I ran across a great graphic the other day on Facebook. No, not the one of a wasted 50s housewife lamenting how stupid everyone is. This one was a statement scribbled in white letters on a black background that simply said:
“Good things come to those who wait. Or those who are willing to get up and get shit done.”
I immediately put that graphic on my desktop, and I look at it every morning. It’s a good reminder that the world can move or not based on how willing we are to get moving.
This got me thinking about what I do for a living – digital marketing. At our company we squeeze a lot of things into this gigantic category: design, strategy, research, writing, ideating, experimenting, socializing, technologicalizing (it’s a word). One of the things I love about my job is that it’s different every day. In the 15 years I’ve been working exclusively in digital in one capacity or another, I have never had two days in which I repeated the previous day exactly.
Why is this? Why is it that those of us who live in the digital bit stream are in a constant state of change, frenetically pouncing from one trend, technology, or idea to the next?
Because at the end of the day digital marketing is about getting shit done.
If you look at the way traditional media has tended to work, it is a long process in which creative is developed, media is purchased, post production is done, a campaign is launched, and in-store traffic is counted. All of this takes weeks of planning, executing, and reviewing in order to know if what you did made an impact or if it was an abysmal failure.
Don’t get me wrong. We have had our share of abysmal failures. The difference is when you launch something digital, the abysmal failure can be realized in near real time.
The good news is that you can make adjustments in real-time, too. Depending on who you ask, this is not a good thing. With that much power to instantly mess with things it can be dangerous and reactionary. But if done smartly, this approach to “launch and learn” can turn a very bad day into a very good one in a hurry.
Want proof? Here are three good examples:
1. Immediate changes can have immediate effect
Now more than ever we can see what’s working and what isn’t. Deep analytics suites can offer us increasing visibility into the movements of those consumers of ours: from mobile to social to in-store. Real time A/B testing can show us which pixels are turning the most cash. With all this deep data we can make instant decisions that push the dials. To do that we have to be agile, determined, and ready for anything at a moment’s notice.
2. The target is moving – fast.
A brief history of digital time:
- Facebook – Launched 2004
- YouTube – Launched 2005
- Twitter – Launched 2006
- First iPhone released – 2007
- First iPad released – 2010
- Newsweek’s last print issue ever – 2013
In less than a decade, digital innovation has quite literally altered the face of communication across the globe – and it’s picking up steam. There isn’t a moment to rest in the self-creating digital landscape. Entire companies who built their revenue model on Facebook’s 3-years-ago version of company pages folded when the Timeline approach to pages was introduced. To survive and thrive, we are constantly educating ourselves, actively looking ahead, and reading the landscape to make the next move. There’s no time or room for resting on laurels or getting comfortable with what we’ve created today. Tomorrow it just might be irrelevant.
3. Innovation is a prerequisite
Because of that pace and the pressure to be in front of the bullet train, we have to be innovative. We have to try new things, experiment, and push the envelope with what’s possible now and what might be possible later. This includes everything from user experience design to technology platforms to new ways to grab consumers’ attention away from kitten videos. It gets harder every day, but it’s also a deliriously exciting challenge that keeps us revved up.
Why should you care?
Digital isn’t a channel. It’s the new normal. You probably know this already, but if you’re in the business of offering things to people in exchange for money, you need to start living it, too. Look at how you’re using or not using digital and how your organization is structured. Look for opportunities to increase flexibility and response time. Get into your analytics and find someone to help you understand them. Seek out and engage a partner who lives and breaths digital, who can help you stay ahead and capitalize on every opportunity. And above all, be ready to roll up your sleeves and get shit done.
About GDD Interactive
GDD Interactive is a boutique digital design and marketing firm. Our unconventional but consistently effective approach to customer acquisition and loyalty through outstanding user experience design can be seen in practice across the interactive universe, digitizing brands and driving online revenue for the companies you know like Pep Boys, Conn’s, RadioShack, MetroPCS, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Home Advisor; national non-profits including The NAACP and National Geographic; as well as a select group of innovative emerging leaders.
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