Dissecting the definition of digital

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I tend to take a pretty simplistic view of communications – I don’t really care how things are categorised as long as they are done well.

A couple weeks back I attempted to define the roles and responsibilities of a digital strategist.

Since then, I’ve been involved in several discussions about what ‘digital’ means.

The way it is defined is often determined by your background and / or specific slant.

Today, I’m going to have a crack at creating a universal definition that might help settle an argument or two.

‘Pull’ Versus ‘Push’ Digital Marketing

According to the Wikipedia definition, two forms of digital marketing exist.

“Pull digital marketing in which the consumer must actively seek the marketing content, often via web searches, and push digital marketing where the marketer sends the content to the consumer, as in email”.

The big spanner in the works in recent times has been the explosion of social media and the ease in which self-published content can reach the masses.
It has been a huge factor in blurring the lines between the specific marketing disciplines forever.
But we know this.
The big question is how do we get navigate this period of uncertainty, both for the sake of clients but also the people working through these challenges in agency land.

What? Make it clearer, damn it! 

I found a nice graphic (left) which visualises the world of online marketing and a good place to re-reference the breadth of digital.

I particularly like the split between disciplines (PR, email marketing, online advertising etc) and the DNA of digital (development, design, research, strategy, branding and content).

This split really got me thinking, is it misleading (and consequently confusing) to use a term like ‘digital’ in isolation?

Do we need to be more strict, more descriptive but somehow more succinct too?

Perhaps we do…

Dissecting digital 

This is where I eventually got to after dissecting the core parts of the digital pie.

Each relies on the desire of the online participant to consume and interact with digital assets.
And, this is where the fun (often pain) starts.

Who does what?

Well, the answer is actually quite simple, it’s not the ‘who’ we should be focusing on but the ‘how’.

How do you get these three things working in unison to achieve the best results?

But before we can solve the ‘how’ problem, we need to define the ‘who’ to a point where we collectively ‘get it’.

A new definition?

This is my suggestion.

Let’s make things a bit easier for people to understand by specifying the area of ‘digital’ you work in as broken down by these three areas – development, placement and engagement.

This may gloss over the intricacies of the digital world, but perhaps that’s a good thing.

Each of these areas requires a specific skill set and each MUST work together in order to make the impact expected of clients.

So, which of the three areas do you work in?

Does this make the division of labour an easier proposition to deal with?

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