| October 07, 2013
Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global brand building officer, proclaimed digital dead at Dmexco and urged marketers to look beyond the pipes and plumbing of digital and social media to what really matters: engaging people with creative campaigns.
In his speech, Pritchard suggested that marketers need to:
Try and resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR codes and all of the technology coming next.
Instead, he suggested:
... the future lay in building brands with campaigns that matter, make people think, feel and laugh. We have the chance to do all of those things now in a way that is so much more exciting than we did before.
Pritchard is correct to suggest that digital is dead. These days the division between digital and traditional exists only in the minds of marketers and engineers. Consumers simply see digital as part of their day-to-day lives.
Over 2 billion people now access the Internet worldwide, about one third of the global population. Facebook reaches one seventh of the world’s population. And in a few years’ time, smartphones will ensure that the reach of both is even greater. But the people that use these tools do so in conjunction with all the other aspects of their lives: relaxing, shopping and exploring. So a brand that is encountered online is no less a real world encounter than when it is seen in a store.
Pritchard alludes to another good reason to declare digital dead. The current fixation with pipes and plumbing has led to a back to front focus on how to do things rather than what the brand needs to achieve.
If you have read any of my other blog posts on the use of digital media, my big concern has been that the technology has trumped taking a consumer-centric view of the world. But it also seems to have trumped taking a more strategic view of brand management. What the brand needs to achieve needs to come first, and then we need to ensure that the means fits with how consumers relate to brands and advertising across the different channels we use.
Of course, Millward Brown is as guilty of making artificial distinctions as any marketer. What do we call our Dynamic Logic and Compete media effectiveness and intelligence tools these days? Millward Brown Digital. Ho hum.
So what are your thoughts? Is digital dead as a separate discipline? Please share your thoughts.