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This story is written by Zachary Gordon, former digital media editor at Z Magazine. It was originally published by Issue Project Room.
OK, now, let’s talk specifics: What exactly is “the average workweek” for a website operating in Europe? How much time do you spend building? Creating? Integrating the multitude of submissions into your website and promoting it? Maintaining customer-service solutions? Hard work? Sleep?
Am I being wildly inaccurate? Not that we don’t know these things, but they’re really hard to pin down when you’re actually in the trenches doing the work—and frequently, you’re trying to drum up some much-needed capital while doing so.
Indeed, according to the German technology hub Deezer’s new report “Work Hard in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Sales & Marketing Programmes from the U.S. and the EU,” people in Europe spend “79 hours a week on ‘actual active production activity’ while workers in the U.S. clocked a total of 78 hours.”
What’s more: The report also notes that European digital marketing activity puts them “head and shoulders above their American counterparts,” with 85 hours of actual active production activity per week. That’s an average of nearly 14 hours a day, plus, as noted in the report, up to 50 hours of “less active production activity,” which might be anything from web searches to Excel exercises. As noted in a June report on (and here sourced from) the weekly webcast Built in America, a staggering 96 percent of jobs in the US are defined as sales, service, fulfillment or production—meaning they don’t need any machinery or fancy sewing machines—while companies are still working on “embracing” IT infrastructure and software development; in other words, firing up a machine for the sole purpose of doing the work.
In other words, Americans are just not spending enough time doing the non-shopping, non-creative or production-oriented work that is the tech-marketing take-over required for scaling an online business. We need to figure that out (people are doing it all wrong—here are the most compelling businesses people are doing their sales and marketing with), and fast.
Take, for example, the situation in Germany. The country is a huge success story of online business growth. And from a technology standpoint, it’s notable that much of the country is referred to as “gig economy” where, via the increasing entry of so-called “mini-jobs,” individual workers are often making their living.
This may all sound wonderful: You’re earning money via individual tasks where you might cook a meal or pour a pint of beer or work a few hours at your desk in public view.
But there’s a caveat, as it turns out: If you want to keep people downloading your content, doing the things most online advertisers are demanding—even just a little—you need to keep them engaged. As a platform that’s built for speed, you need to give them their share of content easily and keep them engaged. This means luring them with compelling content, support and support by way of top-notch customer service, for example.
Turning out solid content at a pace of nearly 40 hours per week seems to get very complicated, but with attention spans these days, I think a scalable program is still possible. And while I’m not willing to go on record as an expert in this area, the sad fact is that sales, delivery, and support from start-ups are still the most reliable means of keeping prospective customers, job candidates, and occasional freelancers interacting with a company’s content. The reason: the mass of people devoting their time to it (and thinking like it, driving valuable social impressions by way of unpaid social engagement). The opportunity—and it will be the opportunity for the future, so stay tuned—is huge.
Instead of trying to implement a system that can scale to this magnitude, I would say the answer is simpler: Encourage the creation of good content or build up decent reviews on a tool or sites that’s already in place. Have, I repeat, customers be eager to spend time with a well-designed platform. Don’t just yell at people to load your page.
(Many of these tips come from Agenda, a global leader in digital marketing and media on the planet.)