it’s more important than ever to have a solid plan B. But even contingency plans can fail. If you want your business to survive (and thrive), you need to instill digital resilience into your marketing strategy and team.
Here are a few specific reasons why digital resilience is so important for marketers:
- It helps you weather the storm: As we’ve seen in the past years, things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Change is not something you have control over, but you can control how you react to it. If you’re prepared for anything, you’ll be able to readjust your strategy on the fly.
- It makes you more agile: Large companies can be very slow to react to change, which can be their downfall. No matter the size of your business, you need to be able to move quickly.
- It sets you apart from the competition: In a rapidly changing world, those who can adapt will come out on top. If you can build digital resilience into your marketing strategy, you’ll be better equipped to handle external factors than your competition.
- It builds trust with your audience: In times of crisis, people look for the brands they can trust. They want to know that you’re there for them, no matter what. If you can show your audience that you’re resilient, you’ll build trust and loyalty that will last long after any crisis is over.
- It helps you learn and grow: Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow. If you’re able to take the lessons from each setback and use them to improve your strategy, you’ll come out stronger in the end.
Digital resilience is not something that can be built overnight. It takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error, but it’s worth it. Here are some tips to get started.
How to build digital resilience for yourself or your marketing team
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for building digital resilience. It will look different for every business and even for every person. But there are a few general principles that you can follow to get started.
Keep the economic and social landscape in mind
In order to be prepared for anything, you need to have a good understanding of the world beyond your own four walls. That includes things like the stock market, interest rates, inflation, and other economic factors that can affect your customers and ultimately your business.
You don’t need to be an expert in economics, but you should at least know the basics. If your country is going through a recession, for example, you’ll need to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly by cutting costs and focusing on value.
Keep in mind that your colleagues and team mates may also be struggling with financial and social issues themselves which may also impact their resilience at work.
Shape the story
When something happens that challenges your team’s resilience, they start to build a narrative in their minds. This might include reliving the event in their heads and placing blame on themselves or others on the team. However this doesn’t help anyone move forward.
If and when challenges or setbacks happen, make sure to build a structured narrative around the incident. For example, if your team misses a deadline, rather than letting a team member ruminate, structure what happened with them into a positive story. You might tell them how much the team learned from this project, and discuss ways to make similar projects go better in the future.
Get out of your comfort zone
Encourage your team to face their fears. Exposure to things like public speaking and other fears tend to reduce as you expose yourself to them. Akin to exposure therapy in psychology, this practice reduces adversity while building confidence and resilience.
Maintain a growth mindset
To be resilient, you need to have a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset are stuck believing that their skills and abilities are set in stone. They’re unwilling to try new things or take risks because they fear failure. They might think that failure is the end of the road.
On the other hand, someone with a growth mindset believes that they can continuously improve. They’re willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. They know that failure is just a part of the journey.
A self-assessment is critical for digital marketers. If you can’t take an honest look in the mirror, it won’t be easy to grow and improve. Should you find that you have a fixed mindset, it’s time to make a change.
First, start thinking about failure in a different way. Instead of seeing it as the end, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s not a reflection of your worth as a person or a professional. It’s just a part of the biz. Now, that doesn’t mean you should take unnecessary risks just to fail and bounce back. But it does mean that you should be open to new ideas and willing to experiment. You never know what might work until you try it.
The best way to develop a growth mindset is to surround yourself with people who also have one. They could be your family, friends, colleagues, or even just the people you follow on social media. Find people who inspire you and make you feel like anything is possible.
Check your workplace culture
The culture at your workplace can have a big impact on your and your employee’s resilience. If you’re in a stressful, chaotic, or otherwise toxic environment, it will be much harder to recover from setbacks.
On the other hand, a positive workplace culture can be a huge asset. If you have a team that supports and encourages each other, they’ll naturally exhibit digital resilience when times get tough. There’s strength in numbers, after all.
You can’t change the culture of your workplace overnight, but you can start by setting an example yourself. Be positive, encouraging, and there for your team when they need you. It’s also important to remove or rehabilitate the bad apples. If one individual is bringing the team down, address the issue head-on. Don’t let toxic behavior fester.
Never stop looking for new opportunities
You can’t measure resilience if you never face any challenges. In order to grow and thrive, you need to put yourself in situations where you might fail. This might mean taking on new projects or exploring uncharted territory. Predicting the future is impossible, so there’s always some risk involved.
Optimism is an integral part of digital resilience. If you believe that things will work out, you’re more likely to find a way to make them work. Pessimism, on the other hand, often leads to paralysis. Having realistic expectations is important, but don’t be afraid to take risks.
Speed is an important part of digital resilience. Hesitation isn’t a bad thing when you’re making major decisions, but you need to be able to move quickly when the situation calls for it. The faster you can adapt to changes in the market, the more likely you are to succeed. And if you fail, the quicker you can get back on your feet and try again.
That doesn’t mean you should be reckless. You still need to take the time to plan, strategize, and document decisions and workflows.
COVID-19 showed us just how fast things could change. In a matter of weeks, the whole world was turned upside down. Some restaurants immediately switched to delivery-only models, while others closed their doors and lost money for months. The ones that were able to adapt the quickest are the ones that are still around today.
You can’t be an expert at everything. And when trouble strikes, that will become painfully apparent. It’s essential to have a team of experts that you can rely on when things get tough. These people should be able to fill in the gaps and remain consistent even when the going gets tough.
Outsourcing can be a great way to build digital resilience on your team by balancing workloads and off-boarding the work your team isn’t equipped to handle.
You’re not just hiring someone to do a specific task when you outsource. You’re adding a thought partner to your team. Of course, outsourcing comes with its own set of challenges. But if you can find the right partner, it can be a valuable asset.
For example, keeping an updated blog takes time and focus. If you take it upon yourself or your team to write all the content, it increases workloads, distracts them from their core tasks, and creates contingency issues (such as when a team member is ill or leaves the company).
You need to have someone who can step in and keep your content marketing going even when you’re not around. This way, your blog will continue to provide value even when you can’t work on it.
The bottom line
The good thing about setbacks and challenges is that they are usually short lived. Is your website down due to a DDoS attack? It will be back up soon enough. Are you not getting the results you want from your latest campaign? Try something different next time. The important thing is to keep moving forward and never give up—a core tenant of digital resilience.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of digital marketing. When it happens, take a step back and remember the big picture. What is your long-term goal? What are you trying to achieve? Keep your eyes on the prize, and don’t let short-term setbacks derail your plans.
Digital marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Sooner or later, you will reach your goals. For help getting there, check out Draft.