Are We Post-Digital Yet?
Some “posts” confuse me.
Not blog posts. Though some readers may think differently.
I’m referring to the prefix “post.” As in ”postmodern,” which can mean after modernism, contra-modernism, or artistic and stylistic eclecticism, also known as aesthetic postmodernism. I’m not quite sure I totally get the concept. (I have the same problem with fiction being not factual, and non-fiction being true.)
I do clearly understand one “post”: post-digital, specifically post-digital marketing. This is because I have industry perspective. I was a PR and adman back when Twitter was what a bird did and big data was a heavy phone book.
I have long believed that great marketing is all about the big idea. The delivery system – whether it’s a full-page ad in USA Today or a series of Tweets – should work in service of the idea and as a conduit to the target audience. It is a path. Not a destination.
Digital marketers – and there are still a few of them – consider the technology the big idea. They believe that only some shoppers are “tech-savvy,” that media is either “traditional or “new,” that there’s a distinction between the offline and online shopper, and that it’s sound strategy to separate brick-and-mortar stores from their online counterparts.
As long as that kind of thinking exists, we will remain unable to shift into the post-digital realm. Marketing will fully evolve when we consider digital as a tool to reinvent what we do as marketers, not an accessory to bolt on the side.
But I think we’re close. Speculative fiction novelist William Gibson might have been speaking about the advent of post-digital marketing when he said, “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” There are many enlightened brand communicators who truly understand that what we do must be holistic and silo-free. And there are others who do not. We are all at varying points along our journey to making real post-digital marketing happen.
We will have all arrived when “digital marketing” is simply “marketing.” When there is no one with the sole title of “Digital Strategist.” When agencies are defined not by the discipline they specialize in, but by the comprehensive solutions they provide. When we no longer name channels by the single-purpose devices we use to consume media: radios, TVs, computers. And when we contribute to overall marketing strategy planning rather than an exclusive digital sub-set.
Tom Goodwin of Zenith Media USA sums it up beautifully. “We need to consider digital as the background to life and technology as oxygen. When we get there, then we will be in the post-digital age.
Next time: A look at making Shopper Moments in a Post-Digital marketing world.