11 trends / effects of the economic crisis on Marketing & Communications in 2009

October 23, 2008 at 10:25 am | Posted in Control, Conversation, Customisation, Disruption, General, Innovation, Integration, Mass, Metrics, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Trends | 1 Comment

1. Fragmentation of mass audiences to continue

a. For people who have passed a disruption line, expectations have already permanently changed. These shifts in expectations (control, customization, conversation, connection) can not be undone.

b. Fragmentation process / access to disruptive devices will slow (restricted access to credit – especially for middle class)

c. The only things that variable that can be disrupted is the overall value proposition e.g price related, perceived value and other brand related attributes

2. Discretionary content expenditure under scrutiny

a. Need to buy / construct customer / consumer loyalty

b. Focus on subscription packages rather than a-la-carte (e.g. newsstand sales will suffer)

c. Free content to thrive

3. Less innovation

a. R&D to be reduced

b. Fewer software upgrades

c. Less interface development – focus on existing or standardized formats etc to drive efficiencies

4. Safe harbor

a. Clients will become risk averse

b. Increased need to understand the risk profile of decision stakeholders

c. Intelligence & Research will be reduced chasing short term results

d. Standardised / tried and true interfaces / formats

5. No major events

a. Fewer annual event sponsorship packages

b. Pressure on visibility properties

c. Focus on message segmentation (rather than content separation)

6. Increased need for alignment and integration

a. Lots of desperate tactical proposals (media vehicles & agencies in survival mode)

b. Essential to agree to what is of value (can be integrated, aligned with core idea)

7. Tactical flexibility

a. No major events – focus on tactical buys

b. Variable, highly sensitive demand driven market

8. Increased focus on accountability and efficiency

a. Need to align metrics with business goals / KPIs

b. Need to define success (impossible to measure results without predefined success parameters)

c. Reduction in the number of campaign content pieces (fewer better quality, planning content to be versatile across platforms)

9. Focus on loyalty

a. Consumers / customers, under pressure, will be more promiscuous and more likely to challenge premium priced / value added products and services

b. Concentration of sales strategies – 80/20 rule – consolidate heavy user business

c. Branding & relevant customer conversation becoming more important.

d. Get closer to customers to reduce tactical promotion driven churn

e. Increased power of trusted advocacy e.g. word-of-mouth (free, credible, easily found e.g. blogs)

10. Content costs

a. Increased global content distribution to leverage critical mass

b. Imported content costs increasing – favors local content producers

11. Tension between mass and segmented marketing (targeting and messaging)

a. Mass appears to be efficient (based on tactical execution metrics), but has a generalised message and significant impact wastage.

b. Segmented marketing has a better probability of message relevance and ROI (Strategic metrics)

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BABELFISH – Top Headlines September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Agency Model, Digital thinking, Integration, Segmentation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Firstly, sorry for being off the grid over the last month. Wired again….so here we go…

Y Moms Connect Through The Internet; X Moms Task | Mediapost

Why you should be interested: This puts some meat to the theory that younger people use web tools mainly for socializing, while young adults tend to be more objective in their web use (i.e. as they balance work needs with personal entertainment / socializing)

Your Data With Destiny | AdAge

Why you should be interested: Although his reference to `post advertising age` is a bit sensational, in general a very goods article by Bob Garfield that gives some good examples of how path-to-purchases are being disrupted, how technology is helping attend to increased needs for segmentation and data and insight extrapolation.

I (heart) Google Chrome | Experiencematters

Why you should be interested: Chrome, Googles new web browser (to compete with Microsofts ubiquitous Internet Explorer) is a major disruptor because it redefines how browsers work. In short, Chrome is faster than existing browsers because it processes information in parallel.

Part 1 of 3: Future Interfaces Will Be More Natural | Organic Three Minds

Part 2 of 3: Future Interfaces Will Be More Intelligent | Organic Three Minds

Part 3 of 3: Future Interfaces Will Be Everywhere | Organic Three Minds

Why you should be interested: As we move from standardized analogue interfaces to new user controlled digital interfaces, we need to understand what tools we have to play with to best present out content and experience. These rather detailed articles dimensionalize the dynamics of interface design and start to explain in laymans terms, the challenges we have ahead.

Branding in a New Dimension – How to build a brand and a relationship in a Web 2.0 world | Adweek

A Holistic Approach – It’s time to bring all media under a single umbrella | Adweek ~ Bob Greenberg

Why you should be interested: A couple of good articles from Bob Greenberg depicting how digital is changing the process of branding and is forcing integration between disciplines. He gives some good examples of how brands need to redefine the way they present themselves because of digital environments e.g. how does a brand move, what does a logo sound like.. and I would add other sensorial stimulation e.g. how does a brand smell etc

The Metrics Maze – Am I Lost? | Mediapost

Measurement Hurdle for New Media | ADWEEK ONLINE
Why you should be interested: `If you dont aim at anything, the chances are that you will hit nothing` Pretty obvious, but an area that forces client and suppliers to:

1) audit your measurement capabilities (separating strategic and executional),

2) define success (because at the end of the day we all get paid to meet our goals)

3) set realistic measurement KPI’s that cascade up to business goals

4) develop tools / structures to measure success and

5) set a plan to evolve all off the above over time

Google Strikes Partnership With NBC to Expand in TV Advertising | New York Times
Is The Future of Media Buying Already Here? | Mediapost
Google to be arbitrageur for NBCs cable NETWORKS | WARC

Why you should be interested: An interesting pilot program for Google to extend its sales and inventory management tools to other media. A logical step for media vehicles to maximize revenue for often unsold or undervalued space. One more step towards the commoditization of media space that increases the need for old style agencies / media shops to develop a new value propositions for clients.

If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines.

BABELFISH – Top Headlines August 29, 2008

August 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Control, Digital thinking, Disruption, General, Integration, Mobility, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Through-the-funnel, Top-of-the-funnel, Traditional, video | Leave a comment

Survey: Many executives say on-the-job Web surfing is OK | The Business Journal
Why you should be interested:  One of the biggest challenges in corporations is to foster a digital culture. Obviously, web based tools and enterprise content access systems can generate considerable efficiencies. Web based tools encourage self service / pull information rather than companies having to hire people to manually push content out to users.

The line gets blurry when managers see staff appearing to waste time on Instant Messenger or in non-work related social community blogs. Flipping the coin, hypocritical corporations can’t ban at work social web use while they continue to invade employee personal time with intrusive devices like Smartphones / Blackberrys (always on / always connected to boss and client syndrome).

Similar to corporate policies regarding access to pornography, companies can establish rules of engagement without over-policing staff (or causing unnecessary tension between work and personal functions). Sure, employees need to respectful and have some limits on socializing during work hours, but a the same time, managerial styles need to change to reflect disrupted consumer expectations, especially regarding control, multitasking, content rights management, collaboration and networking.

Blocking access to information and tools that encourage digital culture is short-term corporate thinking. Maybe corporations need to cater to the growing expectation to balance / multitask personal and work based content consumption and integrated social and work based tools (like the way people use IM).

 

Yahoo Launches Fire Eagle To Manage Location-Based Information | Washington Post
Mobile phones will become main marketing tool: KV Kamath | The Economic Times

‘Sports Illustrated’ Sells Ads Via Online Auction | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested:  Location based targeting is the emerging frontier of segmented marketing. It is liberating small to medium sized businesses to use once mass media content forms and vehicles.

The pioneers in this area are the US cable companies e.g. Comcast. They have been able to isolate demographically (and behaviorally) down to specific households (based on Cable TV billing details and viewing habits)

Geographic or location based targeting, is complicated and limited via traditional internet alone. Most people connect to the internet via an ISP (Internet Service Provider). The problem is that ISP’s are not organized geographically (you could be using an ISP backbone based in India for all you know). Hence, to geographically isolate information via internet, the user either has to nominate where they are (e.g. a drop down menu on entry…resulting in extra clicks) or we have to ask consumers to register and provide their geographic location.

Mobile is opening up a whole new level of geographic targeting because it allows marketers to send messages to consumers within a specific location (Via Bluetooth or Infrared) or target people in a specific region relative to the internet base station that they are using to connect. This opens up efficient marketing opportunities to a whole new market of local businesses.

Another linked trend is the development of low cost / template based content generation / management tools e.g. SpotRunner. These tools facilitate good quality, extremely dynamic production, flexible for localized versioning, at a very low cost.

Lastly, internet based bidding systems are allowing vehicles to efficiently monetize once fragmented, unsellable or undervalued space.

When you link the three efficient elements (Space + Content + Targeting), you have a functioning version of the accountable and dynamic future of marketing.

 

Imagining a World of Interactive Movie Theaters | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested:  Without sounding like an advertisement, cinema inherently has many qualities that attend to the needs of the digital era, including: a) an  attentive, captive audience, with few distractions b) one of richest and most efficient content forms in video c) geographically and behaviorally segmented audiences.

Arguably, live performance / interaction is the most powerful content form because: a) it’s ability to engage all of the senses (including smell and temperature), b) ability to adjust messaging on the fly to the audience mood c) geographically and behaviorally segmented audiences d) facility to offer product samples and value added material e) ability to easily measure exit attitudes and opinions.

As many music performers have already discovered, when you combine the two, video with interactivity, you have a very powerful experience. Moving forward, when you incorporate automated feedback mechanisms e.g. using mobile devices / phones, the cinema environment becomes a very powerful marketing tool.

 

ZAP & BuscaPe Unite to Integrate Classified Ads and Online Shopping in Brazil | PR Newswire
Why you should be interested:  BuscaPe is a price comparison site. Zap is an online version of traditional newspaper classifieds. The combination of the two provides significant scale and a richer online shopping experience journey (both new and used products). As e-commerce business models mature, keep an eye out for these disruptive mergers / integration of tools and content to gain a competitive value added advantage.

 

If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines

BABELFISH – Top Headlines August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Posted in Agency Model, Control, Conversation, Customisation, Digital thinking, Disruption, General, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Mass, Path-to-purchase, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Through-the-funnel, Top-of-the-funnel | Leave a comment

Why the Internet Enhances TV Advertising | Advertising Age
Why you should be interested: Cheap cost-per-thousand distribution combined with an extremely powerful content form in video, has helped sustain TV advertising as the default weapon of mass distribution. 

 

Many a client has been heard to scream in frustration at the relatively unaccountable nature of mass demand generation. What happens in the cloud of uncertainty between the mass demand building message and the moment the customer walks in the shop door to purchase??

 

Fragmentation of this mass distribution power combined with new tools that enable segmentation of messaging are setting mew marketing practice precedents and challenging the concentration of marketing efforts in mass messaging.

 

Along this complex path to consideration, purchase intent and ultimate purchase, marketers now are acknowledging that there is a delicate balance mass demand generation and segmented messaging.

 

TV will still remain a powerful mass demand generator, but the world of segmented content distribution, led by the internet is where the exciting stuff is happening.

 

Consumers find ads in long-form online video ‘reasonable’ | BizReport
Are Short Videos Best for the Web? | eMarketer
Why you should be interested: Moving from a world of standardized content lengths to a more free-form environment, we need to test the elasticity / expectation of users. Of course the answer is ..the form and duration of content depends on the idea / message objective. This study shows that users will tolerate longer form video content on the relatively smaller computer screen, although I believe that the motive is more convenience of on-demand than preferred viewing experience.

 

Digital ad agency reaches out to old media | Washington Post
Why you should be interested: For many years, digital agencies have been building credibility / equity with clients by getting closer to their business, building segmented messaging strategies and providing measurable results. So, it is no surprise that digital agencies are trying to leverage this equity by expanding services into the relatively vacant strategic space left by the once dominant big mass messaging agencies. Big agency culture provides many barriers to change, and arguably, in the short to medium-term, digital agencies are in a very good position to find fertile revenue growth in the integrated strategic planning space.

 

Recognizing Transformation Triggers…Before It’s Too Late | Accenture

Why you should be interested: One of the greatest challenges for any organization is to gauge how aggressive they need to be in building capabilities in a dynamic marketplace.

 

Change in the communication space is manifesting itself in two forms 1) The need for communication innovation (driven by content distribution fragmentation and consumers resistance to irrelevant messages) 2) The need for always-on content (to facilitate brand related conversation and answer specific questions to influence purchase decisions). The iterative steps to achieve competitiveness are logical, but the eternal question remains as to how fast do marketers need to change.

 

This very good article argues that for significantly disruptive change `It is crucial to spot the impending danger early on and make fundamental rather than incremental change`

 

If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines

 

 

 

 

 

 

BABELFISH – Top Headlines July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008 at 10:26 am | Posted in Control, Infrastructure, Integration, Metrics, Search | 1 Comment

The Internet’s Hierarchy of Needs | vortexdna

Why you should be interested: An interesting set rationale and a good read. As a cautionary observation, I fundamentally disagree that the internet is changing people’s needs. Digital experiences are changing habits & expectations of how the needs are fulfilled, but the basic needs as defined by Maslow remain true. i.e. people have the same needs, but are just using different tools to fulfill them. On a similar note, we need to be careful not to create unnecessary jargon that potentially complicates issues and alienates stakeholders in the marketing approval process. In general, jargon increases perceived risk. Hence, creates counter-productive barriers to digital adoption and integration. 

 

Web 2.0 Control Moves From Marketing to IT | eWEEK
Why you should be interested: There has always been confusion and an internal political battle over who controls company web sites. Although, I think the loose reference to web 2.0 here confuses the issue. People naturally resist a change that appears to reduce their perceived domain of responsibility (particularly when it comes to such a high profile topic such as `digital`). A move of web site control simply reflects the need for increasingly sophisticated technology infrastructure e.g. information / database management. In my mind, the function of a web site needs to be divided into two areas: Strategic and executional. Marketing departments should be less worried about executional control and more worried about messaging / experience strategies, analyzing the data supplied by the technology, and fine tuning the content. Sure, any innovation agenda and interface R&D should be a shared responsibility, but leave the executional technology part to core competency specialists who do it best.

 

5 Immutable Laws Of Marketing Measurement | Mediapost

Why you should be interested: Measurement is one of our greatest mid-term challenges in marketing. Defining relevant and measurable KPI’s and setting a measurement infrastructure to measure cause and effect is an iterative transitional process.

Generally, metrics can be divided into three broad groups: Transactional, Experiential & Executional. Each of these three should evolve in sophistication as your marketing structure evolves. We must remember that metrics and KPI’s are all about establishing relative performance expectations. It’s nice to be leading change, but we don’t get rewarded for setting goals too high / too sophisticated and not achieving them.

The biggest trap is to get seduced by metrics that provide no clear conclusion / implication (because we can now measure them). Granular metrics are a distraction unless they clearly cascade to contribute to overall Personal / Brand / Product KPI’s.

Emarketing pure-plays are the metric trailblazer because they have a lot more control over their ecosystem.  Hence, they can confidently draw correlations between cause and effect. Measurement is much more difficult when the purchase decision is affected by less measurable offline factors.

The secret is to know your infrastructure limitations. Sure, set stretch goals, but keep metrics focused and simple until you build a more sophisticated infrastructure / capabilities.

 

Employee Brands Must Be Part Of Your Search Marketing Strategy | Mediapost

Why you should be interested: Employees can be the strongest brand advocates and in consumers minds often represent brand / corporation values.

 

Will Brick-and-Mortar retailers ban the iPhone (and other mobile phones)? | Customer Experience Labs

Why you should be interested: The dynamic and empowering nature of online price comparison is a powerful disruptive tool and poses a threat to traditional retail pricing practices.

 

If you have a few more spare minutes, a more extensive list of headlines is available – click here: BABELFISH Full latest headlines

Communications design: Not a cheap pick-up line, but brands longing for true-love

March 10, 2008 at 8:15 am | Posted in design, Innovation, Integration, Strategic planning | 2 Comments

Whether it is between a customer and a piece of brand communication, between two customers discussing a brand or an interaction with a contextual situation associated with a brand, communication is all about starting a conversation.

The more relevant the content of the conversation, the more immersive the experience and the more willing people are to engage and consistently participate.

The objective of the conversation can have a short-term objective. If you want a short-term reaction, the unstructured ‘bling-bling’ of a pick-up line may get a superficial reaction (good sex). Though, as we all know, relationships mature over time. Participants expect the connection to get stronger to maintain commitment. Hence, ‘bling-bling’ is an exhaustive and unsustainable way to maintain interest in / participation in a conversation.

Relationships that stand the test-of-time normally start with conversations built on mutual respect and admiration.

‘Communication Design’ is exactly that exploratory process. It is the process of carefully constructing an integrated architecture of messages that remain consistent in their personality and tone across many different content forms, contexts and contact environments.

For brands that are serious about their commitment to their relationships, each conversation needs to firstly be inherently linked to a human behavior or insight. To be considered ‘Good design’, each experience, message, content piece and delivery context needs to be intuitively architected and have continuity and consistency.

Lastly, well designed messages don´t have to rely on tedious repetition to force engagement. The immersive connection leverages relevance and aesthetic appeal.

I´m under no illusion that ‘good design’ is easy. Actually, it is actually near impossible in the fragmented, competitive and dysfunctional communications industry. We need to explore the dynamics and disciplines required to stimulate a conversation that can help us make the small steps necessary to bring this to life.

Cheers. BC

7 considerations when deciding the most appropriate budget mix for traditional and emerging communication content forms and contact vehicles?

February 24, 2008 at 12:56 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Integration | Leave a comment

Content or Contact mix decisions should not be arbitrary. There is no one rule and decisions should be made on a brand specific basis. Below are some considerations that may help you determine your brands right mix.

1. Where does the money come from to fund internet?

The Brazilian market is still using internet primarily for building awareness, advocacy and affinity. Markets where Digital has taken a stronger hold generally potentialize it´s benefits throughout the whole purchase decision process. Hence, although digital is a powerful affinity driving tool, in other markets digital is dragging money up from below-the-line more than shifting traditional media funds.

2. Purchasing process disruption forcing an integrated communications digital presence

The traditional path-to-purchase process is broken for many categories. Consumers are changing their expectations and the way that they consume content. Being able to connect with content in a self-service manner has dramatically shortened decision making cycles. Internet on-demand content, social networking and communications are facilitating quicker decisions that demand a constant multi- dimensional marketing presence.

3. Belgium and India (Brazil is five countries in one).

Lack of online critical mass / poor internet penetration can no longer be an excuse for inertia in shifting funds for many influential targets. With weekly internet penetration now ranges from 83% (AB Men 18-24) to zero depending on the target and the state. For most high value consumers, penetrations are well above many in markets considered developed.

4. Perceived or real risk?

Resistance to shifting money to digital is more a result of perceived risk rather that real risk. For many brands, innovation is fundamental, but lack of digital knowledge (driven by many years of digital separation) has created a large gap between perceived and real innovation risk. Often a huge gap exists between the innovation the brand requires and the risk the decision stakeholders are willing to take. This dramatically affects our abilities to get innovative ideas approved.

5. Is internet more effective and efficient that my traditional communication?

30sec video content (and many other traditional content forms) distributed via mass media is still an extremely power and persuasive form of communication content.

It is commonly believed that interactivity is one of the most effective content engagement mechanics, but while digital still has limited reach, it is yet to be proven if interactive is both more effective and more efficient at building affinity with your consumer.

For most integrated marketing campaigns with a central consumer insight focused core idea, digital can be an effective central destination to link each contact channel and drive communication synergies.

6. Which brands need to act urgently?

For many categories that do not have a disrupted path-to-purchase, we may need to first prove that alternate forms of content are both more efficient and effective before shifting investment. E.g. most package consumer goods, mass marketers skewing to broad audiences (that don´t have a specific need for segmentation).

That being said, if your focus is building Brand affinity to AB <40 targets, their expectation of how you connect with them has irreversibly changed. You definitely need to balance your traditional communications content with more conversational content forms.

Here are some other obvious extreme categories where path is disrupted and a constant aggressive presence addressing all parts of the decision path is required:

  • High Innovation Demand Products: Soft drinks, Snack foods, fashion, music, mobile phones
  • Anything where business model is inherently digital: some Commerce, Banking, ticket purchases, software,
  • Info / WOM opinion rich decision process: Travel, Car purchase, house purchase, PC, technology,
  • Any other product that can be sold via eCommerce and is easily and cheaply shipped: Books, movies, fast food etc

7. Responsible Innovation (Beware of expectation bubbles)

Ad hoc projects without a strategic vision often burn bridges and retard sustainable integration. Before investing in innovation, we should clarify the success metrics and align our efforts with an integrated strategic vision. Tactical actions should be evaluated in the context of how it will enhance our consumers Brand affinity and ultimately convert to sustainable demand. Ideally, programs should be based on a brands innovation needs and target content insights. They should be a sustainable process of incrementally building capabilities by setting clear success metrics, testing, learning and quickly reapplying.

Cheers, BC

Is Molecular Marketing a solution when mass messaging stops working?

February 22, 2008 at 11:46 pm | Posted in Agency Model, Customisation, Digital thinking, Integration, Mass, Molecular, Path-to-purchase, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Through-the-funnel | 1 Comment

In an era where companies are under pressure to increase shareholder value & efficiencies, John Wannamaker´s famous statement, “I know that half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half” has never been more worrying.

The power of mass messaging is eroding. Some consumers are becoming less responsive to general messaging being pushed at them and are summoning marketers to speak to them on their terms. Many now interact with content with a purpose, goal or need that drives their behavior. In the extreme, they reject most messaging and expect to be seduced by a brand experience to enter into a brand related conversation.

Brand communication is this environment is a bit like raising a teenager. You do your best to teach your kids right from wrong, but at the same time they can be affected by many external factors. Unlike the predictable and controlled process of dropping them at the cinema, when you drop them at a party, pick them up at the end, you never knowing what they actually did. We have to trust that our guidance leads them to navigate safely through the experience.

Likewise, when using mass communication, after the initial Ad. exposure, even the most sophisticated marketers lose their customer in ‘clouds of uncertainty’ or ‘blind spots’ during the decision process. If they are lucky, they find them again at the time of purchase. Unfortunately, most of the time, mass marketing has very little measurable correlation to creating demand.

For stockholders, the process of ‘pushing a general mass message out to a broad audience and holding your breath, hoping for a response’, is not a responsible way to spend money that could otherwise go to the bottom line.

These issues are creating enormous tensions. Contrary to the trend, digital marketing options are creating measurable segmented delivery channels to effectively target messages and track their purchase decision process content interactions.

If traditional mass messaging stops working, what can we do to build demand?

Three complementary options are:

1. Innovation to break through the clutter and get noticed is effective for mass audiences. Whether it be content, context or contact vehicle, most innovation is very short lived. To build a sustainable innovation program often requires a cultural change re-focus your company.

2. Recent trend to become more relevant has been a move towards integrated marketing. Cross discipline integration is driving efficiencies by synchronizing activities and is working very well for products with relatively simple purchase decision processes.

3. The third approach, which directly attacks communication wastage, is segmentation. Many marketers are reluctant to fragment efforts and challenge corporate culture and restructure to explore segmentation or ‘Molecular Marketing’.

Where do I start if my brand needs segmented ‘Molecular Marketing’?

Contrary to traditional marketing, Molecular Marketing requires creating multiple brand messages for different customer clusters and modes.

This segmentation can take many forms: more specific definitions of demographics, mind-set, behavior, context, geography or messaging.

For Molecular Marketing to be effective, we need to invest to develop deeper segmented insights and we need to re-define KPI´s, particularly at different stages of the purchasing decision process.

The key is to understand the consumer’s desired experience at the ‘tipping points’ where consumers and customers are looking for content to form an opinion. The challenge then is to craft our messages to help deliver a branded experience to influence consumers purchase decision. When we align our messages with the modes that consumers are in, we can actually become a part of the experience that consumers are seeking.

Whichever the approach, segmented messaging requires a lot more work. For some categories, the benefit still doesn´t warrant the extra cost and effort. Segmentation is inherently more expensive on a cost per exposure basis, but usually ends up more efficient when you analyze return on objectives.

Where relevant, for the investment to be mutually profitable, the communication industry will have to re-benchmark its value proposition to clients and change its remuneration structure for communication services to be more results focused.

Cheers, BC

The largest barrier to digital growth – demons of the past, digital silos & evangelism

February 17, 2008 at 3:44 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Traditional | Leave a comment

Many digital evangelists claim the problem is that everyone else doesn´t get it!! They are partly right, but at the same time they are blind to their own ignorance and weaknesses.

The most successful digital minds are one that can either cross both the traditional and emerging worlds or partner with a mentor that can help them focus and articulate their value.

 90% of what digital evangelists claim that they are inventing – has actually already been done in the traditional world. Like naïve teenagers, they discover something (e.g. a remake of a Rolling Stones song), thinking it new, give it a name of their own and adopt it as their own groundbreaking innovation.

The problem is that digital evangelists not only disrespect historical marketing theory, but they have deliberately kept anyone (e.g. a grey hair mentor) in the dark and at arms-length. In fact, they have been guilty in many respects of ‘Reinventing the wheel’ because of the barriers that they have placed have stopped them learning from the elders of the ‘communications tribe’. In these times, where digital thinking transcends the digital mediums, it may be in the digital evangelists to be a bit more humble and sign a peace treaty.

Sure, the traditional establishment hasn´t made it easy for this seemingly disruptive splinter group. The demons of past battles still haunt the minds of digital journeymen. Likewise, the partying and arrogance prior to the digital bubble bursting and premature claims that ‘everyone associated with traditional communication are irrelevant and dying’, have left deep seated rift between the traditional and emerging communication worlds.

When an industry is growing, it makes sense to separate and concentrate efforts in a silo to achieve a sense of critical mass.  The problem is, as the pie grows, particularly in an extremely dynamic environment where training always plays a back seat to delivery, if you don´t reintegrate, there simply aren´t enough people to do the required work.

It is time that the ‘digital thoroughbreds’ start feeling a little more self-confident and start adopting and recruiting ‘digital immigrants’ people to do the work so that they can move forward and do what they do best – attack the critical problems facing communication: innovate and build conversation infrastructure. There is no doubt that digital thinkers will rule, but in this new world built upon collaboration and co-opetition, let´s hope that we all can find a way to heal the wounds, collectively swallow our pride and act as the mature leaders that our clients and customers need.

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