“Everything is digital now,” said the marketing executive I was sitting down to have a coffee with during a break in last week’s Marcus Evans Marketing Summit, held on Australia’s Gold Coast. For me, digital is so central to the marketing world I inhabit, that I take its ubiquity for granted. But I noticed that for many of the audience of more than 60 marketers attending the event, especially those from the B2B sector, the experience was a real eye-opener.
What really stood out for me was that for some of the leaders in their sectors – such as Virgin Mobile and Qantas, digital was not thought of as a separate channel that required a specific budget. Rather, it was an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. One senior marketer from an iconic Australian brand said he could see major campaigns in the future comprising purely digital – perhaps even leaving out free to air TV from the mix.
With digital marketing fully bedded down into the marketing mix, not surprisingly mobile and social were the areas of interest at the event. Social played a role in every case study presentation – but there was certainly a divide between the consumer marketers who were fully engaged and the B2B marketers, for whom there was still clearly an air of cautiousness about ‘being on social’. But the ‘digital divide’ wasn’t as clear-cut as B2C versus B2B or large companies versus smaller organisations, or about the size of the budget
Marketing guru Iggy Pintado (@iggypintado) delivered a keynote on social, emphasizing that we need to be able to prove its business value beyond purely marketing KPIs – something that even the most sophisticated marketers are struggling with. Another interesting idea that was raised during the summit was from Justin Papps of Chandler Macleod, who has started using Facebook as a channel of payment to their employees.
I sat on a panel to talk about trends and directions in Mobile Marketing. An on-the-podium SWOT analysis done by the panel together with all the networking discussions confirmed in my mind what the reports say: there are more Strengths and Opportunities around digital marketing campaigns, including social, than there are Weaknesses and Threats. Indeed the biggest threat was simply being late to the party, and losing out to the competition.
Over coffee with my new marketing executive friend, we ran a simple search on Twitter. Sure enough, it proved his brand was in fact already ‘on social’. Just because his organization hadn’t started their social strategy, didn’t mean they were not already in the game. Digital marketing really is everywhere, the opportunities are terrific and the time to integrate is now.