Digital marketing is changing the world as we know it
Many of the new technologies have so profound effects in our lives that it is difficult to even understand the changes yet. Digital technologies open up a huge variety of possibilities to marketers as well.
Hanken’s course Digital marketing, instructed by CERS Assistant Professor Robert Ciuchita, gives students tools and understanding on this vast area through three pillars of digital marketing: people, processes and technology.
“Digital marketing is not a separate field of marketing”, states Ciuchita. “The encoding of analog into digital information on an unprecedented scale has offered marketers many kinds of new tools. There are also companies that have started as purely digital marketing platforms, such as Facebook and Google. Then again Netflix, for example, started as a traditional company but has developed into a major digital player. Now these are all among the most valuable brands in the world.”
Johanna Wretdal, Digital marketing lead from Amazon Web Services visited the course and opened up the world of digital marketing from the perspective of her 15 years long career within the IT industry. “Marketing has been a supporting function but nowadays it is more and more strategic, part of the process from the beginning”, she said.
For students aiming to work in digital marketing, Wretdal says it is valuable to create a habit of regular learning, for example dedicating 30 minutes a week to learn a new marketing data performance-tool or basic coding skills. No one needs to master all marketing technology platforms, but it is vital to stay up to date and focus on understanding what really is needed, and what is only part of a hype.
“The role of marketing has changed tremendously during the last decades, and while it's great that marketing today seemingly is more respected, it also means more impact and responsibility. One can say that the modern digital marketer-role is a hybrid of a business transformation manager, sales and marketing alignment innovator, and sustainable customer experience creator. In short - it's all about people-to-people”, she comments.
“All sorts of talents are needed in digital marketing business”, says also
Ciuchita asks students to pay attention to digital platforms’ business models. “Marketing is supposed to offer value to customers. We pay for Netflix, and get no advertising. But the idea of YouTube, Facebook and Google is to offer a platform for advertisers to offer more and more personalized messages. Consequently, these digital native companies try to maximize engagement with the content they offer so that they can essentially show people more ads. As users it is important to think for what and whom these services are optimized.”
He also talks about echo chambers that platforms form as side products of optimizing. Echo chambers are closed systems where unilateral attitudes and beliefs easily reinforce when the same ideas and themes are repeated, as in social media conversations. That is how the platforms change our way of thinking. Ciuchita says that legislators do not yet really understand digital business, and that is why these services are not as well regulated as operations of traditional companies.
Creating digital content and new platforms is also getting cheaper all the time. The social media feeds are neverending for a purpose – the content does not end because it is important to engage the users, to get them to stay as long as possible. This is why these companies have changed so much our time and attention consumption. “Everything and everyone needs to be online, and that is not going to change”, sums Ciuchita.
Image 1. Johanna Wretdal and Robert Ciuchita
Image 2. Sami Toivonen