Anything to learn from 2010? A heap if you’re in marketing
Like many, I get a tad reflective as the year draws to a close – both personal and business. The personal stuff I’ll spare you (what goes on in my head might not necessarily be good for enticing new clients) but the business stuff I’ll happily share.
Overall, 2010 was the year that new media stopped being new media: It is the media. When we previously talked about having a digital strategy, now we talk, or should talk, about having a strategy for a digital age. Digital is ubiquitous; it is normal; it is most things in many people’s lives (just ‘many people’s’ because it isn’t just yet for my old dad– but I’m working on that).
But that isn’t to say that all the old conventional stuff isn’t any more important, because, and ironically, some of it is more so. Take printed direct mail: For young consumers who’ve grown up in a digital world and know no different, receiving a personalised and relevant piece of direct mail through the post is a very exciting way to start the day (accepting the measure for this might be coming off a low base for many…). And are brochures and catalogues dead now you can buy it all online? No they’re not – just as important if you get your head around the many and varied relationships print can have with online in a consumer sense. But spot the common link: digital can change the role, relevance and use of conventional (and I use the word ‘conventional’ only for clarity – it already means digital for anyone who knows no different).
2010 was also the year that any major brand owner that previously thought they were safe from the perils of social media, finally realised there was nowhere to hide. The lesson was simple: Embrace it, think bloody carefully about your strategy, accept that someone, somewhere, is going to take a nasty swipe at you. And if ‘major brand’ meant BP, then sack the idiots who told you the world hadn’t changed and PR spin would get you through a crisis.
It was also a year which exposed many marketing-based businesses (design, web, PR, whatever) as completely lacking in having a full grasp of how to add real value to their client’s P&L in our new digital world, with others showing the way with a clear and bright light. For example, I started working with an excellent design and IT business based in Thurso, Northern Scotland (yes, a place you might have thought was all nuclear reactors and sheep), whereas I had to endure the slowness, slight arrogance and relative incompetence of an IT business based in the East Midlands (so 550 miles closer to the big metropolis) for a client reluctant to drop them.
And finally, and driven by a wealth of negative stuff written about them on the web and on the same subject that gets my back up, I’d hoped that the buying public would wake up to the fact that the nonsense DFS tell us about double discounts, interest free credit, a decade to start paying the interest free credit, another decade in which to pay the interest free credit, was, well, nonsense (to put it politely). But it seems I’ll have to wait another year for this because, like my old dad, the gullible few who take this all in are yet to go online. So for December 2011’s comment, let’s hope I can wax lyrical about the new and honest DFS TV commercials. Speaking of which, aren’t ‘TV commercials’ conventional marketing even watched on a 72 inch 3D digital TV?
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