I don’t view what digital marketers do as sitting on Twitter or Facebook – the same way that a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have considered what they do to be Myspace or MSN Messenger. The tools are just the means to an end – they allow digital marketers to reach the customers. Charlene Li put this brilliantly when describing the “Socialgraphics” methodology ‘Fish where the fish are’ . Social media is not some incredible new incomprehensible machine – it’s another tool for reaching customers. The way users interact is the big change and the way people gather their information has also changed (with massive effect) – the way those same people are communicated with has also changed accordingly which is the real challenge within the digital space.
The second misconception is that it’s just a case of talking to people. I won’t lie, there is a huge amount of communication involved in the digital sphere and it can really drive brands forward but with this two way approach there are also lessons to be taken from advertising (something which often gets written off for no other reason than perceived rivalry). One of the best ways of driving conversation is through the creation of awesome, well targeted content – something that advertisers have always done well. The difference is that my role in this digital sphere is to try and keep people talking about this cool, awesome content to their friends (and making sure that the content is targeted correctly in the first place) and also being there to answer any questions they may have as to why this content or product exists in the first place.
I suppose that the main achievement of the new digital tools is the way they have become integrated into people’s day to day lives – this same integration is what leads to the largest amount of misconceptions – people don’t understand how it can be utilised to achieve goals that were once solidly based in a form of media that they had no control over whatsoever.