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I’ve stopped talking digital

10 October, 2016 Reading: 2:37 mins
Sarah Reakes

By Sarah

Sarah talks about moving beyond digital marketing.

I’ve stopped talking digital

As a marketer who cut her teeth on TV and print advertising I have talked about digital marketing incessantly for the last five years. I have done this to force myself into the digital world and out of the safe and relatively simple offline world I cut my marketing teeth on. I think it has worked, it forced me to confront what felt like an overwhelmingly complex world, to engage with new platforms, to use Periscope and Snapchat and to delve into the mystical world that is Google analytics.

In order to talk ourselves into the transformation that the evolution of communications has required we, as marketers, have separated all things digital and online from all things offline. Now, after creating this divide we need to integrate the way we talk about it into the wider marketing and communications narrative.

No longer can we afford to talk ‘digital marketing’. Marketing is marketing whether it be on or offline and digital is not a separate discipline. A good marketer needs to traverse the entire gamut of communications in the same way that the consumers they are engaging with do.

‘I read it in The Guardian’, ‘I bought it from Topshop’, ‘I ordered a pizza’ – no one cares or notices whether you did this on or offline. The customer journeys we intercept today weave in and out of the on and offline and as a consumer we do not take note as we did 10 years ago.

Marketing agencies, and indeed our clients, still need to adjust to this shift in the consumer world. When we talk digital marketing we do ourselves and our clients a disservice. In order to develop an effective campaign these days the campaign will interweave the on and offline experience in order to build a relationship which reflects consumer touchpoints.

Mine has not always been an easy transformation. The final hurdle for me was coming to terms with the way the other D word (data) is now being bandied about. Data, however, offers so many possibilities and having this at our finger tips is thrilling. Sending out an email communication and being able to instantly see which parts of that email resonated and engaged is incredibly powerful.

So I hold up my hands and admit that I resisted. I think I am a pretty adaptable person. I have lived in 5 countries and embraced different cultures but the digital transformation in marketing confronted me. I had to talk myself into it – a little bit ‘fake it til you make it’ to get me started but now I can’t get enough of it and see the opportunities everywhere.

This week myself and Adam Andrews the Head of Digital (he needs a new title!) at KISS are off to talk at the European summit of the PROI to talk about (digital) innovation and it makes me realise how far I have come since I developed my first marketing campaign for Hob-nobs back in the early 90’s.

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