Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Digital Marketing is Not The Dark Arts

I don't mind questions. I don't mind studies. I don't mind diving deeper into digital technologies to uncover the possibilities that lie beneath the surface. What I mind is the attitude that digital technologies are somehow inferior or mystical when compared to traditional media.

I don't think I'm alone here. For those that live in the world of technology day after day, this can be a surprise. There are those that inherently understand the power of communication. An entire generation now exists that has been brought up expecting digital communication as the norm. And yet, we see story after story in the mainstream media about how this new generation will remain unprepared to face the challenges of tomorrow. The story revolves around some kind of inability to connect and engage individuals face to face.

The point is missed on the mainstream media as well. And it's not the first time.

What digital technologies offer is the newest way to communicate with people. We used to love the telephone. Before that, there were books. All of these were new and novel at some point. I'm thankful we I don't run the risk of being burned for practicing the mysterious power of writing.

Yet, I get the feeling that there's a street war happening between those that had carved out comfortable holes for themselves and those ready to adopt a new world order (and I actually mean that in a good sense).

Let's get down to details for a second - or lack thereof. So there are few models for successfully churning out digital campaigns. There are few metrics to measure the effectiveness. There remains an elusive formula for calculating ROI for the web or mobile or applications. And somehow, the shit still works. Last time I checked in with the statisticians, we were still estimating the metrics for print campaigns. The margins of error for many of the projections were quite high - given a 50 year head start.

So what's the hold up? Why can't we begin to adopt digital technologies as marketing vehicles?

I get the sense that there's fear. And a lot of it. The last thing any of us wants is to show up at the office one day and learn that we know nothing. Everybody has a value. In this business, your value is tied to what you can contribute to the BIG IDEA. A vile, ego driven business it truly is.

Us digital guys (and dolls) remain relatively young. Not a lot of gray hair showing through the Twitter profile pics just yet. Put yourself in the shoes of someone that has worked years in this industry to get to the top. And then what happens? Guess what? The game just changed. Not on my watch you'd think and try to get the most out of what you can.

This is not any offer of forgiveness - only understanding. If you happen to stumble online curious about what these interwebs are and read this, I have just one message. You're holding up the future of this industry.

Imagine if we could put the same minds that have cracked and refined the existing models for the past 10 years. Imagine if we put that effort to a new medium that's cheaper, faster and more powerful than any communication channel we've used in the past.

It's not sorcery. It's real, but we need your help.

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