How Internal Education Helps Companies Stay Connected and Deliver Clarity in Their Messaging

October 20, 2020 — 5 Minute Read

We’ve all been in that meeting where we think, “I don’t completely understand the topic being addressed or the objective of this team”. If you’ve been working for a company for a while, you may not feel comfortable raising your hand and saying, “I don’t understand”. So it’s vital for you to stay educated on key parts of the business and understand how they work.

Externally we would never view a company as a collection of departments in silo, but as the parts that make up the whole. Internally this can be hard to replicate with thousands of employees working remotely and different parts of the business working on their own internal strategy. It can be easy for miscommunication to happen and for duplicative efforts and missed opportunities to occur across teams.

Streamlining communication and surfacing commercial opportunities to drive more successful outcomes

Promoting internal education and creating roles where employees are empowered to act as internal consultants who have insight into many sides of the business can be a powerful way to bring teams together. They act as the face of an entire department and can be the connector between two sometimes siloed parts of the business e.g. Demand and Supply. The advantage of having someone who has insight into several parts of a business is that they can see where there might be synergy or knowledge gaps that are holding teams back. They can build out processes and communication pathways to ensure employees are aware of all the commercial opportunities across the entire business. This extends to regional communication too, as employees with a global remit can spot trends that may be of value to other regions.

Co-dependent business areas: Demand and Supply

In the ad tech world, Demand does of course influence Supply, but as we shift to a world where privacy is of critical importance and publishers come center stage, we see Supply influencing Demand to drive more commercially-led opportunities. This is an exciting development, but it leads us into a new world where client-facing teams need to know more about their Supply access. This is especially important since as you move further up the funnel and introduce tactics that drive awareness, your supply access can become a unique selling point. So, simply knowing you have access to an Exchange or a Publisher’s direct inventory is not enough, you need to be able to articulate the value of your Supply access and how it differs from others in terms of priority level, creatives, brand safety, and audience profile. This requires building smart internal education programs for your Account Strategy and Sales teams and empowering them with an understanding of your Supply strategy. It also means you’ll be empowering them to provide meaningful insights to their clients. Ultimately, this presents an opportunity to have more conversations about cross-collaboration and for both sides of the business to work together to surface new ideas that can help your client’s business.

When it comes to educating clients, you need both sides of the business to come together to present a single vision of the overarching value proposition. Having employees in roles that are focused on connecting teams and improving knowledge is going to improve this process and lead to a more cohesive story.

Supply-based education is driving new opportunities for growth

As the industry adapts to changes in privacy regulations, more emphasis is being placed on contextual advertising and the role of the publisher. We need to enable Demand and Supply teams to come together to find innovative ways to build audiences and offer unique placement opportunities. This is where having internal education leaders is really important: They can highlight commercial opportunities to connect publishers and advertisers who have synergy in terms of their audiences.

Internal education leaders can also play a critical role in product development, with new inventory emerging such as the growth of OTT (Over-the-Top) and CTV (Connected TV), the Supply side of the business plays an important part in testing and validating the opportunity. However, when you introduce a new inventory source, you can’t expect the associated knowledge to exist within your sales teams: You have to invest in educating them on the industry itself and the value that it could bring to their clients. Again, this is where having that connecting voice across the two teams becomes extremely valuable. They can act as a resource to your client-facing teams on how best to sell the newly introduced inventory sources.

Empower your employees to speak about the business as a whole

The traditional approach of training new employees across all areas of the business purely as part of their onboarding process is no longer enough. In today’s constantly evolving world, cross-functional teams need regular insight into your strategy and how it fits into the overarching vision of the company. Treat your internal teams as you would clients: Keep educating and reiterating the value proposition around each part of the business. Employees not only need to understand the ‘why’ behind your vision or strategy but also why it matters to them and how it impacts their own day-to-day. Empower your employees to speak about your business as a whole and not just the sum of its parts.

Jenny O'Connor

Jenny is the Director of Supply Solutions and leads the Internal Education function for Global Supply at Criteo. Based in Pennsylvania, she is an experienced marketing professional who thrives on ensuring teams are empowered to perform at the highest level by delivering cross-functional training programs. When not in the office you can find Jenny drinking tea and enjoying a Yoga or Pilates class.

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