Have you ever heard that old joke, what do Chinese people call Chinese Food? The answer is they call it “food.” In other words, digital marketing will be “gone” from our lexicon because we will just refer to it as “marketing” since it will dwarf all other efforts.
The channel will disappear from the conversation as our marketing integrates seamlessly across every possible online touch point for our brand. Rather than this creating a renaissance of empowered entrepreneurs taking charge of their own marketing, the opposite will occur. There is an illusion of DIY across these platforms, but it is similar to the laws being printed in legal books. We can all research the laws in these books, but it would be dangerous for non-trained individuals to think they can read the laws and then go head to head with professionally trained lawyers.
The lawyer metaphor is actually very apt since an integrated digital marketing strategy has hundreds of parameters to get right and is integrated into complex ways to every other platform and method. The typical business owner only focuses on they have heard of or what they might have only a rudimentary understanding.
There are so many factors that impact a digital campaign that any business owner considering running it per se or finding the cheapest vendor or a friend or relative, is seriously endangering their business. There is a well-studied mistake made by business owners. When money gets tight the first they usually cut is the marketing and sales budget. They operate under the illusion that somehow customers are purchasing because they look till they find the best. Therefore, the marketing and advertising dollars are something they spend on during the good times, like a celebration, instead of what it actually is, which is the lifeblood of any business.
It is no mystery; there are two trends right in our face that predict this future and the importance of digital marketing experts to guide efforts in that realm.
First, it is not the 90’s, and a nobody has to be told that the world-wide-web will be really important someday. With the collapse of traditional media distribution on TV and print, the shift to digital is an inevitable juggernaut.
Second, online competition is not decreasing. Just like the Darwinian concept of evolution, the survival of any business depends on marketing and rising above the noise in the increasingly crowded marketplace. The means that online marketing will continue to require increasingly creative and complex solutions that give a business a competitive advantage. Just like the legal world, the online world will require extensive training and understanding for business survival. Of course, there will always be a robust market for the online DIYer to spend their money on the myth that it is a “mom and pop” level playing field in the online marketing world.
There is a quote about the Alaskan gold rush. The people who got rich were not the prospectors; it was the people selling the shovels and wheelbarrows. Only now they are being sold PPC, social media and analytics platforms.