The Three Pillars of Digital Marketing Part Two

The Three Pillars of Digital Marketing Part Two

Part Two of my address at the 2011 New York Ad:tech conference: Email and Mobile:

In the last session I referred to Email, Social Media, and Mobile marketing as the 3 pillars of digital marketing on which the future of digital marketing will rest. In today’s digital marketing environment all three of these legs are necessary to create a vibrant, successful platform exposing goods and services to an almost ubiquitous audience of online consumers. Just as a stool cannot balance on two legs, all three of these every evolving, increasing overlapping marketing channelsv are required to drive maximum sales in a global environment.  

Last week a winter storm in the Northeast resulted in 100,000 people in my region losing power. For some, Power was out for the entire week. During that time my Iphone became my lifeline to the world. In a world without Wifi, my cellular service kept me connected to friends and family, allowed me to check my email, even edit my website and keep my business running: in other words, it allowed me to continue my life, albeit on a much smaller screen and much less handy keyboard. 

AT this stage, I don’t think it is necessary to fill up a powerpoint slide showing you the adoption of smartphones or show a chart detailing the rise of email "triage" (to use analyst David Daniels term) for you to be convinced of the ubiquity of mobile in our lives: You know and I know that the mobile revolution has happened. We live this reality every day. In this room alone, how much business is going right now through your mobile devices? How many emails, tweets, facebook posts are being dispatched right now in this room? Hundreds, maybe thousands with 10’s of thousands of connections and friends reflecting out those messages though “retweets”, “likes”, forwards, and shares. At this moment I have no doubt, you and the people around you are generating a tsunami of sound bites of this very speech to a world wide audience. 

Our mobile device is an extension of ourselves and regardless of our hobbies, interests,  either personal or business related, there is an "app for that" and it is changing our lives in ways we are only just beginning to realize. We are creating cyber bubbles around ourselves where our relationships are more and more being pulled online. Even meeting someone in a social situation has become nearly impossible as people no longer even look up from their cell phones. How many of you have close colleagues, the details of whose lives you know more intimately than members of a family knew each other in a former time and yet whom you may have never met in real life.

Within these three pillars which represent the future of digital marketing, there are undeniable synergies. For instance, Social Media provides the ways and means to grow an effective email marketing list. But with mobile, the relation is more akin to Siamese twins, with email and mobile joined at the hip. No email marketer worth his salt can ignore the realty that their well crafted and designed email campaign is most likely going to be viewed and the miniaturized screen of the smart phone. 

And while there are mobile only forms of advertising, specifically SMS messaging, the clear and an unambiguous message of today is that the desktop experience is now portable. 

Services such as Foursquare and Spotify broadcast an endless stream of our brand preferences. We are all now digital beacons generating a marketing event with every brand, service and establishment we come in contact with. Marketers no longer “tell us” what we should like, consumers continually echo back their brand experiences and preferences, instructing the marketers and brands on how they wish to be treated and what services they wish to buy.  Marketers no longer generate the dialog but must react to a "mise en scene" of consumer generated brand reaction. The Quikster of today is tomorrow’s stock plunge with consumers reacting in real time to an event that in past years would take months if not years to roll out. 

And Apps like Aisle411 will create the inevitable power to transform the brick and mortar experience by directing us to the very location in the physical footprint of a retail store, by passing and dismantling the decades old art of merchandizing. Our brick and mortor  retail experience is being mapped out by forces disconnected from the store’s own merchandising experts. The apps direct us where to go and what to buy.

Today when we walk into a Best Buy, we carry with us the power to research and crowd source our purchases in real time. With mobile applications driving purchase decision and even mapping out the location on the actual store shelves where the best products are located, there is no need for store clerks and inhouse displays. The science of retailing and merchandising goes the way of alchemy texts when our physical instore purchase behavior is driven by digital means. 

In order to meet this challenge the role of the email marketer must expand beyond a batch and blast mentality and they will become the means not just to drive sales within the digital storefront of online but will take on the role once played by the merchandiser, driving sales right up to the point of sale. We are entering a stage where all consumers take part in the marketing mix, where the separation of marketing and our social everyday actions and reactions becomes indistinct. Marketing is no longer a bill board on the highway of life, but air we breath.   

Mobile, email, and social media marketing are the means by which the future of purchase behavior will be driven. And tomorrow’s marketer will need to rise to the technical challenges that are required or face extinction. Madison Ave meets Silicon Valley and it will be the marketers job not to just inform the buying public, but to be the reflection, echoing back the 24/7 consumer dialog back to the C-suite and the product development team. 

As much as we like to think of ourselves like Steve Jobs who said it is not the consumer’s job to know what they want, the reality is that mentality is an old paradigm and does not reflect what is happening even within the last 6 months. If the Quikster debacle taught us anything, it is that consumers know exactly what they want and you go against their wishes at your peril and email, social media, and mobile marketing are the conduit that this ongoing conversation is taking place. As marketers you need to become integrated, the silos need to fall, the technical challenges must be mastered, a new type of marketer is emerging, one with the marketing sense of madison ave and the technical sense of silicon valley engineer. Welcome to the new world of marketing and advertising.