It was never about what role ‘digital marketing’ should play in traditional marketing and communications. It was always the other way around.
I’ve worked in many various disciplines of public relations. When I decided to specialise in digital strategy, the majority of my peers in the traditional advertising and communications industry tried to convince me that I’d better set my mind on making my transition a temporary one.
Why? Because they were convinced that traditional marketing would catch up, and when it (meaning they) did, my specific line of business (“digital marketing”), would be degraded to a separate discipline.
“Enjoy it while it lasts,” they said.
The digital gap is nowhere near closing up
Now, depending on where you’d place the starting marker, I’d say we’re well over five years into the complete professionalisation of digital marketing. And traditional marketers and communicators… hasn’t really caught up yet. In fact, more often than not, they aren’t even close. Instead, the gap is wider than ever.
Digital marketing is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. As soon as you stumble upon something new, yet another endless abyss of potential knowledge opens up under your feet.
A few examples:
Analogue marketing is ‘business unusual’ today
Now, I hate to say it, but traditional marketing doesn’t just “absorb” all of this during business as usual. This is, to paraphrase Henriette Weber, business unusual. And, so what is in fact happening?
If it works in digital, it’s easy to make it work elsewhere as well. To date, networked media logic is the best representation of how communication flows through a wired society.
‘Digital First’ is the future for our profession
All types of marketing has merit; it all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve.
But digital is the prime mover of people’s perception of the world. It has taken over as our number one source for both information absorption and multi-level dialogue. So, what does this mean?
It means that digital communication is not a fad. It means that we must adapt.