I’ve had the opportunity to participate in various international seminars and workshops on online marketing held in Chile, Argentina and Mexico, where I noticed the inevitable evolution of this topic. Several years ago, the discussion began with a fierce advocacy of the Internet’s value as a communication and marketing tool capable of momentarily capturing consumer interest. Over the course of the past decade, this idea has evolved and the Internet is now viewed as a veritable powerhouse whose reach has grown even further, thanks to the recent emergence of social networks— which in a matter of months have overshadowed the industry’s interest in the so-called Web 2.0 and its successors.
This is where I want to put emphasis on this nascent industry. There are many today who have given too much importance to the social networking phenomenon. It’s true that social networking provides an invaluable way to learn about our consumers, and the topic is worthy of much separate discussion. Yet any good industry observer has to see the trends for what they are. My goal is not to tear apart the success of this phenomenon, but rather point out that they don’t represent ? in any case ? the future of the Internet.
Inherent in human beings is not the ability to speak, but to create a language. Therefore, we will always keep in touch and look for ways to do it. So, social networks are just the logical evolution of a natural and yes, genetically-wired, task for humans.
My invitation to all is to think more about technology, without necessarily having to be an expert on the subject. Nowadays, we can connect to Twitter and Facebook via mobile. We watch television on the Internet and can also access the web digitally from our TV sets. Ditto for radio.
This means that the web as we know it has become nothing more than a platform. Of course, it lets us do a series of things, but we must take it for what it is today: the largest communications technology platform of its kind.
Therefore, it is important to rethink the digital world not as the Internet per se, but as a new way to communicate and understand our reality.
Our brands inevitably populate the digital world, whether some of us want it or not. Today, our brands’ most desirable attributes have become part of digital conversations— where they are criticized, defended, shared, magnified, passed on by word of mouth, from wall to wall, and on websites. As a result, there is no brand out there today that is not currently in the digital world. Therefore, what matters now is how marketing executives will lead their brand destinies in this digitalized world without mistakenly thinking that it’s only the Internet.
In conclusion, we should not wait to see where the digital world will end up because it can cost us more than we think. If your company is still making excuses for not being in the digital world, this means the time has come to change advertising agencies or marketing directors.
Carlos González García is an advertising Professional. He has a Technology degree in the Universidad Católica de Chile. He is currently Head of Office & Regional Planning Director at Activ@mente, Chile. Carlos has worked for Northcote Ogilvy & Mather y J. Walter Thompson. He also has worked for Neo@Ogilvy Chile as Manager Digital Media and GlobalMind Chile as Country Manager.