Why I hate Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing is a term I’ve come to resent recently.

This is odd on a number of levels, the most obvious being that digital marketing is the primary source of my income and the career path I have chosen.

However, during the past three years of my full-time work in the space; the term has become diluted, and every marketing mind at any given agency claims to be an expert or strategist within the space. I have two problems with this:

  1. Clients aren’t receiving the true value they deserve from digital media “experts.”
  2. “Digital” is an adjective. Communicating with people has always been the reason behind marketing and the audience to which marketers speak. The medium should remain a secondary concern when dealing with a client’s communication problems (digital or analog).

Gene DeLibero is someone I consider a genius in the industry, a personal mentor who I was blessed to work with for a short time, and a professor at NYU to boot. Gene talks in this blog post about what an effective digital marketing strategist does for his/her client,

“Digital strategists are the people that lead the problem solving charge and help connect the dots between business, brand, and marketing goals and the channels, tactics and technologies that’ll make it all come together to provide actionable results.” 

He goes on:

“The digital strategists who’ll be most successful going forward have a robust generalist’s understanding of traditional and digital marketing and some knowledge of how businesses work. They need to have a solid foundation of what a digital product or service is, how the company would get paid, and everything in between.” 

That’s what it’s all about. The role of the Digital Strategist is a problem solver and the architect of business solutions. Marketing strategy (digital or otherwise) must be a game plan that maps a path to produce real revenue in a measurable and timely manner for the client. Most of all, marketing must connect with people.

So, let’s look long and hard at the solutions we’re suggesting to our clients. Let’s think broad and confirm the ideas we present are truly problem solvers. Let’s take digital marketing back to what it was originally meant to be: innovating with all available tools and inventing the future.

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