Everything Is Digital

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Digital is everything. Are you listening?

I read the following quote from a recently published Forrester report titled, The Future Of Business Is Digital:

"Business leaders don’t think of digital as central to their business because in the past, it hasn’t been. But now your customers, your products, your business operations, and your competitors are fundamentally digital. While 74% of business executives say their company has a digital strategy, only 15% believe that their company has the skills and capabilities to execute on that strategy. A piecemeal strategy of bolting on digital channels or methods is no longer sufficient. Instead, you must think of your company as part of a dynamic ecosystem of value that connects digital resources inside and outside the company as needed to compete. You must harness digital technologies, both to deliver a superior customer experience and to drive the agility and operational efficiency you need to stay competitive." 

How digital is your organization?

From a marketing perspective, the ability to do digital advertising seems elementary, at this point. Yes, you can use websites, mobile apps and social media to sell a message (much in the same way that advertisers do with television, radio and print). The bigger shift (and the kind of stuff we have been working on at Twist Image for close to a decade) is helping brands to solve their business challenges by creating digital products and services. This means that a website is (and can be) a whole lot more than a printed brochure brought to life, and it also means that brands can now create and sell digital products alongside their physical goods via e-commerce. Technology, obviously, enables a lot more. Now, you can build a framework of analytics, KPIs and metrics that can be baked into these products and services, long before any of it goes live. What does this mean? You now know things like cost per acquisition and how something is performing live and in the moment. Brands are able to move data from the rear view mirror to the passenger seat. From that, the complexities of the communication layers become apparent. Now, the role of marketing becomes to not only build these digital products and services, to build those KPIs and analytics into them, but then to figure out how to tell, share and connect these assets to an audience. If you’re reading this thinking that there’s nothing new being written here, ask yourself this: which brands are actually doing this (instead of talking about it or reading about it)?

That is the transformation that most businesses must face in this business of digital. 

Put aside your profession. Look at how you conduct yourself as a consumer. Where do the traditional channels of communications fit? Where do the digital channels and opportunities lie? We live in a world where:

  • YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network.
  • Social Media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the Web.
  • The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.
  • 189 million of Facebook‘s users are mobile only.
  • 93% of marketers use Social Media for business.

Let’s not miss the future.

I must have read the quote at the beginning of this blog post ten times in the past few days (probably more). Every time I read it, I think to myself, "isn’t this obvious? Doesn’t everybody know this? Haven’t we been saying this for over a decade already?" Then, I switch gears, and I think to myself, "isn’t it obvious how profoundly amazing it is to be working in the digital marketing space? There is so much opportunity." Businesses are struggling through this phase. It’s not going to get any easier. As technology gets easier for consumers to connect with-  and more appliances go from being plugged into the wall to being mobile and connected – it’s going to create many more layers of complexity. In this, brands will need to think differently about what it means to be a marketer in a world where the future of business is digital…

…and the present is very digital as well. Still, it feels like most brands are working very analog.