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Death to Digital

Death to Digital

I’m turning into a cranky old man. Some of my team would say I’m already there. This week I’ve put ‘pen to paper’ (aka finger to tablet) to rant about the world of digital agencies and experts. “We’re a digital agency!” “We do digital.” “We do everything digital.” “I’m a digital expert.” The next time some ‘digital expert’ walks through my door after I throw something at them, I’ll ask three questions.

– How can you be an expert at stuff that changes every week?
– Tell me what you’re not an expert at?
– Out of all the digital tools available what would be the most effective at engaging with my client’s audience?

I profess not to be an expert. As such, I keep learning. I recently started a Digital Strategy and Experience Design course run by Bohdi Lewis, Head of Digital Strategy and Innovation, Havas Australia at Ad School in Sydney. I was elated! As Bohdi and the class of 12 discussed the course two ideas became apparent.

– You can’t be an expert in digital. You need to be a Generalist.
– We’re at a point were ‘digital’ shouldn’t be a ‘thing’ anymore.

Both of these points resonated with me and confirmed my personal thoughts and suspicions based on the many stories and personal experiences I’ve had with so-called ‘digital experts and companies’. There are many aspects to digital, from SEO to Chat Bots and now Machine Learning – the correct term for AI (don’t get me started about so-called AI). The single-minded outcome that needs to drive all brand and branded marketing needs to be ENGAGEMENT.

Engagement

The use of the term digital should be relegated to the dustbin of time. Instead, a more articulate conversation about what channels and media offer the best engagement for a given audience must be had.

As marketing technologies improve and the ability for them to focus on specific demographics, down to personal habits the level of digital snake oil salesmen increases ever faster.

My last piece of advice. If you go to a web company they will offer you a web-based solution. If you go to a social media company you’ll get a social media solution. You can see where I’m going with this. The reality is simple. Every project and every problem is unique. Therefore every solution is unique. As technology becomes more ubiquitous in everything we do, intelligence and brand strategy must drive its use. The tools offered under the broad umbrella of ‘digital’ are amazing and they keep improving every week. The trick is to be a generalist and have a broad understanding of all aspects of marketing, traditional and new. Determine who your market is, then determine the right tools to employ. Brand 1st. Tactical 2nd.

Next time you meet a digital expert, run away. FAST!

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