Digital Is No Longer The Future. It’s The Now.


“The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead.”

Marc Pritchard – Director of global brand building at proctor & Gamble expresses that digital marketing is no longer a separate entity. Instead, it has become integrated into the building blocks of the marketing process.

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation on digital marketing at the University of East Anglia. I geared my talk around one key understanding – how Traditional marketing and digital marketing have become one with each other.

So what exactly is the fundamental nature of digital? Digital is measurability.

Henry Ford is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Ford single handedly built one of the worlds greatest motor corporations, growing an industry that stretches globally with a multitude of assets now valued at around 200 billion. Ford once said; “Half of advertising is a waste of money, we just don’t know which half”. – Like traditional business, this quote has now become outdated. As a millennial, I was fortunate enough to be immersed in digital from my early teens. Now a digital practitioner, I understand that the beauty of digital is that everything can be measured. It can be analyzed, re-practiced, compared and most importantly, improved.

This is what we do on a day-to-day basis, At L’Oreal; I am able to compare work 3 months ago with a campaign launched 3 days ago. This year, I am responsible for both Lancôme and Giorgio Armani’s digital execution of Christmas across the UK. I plan on building a thorough analysis of revenue and interaction statistics from all emailing campaigns sent out over Christmas 2014 to set myself benchmarks. I will then execute my plan for Christmas 2015, carry out the same analysis and potentially steer the future of digital marketing in a different direction.

In essence, we are now able to identify which half of marketing is a waste of time, abolish that half and strategically replace it. Fantastique! But how exactly do we do that. Well, this is where data becomes a key component, digital and data go hand in hand. Every two days we create as much data as we did from the beginning of time to 2003. Yes, hard to believe I know. Throughout high school, I would hear my teachers rambling about the inevitable, how ‘marketing is becoming a numbers game’, little did I know, this was the birth of marketing’s 5th ‘P’, digital came creeping in.

When we talk data, we tend to split data types into two data types – categorical and numerical. However, in the modern day, data doesn’t have to be this technical; the only data that you use when working for a consumer oriented business is the single type that is relevant to making more money or brand equity.

I do not work with big data; I do not know how to algorithmically expose true data from its uncharacterized origin. I like to understand the fundamentals; however the data that I use when building customer relationships is characterised. The nature of our work in the 21st century is that characterised data is not necessarily read like words on a page, it is still stored in mass and therefore we need to know how to segment it accurately, something many companies fail at.

Now taking that under your belt, let’s explore how data is used in digital marketing – Imagine you own a coffee shop with a website. You have managed to build a database of 3,000 people that includes a variation of customers, most of which do not actually buy your coffee. This database contains email addresses, recorded on an Ipad at a point of sale or on a website sign up page. This is known as customer relationship management (CRM). The coffee shop can then use this customer data, breaking it down into smaller segments to target similar characteristics and send a personalised message that is relevant to the consumer. This is an easy example of how data can be used to increase business output.

Is the concept of building a customer relationship new? No. We have been able to record this data for decades; Business folk could probably find the earliest forms of CRM on a caveman’s wall if they were creative enough! The only thing that’s changed is how easily we are able to build a relationship now on a mass level. The concept of data driven CRM is easy; it’s the theory of understanding your customer so that you can effectively interact with them. We as the future are supercharging data, we are stretching its capabilities and we are continually wanting more from it.

Digital marketing is no longer the future, it’s the now. We work with data, we build customer relationships, we analyse the process, remove, re-evaluate, improve and do it all over again.

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