How does a Marketing Professional (or any media professional) bridge the gap between the traditional marketing channels to where we're at now?
There is an opportunity now for marketing and media professionals to cross the digital divide. To better understand the many changes that have come into our industry because of the Internet, mobile and now, touch. For many they're being forced to do so while others continue to "stay the course." That being said, I also see many professional in the Digital Marketing space not truly embracing the power and opportunity that is now in front of our faces. They fall back on trying to use traditional tactics in the digital world (with varying degrees of success). On a personal note, I cant remember how the transition from a more traditional marketer to a digital marketer took place. I can say that when I first connected to others through both BBS systems and then the first Web browser, it was an epiphany that this new-found interconnectedness would change everything. And, it has.
Here are 6 ways to become more digital:
- Learn it. Education used to be expensive. It isn't for Digital Marketing. Every day thousands of people are sharing what they think about this space. If you don't know where to begin, try any one of the top Marketing Blogs over at the Advertising Age Power 150 list. You can also check out the type of people I follow on Twitter. There are many smart Podcasts that regularly attack the topic of Digital Marketing (The Beancast, Marketing Over Coffee,Jaffe Juice and For Immediate Release immediately come to mind) and they're all free. Just head over to iTunes, go to the Podcast section and look for the marketing Podcasts (audio and video).
- Read more. It's not just about reading Blogs and following people on Twitter. Get in the habit of reading... often... all of the time (more on that here: The Most Important Thing You Can Do...).There are lots of brilliant business books by people like Don Tapscott, Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Joseph Jaffe, Avinash Kaushik, Bryan Eisenberg, David Weinberger, and many others that can get you started. It's amazing to think that for well under two hundred dollars you can buy the most cutting-edge thinking. Most of these books offer the kind of content that they don't teach in university.
- Create more. One of the things that makes Digital Marketing so fascinating is the ability for anybody and everybody to create content as well (in text, audio, images and video). It's critical that you spend some of your time formulating your thoughts and publishing them online. It's not about creating an online resume or becoming famous. It's about critical thinking and gaining a better understanding of what it means to make your thoughts shareable and findable. The act of creating in these channels will give you a better understanding of how these channels connect.
- Love it. Passion is an over-used term. But, it also happens to be the right term. You have to love this stuff. I can't imagine doing anything else. I get hundred of email newsletters, Google Alerts, Blog posting and tweets about all things Digital Marketing and New Media. When do I find the time to consume all of it? I don't. But I try to get the highlights and dig in deeper when I can. Right now, there was a choice in front of me: chill out and watch some TV or chill out and play with some thoughts about the Digital Marketing space. It's a no-brainer for me. I love what I do so much that this is my leisure (and pleasure). I get more pleasure writing these Blog posts than the things that the majority of people do to forget about the day they just had.
- Live it. I am reminded of something that Avinash Kaushik (the analytics evangelist at Google and author of Web Analytics - An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0) said at last year's Canadian Marketing Association National Convention: "The Web has been around forever and yet it is not in the blood of the executives who staff the top echelons of companies. Make no mistake, they are smart, they are successful and they want to do better. But the Web is such a paradigm shift that if it is not in your blood it is very difficult to imagine its power and how to use it for good. How do you demand innovation and creativity and radical rethink if you can't imagine it?" You have to live it. It has to be in your blood.
- Practice it. Try things. Think about a Digital Marketing strategy... how does it connect to the other pieces of your branding and marketing strategy? What can you do today to make your consumer's experience better through these connected channels? As you dig deeper into Digital Marketing, you'll find many people talking up a good game. While what they say may be impressive, try to find the people who have their hands dirty. The ones who are neck deep in these channels and platforms are the true visionaries and people worth being connected to.