The days of the Digital Strategist are numbered.
As we enter the post-digital marketing era, the one we call Digital Strategist will need to become both more of a generalist and more of a specialist; a professional capable of leading overall marketing strategy planning while contributing to a digital sub-set.
(And don’t worry about the Digital Strategist. If there’s anything the marketing industry is good at, it’s creating new job titles. I’m looking at you, Data Ninja.)
Digital marketing should no longer be something that sits on its own, in a silo. Almost everything we do in retail marketing is digital to a certain degree. We are very close to the point where digital marketing is just marketing. And that means a lot of fresh challenges, as well as opportunities, for our ex-Digital Strategist.
But we’re not quite there yet. We will not be post-digital until we shift our mindset from what something is to what that something can do.
It’s not unusual to think one understands the power of a new technology when, in reality, its true impact is unknown (or even unimagined). We thought the beauty of the MP3 file was the ability to store more music, when in hindsight it was about streaming any piece of music ever made. We thought the wonder of the mobile phone was making phone calls anywhere, when in fact its life-changing impact would be that it could be used as a hand-held conduit to the internet.
We did the same thing at the advent of electricity, says Tom Goodwin. Electricity didn’t change businesses overnight.
For the first decades, factory owners, armed with the new and wondrous power of electricity, didn’t change their processes much at all. The trains now ran by electrical motor, and electric lighting brightened up the factories, but not much else.
It was 20 years later that truly meaningful forward strides were made. It finally dawned on factory owners that machines could be arranged in new ways, making stuff in more efficient flows, with fewer workers. It eventually became clear that what electricity changed was – everything. When electricity was applied at the core of the business, industrialists realized that electricity could do much more than add to the efficiency of the factory; it could transform it.
Today, we don’t speak about electrical companies; that sounds archaic. But we still refer to some organizations as digital companies. That should sound archaic to us as well.
As we inch closer to a post-digital era, marketers and advertisers must change their definition of “business as usual,” and, like the factory owners before them, realize that the new thing – in this case digital – is not the end, but the change agent. Digital enhanced our business. Post-digital is transforming it.
That’s because in a post-digital marketing world, the focus is not on how the interaction reaches the customer, but on the soul of the interaction itself and the feelings it invokes. We call it the Shopper Moment – an encounter that transcends a flat experience by embracing a post-digital mindset and puts message before medium.
The Shopper Moment is an enhanced, satisfying interaction between the brand and a customer. It is what the shopper has come to demand in this “always-on,” “always connected” retail world. Marketers who focus on the “how” of Moment making will lose out to those who see the bigger canvas that the pre-digital era provides us.
The post-digital marketing rule is simple: people first, story second, technology third.