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  • Raphael O'Donoghue

Marketing in a digital world. The view from my shed!

In BBC’s Fast Show, the character Jesse emerged sporadically from his shed to inform a waiting world, with the words, 'This week I 'ave mostly been eating...' Well this week I stumbled (in my shed) upon an article from 2010 predicting the top digital trends for that year. These included the brave assertions that Facebook would replace email, and Flash would dominate the online world! Bold assertions indeed, that did not come to pass. A bit like using a magic 8 ball to decide your fate, predicting the future is a risky business. This got me thinking, should I make some predictions for the future digital landscape? Before bursting forth however, I reminded myself of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who suggested that the only constant in life is change. We can see change throughout our digital world, from phones and tablets to wearable technology and networked domestic appliances (It was the fridge what done it). Across the media spectrum, the lines between paid, owned and earned are blurred by the disruptive effect of technology. We are bombarded by new concepts like growth hacking, agile marketing, and now big data. One notable blogger has recently suggested that marketing itself is dead! Clearly I may have missed that funeral, and before you hand over your Twitter account to the water cooler (the Tweets would be fun at least), it may be useful to remind us some core marketing tenets which include: first, to understand your clients and their needs. Second to build an organisation that can deliver (preferably exceed) expectations for the client at every step, and third is to communicate to clients in a way they want. If you are not doing these 3 things, you are not marketing, and maybe you ought to be asking some more fundamental questions! Far from being dead, marketing is probably now more important and core to a firm’s success than ever before. Digital tools can now allow even the smallest firm to deliver more creative and innovative brand experiences in the eyes of clients. Marketing in the professions however is only now beginning to catch up on the rest of the world of business, with its embrace of social and digital platforms. We have come along way from being the crayons department. The skill set and technological competences of a modern marketer are immense, and in a world where fast often beats big, the landscape for the future is certainly going to be challenging. However as Robert Frost summed up all he learnt about life in three words – ‘It goes on’, and maybe one prediction I could make is that we may see less focus on the tools of digital, and a greater emphasis on marketing in a digital world. Now back to my shed…

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