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Digital marketing is slowly becoming a thing of the past

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    Digital marketing is slowly becoming a thing of the past

    Digital marketing is slowly becoming a thing of the past and this is good news for us digital guys. 

    By Francois du Preez | July 13, 2015

    Digital marketing is slowly becoming a thing of the past and this is good news for us digital guys.  For far too long have we sat in the shadows, waiting for the tail end of the brief to reach us so we can tick the necessary boxes and ensure the above the line idea is rolled out digitally.

    Before I carry on, allow me to clarify the very “click baity” headline and opening paragraph: “Digital Marketing” is not disappearing, it is slowly but surely just becoming “marketing”.  I can’t speak for other agencies but at Grey jhb the lines have become extremely blurred. My role as CD of digital was very clearly defined when I joined – I was to handle all things digital. Now I find myself presenting work to our clients where there might only be a 10% digital component in some cases, and I’m not just presenting the digital portion. This is because we focus on the idea, not the media. If the idea is good the media choice will naturally follow – a brief that started as a digital project will quite often end up with the PR department, a print campaign will go digital and a PR brief will end up as a TV ad. We like to keep the media out of it until we have a firm grip on the big idea, or the *long idea as we like to call it.

    Now this is the part where I have to regurgitate the ubiquitous term “Truly Integrated” like I have in so many presentations before. As much as I would love to avoid this over-used pitch jargon I am afraid I can’t. It finally feels like integration means something, whereas in the past it was just a way to say we have various, specialist departments. Having all the skills under one roof says nothing about integration, especially if the old, linear model is applied where a brief comes in with predefined media, makes its way through the studio, and ends up in the digital and PR departments as an after thought: “This is what our creative team came up with. What can you add?”

    Last week I found myself in an amazing situation where our idea was so good, the client started coming up with various executions in our pitch. They started brainstorming with us because they immediately got it. The campaign wasn’t presented using the typical media examples, it was demonstrated to the point where they got it and left wide open. This is because it could be & there was no need to over-sell it. The idea had legs. It was a *long idea.

    As someone who spent the better part of ten years working on strictly digital briefs, waiting for my turn at the end of the pitch to demonstrate the latest technology, this was extremely refreshing and inspiring. This particular campaign might never even go digital, it might end up being a purely PR solution, but this was our baby and we were damn proud of it.  The team that worked on this represented all our departments and came together to build an idea that was truly integrated, not just “truly integrated”. At no point did I even have to touch on the various, latest media options based on brand new technology. It’s no longer needed.

    I find that South Africa has finally reached a point of digital maturity that makes it possible for us digital guys to join the party. Now we’ll also get to go to the glamorous shoots, brief set builders and give our two cents worth in casting sessions. My role is becoming less defined and I love it. Digital marketing will pretty soon just be called “marketing”.

    * Big Ideas come and go. By comparison, Long Ideas start earlier and live longer. Long Ideas travel further across media, companies, people and culture. They are ideas that are entertaining, interesting or useful enough to get shared. They are ideas that involve people, give people something to talk about or do and the means to do it.

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