5
July
2007

Digital marketing – forget about it 15:13 on Thursday

I hate the term digital marketing. Wikipedia defines digital marketing like this:

Containing some, but not all, of the techniques that fall under the category of Internet Marketing, digital marketing encompasses all aspects of modern life that include a digital component. These can, and often do, include items such as mobile phones, sms/mms, email,rss, podcasting, Instant Messaging, web sites, banner ads, iptv, digital outdoor and others.

Guess what: Your washing machine is an aspect of modern life and includes a digital component. So do traffic lights. Ditto for your electric toothbrush with useful blinking lights. And the motor that propels your oversized SUV over curbs and other minor obstacles, making you feel like the extra you paid for the theoretical off-road maneuverability was justified.

Do we refer to these as digital washing machines, digital toothbrushes, digital traffic lights, or do we talk about cars with digital motors? Of course not. Because digital is not the point.

You can put out a digital billboard, which eats a CD-ROM and displays ads burned on the disc. Definitely digital, but really not much different from paper billboards.

My take is, that’s because the real aspect “digital marketing” gurus should be interested in is connectivity and to a lesser extent (user) interactivity. It just happens digital technology is the easy way to create connected and interactive things. I’m sure there are electronics gurus out there ready to make a completely analog, non-digital, interactive and connected device just to prove a point.

That’s why I hate digital marketing. The term doesn’t point to the important and interesting aspects of what it’s supposed to mean. Maybe it’s just me. And with 1.7 million Google results for digital-marketing, it’s too late to fix the term anyway.

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