The digital age is no challenge to the traditional marketer.
The medium is the message, for any brand that seeks, competes, to be bought. The digital age poses certain things to the marketer.
It emphasizes accuracy and precision. It offers several narrow-band social media with promises to make them all as good if not better than the physical social media such as newspapers, schools, drum-beats, magazines, shopfronts, tv, exhibitions, billboards, dinners, banners and radio. It rings in a profession – digital marketing. It has a promising tool-set for the professional – marketing cloud.
The digital marketer knows we are not there yet, but marketers are nothing if not optimistic. We know it shall come to be, soon. What remains for the marketer then is to probe the how and when of the marketing cloud. And when we get going on that it is apparent that the digital age calls for self-help.
The Googles, Amazons, Microsofts, Apples, BlueKais, Twitters, Facebooks, Yahoos, the blogs, Wikis, emails and fora are the (social) media of the digital age that try to bring people and brands to common knowledge. They are narrow-bad. They present several digital ‘channels’ of engagement (web, phones, mobile, mobile web, email), some offer an omniscience across those channels while some are available in specific workspaces.
However, being largely monopsonies (the individual is their only buyer) none is sufficiently common enough, yet, for a business to bank on any one or sets of them. There is variety, automation and global reach in these digital media and it is for the marketer to string them together – a Herculean task given the absence of commonality over them. The management systems from the Oracles, Adobes and IBMs are a necessity if one’s market (the potential buyer of one’s product) extends into the digital realm. Marketing is more than media spots and management.
Marketing is about making common knowledge, it is a social phenomenon. The marketing clouds do not as yet offer the digital equivalents of the Agencies and the humint. They might never for all we know. The agencies have traditionally generated the data to germinate the social phenomenon.
The smart agencies for the digital realm are waiting to be born. A WPP and an nFusion could be equals in the digital realm. This equivalence might seem yet another homage to the disruptive internet but for all one knows there may be no scope for a digital WPP.
The internet, of pages and of things, is enabling many sources of data every bit as rich as the other. In this landscape the digital marketer has no choice – one must pay time and trust in return for information. The clouds are oceanic and limitless. We are just getting started.
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