Having been in the trenches of the digital industry for a few years now, I’m starting to note that my optimism has begun to slow a bit. Based on general industry observations and recent conversations I’ve been having the feeling that the industry has begun to slow down has started to fall on me. As a specialty that often touts itself as game changing and disruptive I feel we haven’t been pushing enough of those boundaries lately.
Time To Demand Better!
Recently Facebook insights was down for nearly a week and this was the second time this year alone that this has happened. The biggest shocker for me has been that this didn’t make news at all and no one really spoke out about it. Instead everyone went on their way and hoped that Facebook would get to eventually fixing this problem. When we are looking to provide data and insights to our clients how is this acceptable?
From what I’ve observed, social networks and tool suppliers haven’t been doing a lot to really push the envelope. We haven’t gotten any closer to understanding our fans. We don’t have a better understanding of what our initiatives deliver. More often instead I feel we are left with ambiguity. The reason this isn’t changing is because we aren’t making it clear about what we want. As an industry we haven’t been putting any pressure on our suppliers who are instead themselves setting the agenda.
Demanding Better Of Ourselves!
As practitioners I feel we could push the envelope more as well. The race for fans still continues and we have yet to come to the determination of when we don’t need any more fans! In terms of engagement we understand how people engage but we aren’t delving much deeper into why. To build better results we are asking people that follow us to “Like” or “Share” but we aren’t developing any better understanding of whether messaging resonates with our fan base or even if who we are advertising to are really the right people at all.
Looking Outside The Walls:
My feeling is that a lot of the time as individual firms we are looking to build our own buzz and aren’t bringing anything useful back to the industry. When I read the latest article from Ad Age or Mashable I’m rarely excited or blown away by a firm’s latest research report. Truthfully I’ve been more excited by what’s come out of the realms of academia and development.
When I’m reading academic journal articles such as “Consumer’s decision to shop online: The moderating role of positive informational social influence” or “Consumer Tribes: membership, consumption and building loyalty” that’s when I sit back and think ‘Wow that’s one more piece of understanding I have about how people work!”. With more resources and less hurdles to go through I don’t understand why we aren’t able to continually deliver ground breaking consumer research.
Time for Personal Reflection:
A potential problem with writing a post like this is that just about anyone can yell out “hypocrite!” and ask what I’m contributing. What I would have to say is that in the early part of this year I’ve been looking at ways at expanding my skill set and strengthening the work I do. This year I don’t plan to read any of the countless social media books that have come out. Instead my goal has been to read more on topics outside the industry such as branding and research. Something I’ve also been spending a lot of time on lately is work in the social listening realm. I’ve been more active in asking questions on how things operate on the tool side and on developing stronger methodologies internally.
So this is my rant and a bit of a call to arms for digital marketing practitioners of all stripes. We’ve promised that what we do is ground breaking and innovative, let’s make sure that this is what we actually deliver!