Although the dawn of all things digital began back in the late 1990s, it has truly just in the last handful of years that we have entered a definitively new era of marketing brought on by internet technologies. From our perspective in the present, it is evident that there has been a transition from what we traditionally might classify as various forms of ‘advertising’ to an entirely new way of doing business, and it has occurred extremely quickly.
Now that the game has changed, and building brand ‘experiences’ is the modus operandi, many professionals, even those with a lifelong education in speaking to customers, are finding themselves unsure of exactly what it is they are doing. The people who used to be the experts are now just along for the ride, trying hard to hold on and survive the turbulence.
We have often discussed the new wave of platforms and outlets that are now the major drivers, many of them focused on what is social, local, and mobile. Immediately, a huge number of marketers who have been around for a generation or more have been left in the dust, having failed to listen to the dialogue of the rapidly evolving market and adapt accordingly. Many marketers are also ambivalent to the plethora of data at their disposal thanks to humongous advances in metrics reporting over the last 5 or so years. Some aren’t even aware of who their customers really are. Trying to build brand equity and garner loyalty with audiences you do not understand is like buying a gift for someone who you have never met.
The result of this shift is an increased emphasis on the importance of constant learning. As marketers and businesspeople, we must maintain our curiosity and be enthusiastic about tackling the learning curve that comes requisite with such drastic change. If we take that first step and honestly concede that we are no longer the experts, we can really listen to our customers and begin to make these new channels work for us.