The Role Of Digital Marketing

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In the past few days, I’ve given a lot of public speeches on the Digital Marketing landscape to some varied audiences (including university students, government and big business). I’m continually amazed by how new all of these channels are to the general mass public. I’m not even talking about Blogs and Podcasts here, but having a general strategy for Google AdWords or data around email address collection. What seems so 2003 to most of us, is more like 2033 to others.

I show a bunch of videos in my presentations, and there are several that track well over twenty-million views on YouTube, yet – for most – when I show them, it is the first time these people have ever seen them.

Some might say this is a bad thing.

I think it’s magical.

At bare minimum the art (and science) of building a compelling online property and starting the wheels around Digital Marketing is still new ground to most companies. At best, they are grappling their way to create something more than their current brochure-ware website, and are becoming increasingly aware of places like Technorati and They are moving closer to the cloud (having everything "live" online versus hard drives) and are curious about how their Marketing programs are going to look in twelve month’s time.

After a whirlwind tour of being on the road for nearly ten days straight, I’m happy to report that Digital Marketing is making inroads and corporate interest is piqued. The challenge our industry faces is getting the job done (well), and finding the new bodies to help get the job done well. Young people need to understand the opportunities of working in the Digital Marketing space, and professionals from other media channels (I’m talking to you TV, Radio and Print) need to look in our backyard as dollars continue to shift over to interactive and digital.

There’s not a lack of interest. There’s not a lack of money. Companies want to know that they’re working with a Digital Marketing agency that can deliver, and explain the reasoning behind it too. Companies are also starting to realize how challenging it is to develop this type of expertise internally. Due to the demand of work and lack of experienced employees, talent becomes tough to hire and retain.

I’d love to go back in time and see if the old school ad agencies had the same issues, challenges and opportunities when people got all hot and bothered with stuff like thirty-second spots and direct mail campaigns.

Let me be bold here: Digital Marketing continues to grow, and my guess is that we’re going to loose the term "digital" soon enough as more of the pie becomes driven by the digital channels and it all filters into one centre of excellence called, "Marketing."


  1. I think the topic of the growth of the industry is really interesting, and definitely one of the factors that’s could be a big driver for its growth is of young people getting exposed to what the field is about, and to what opportunities are available.
    There are already other factors in place, like marketing being the most popular major in business schools, that could really grow Digital Marketing if it were seen as being a serious career choice by students.
    But like from your recent speech reactions, who knows how many people are still really aware of it yet?

  2. What’s also interesting is to see how traditional agencies who started a “digital” service line are now facing the reality that the “print” or traditional service line has become secondary to digital in terms of volume of work…. yet their infrastructure is still heavily structured & staffed by traditional print & media folks.
    Do you think you can teach old dogs news tricks… or does digital demand an entirely new skill set (therefore resources) in order for it to work?

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