Opinions

As Digital Marketers, We're Only One Day Old!

Posted by Rob Rose on August 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

The Internet turns forty on Tuesday.  I hear it's getting a divorce and trading us in for a younger crowd. And, for its birthday maybe we should all pitch in and give it a new, flashy muscle car and a bottle of Rogaine.

So, I know that this date - September 2nd (or even 1969) - as the "birthday" of the Internet is up for debate.  Some people would cite 1961 when the first paper on packet-switching technology was written. Or, others (and I would agree), hold to 1969 when the Defense Department commissioned ARPANet to research a "communication and command network".  Or, some others would hold to the 1970's or even wait to the 1980's when the TCP and IP protocols were brought to the forefront.  

But in any event, the 40th "birthday" got me to thinking about how extraordinarily young and inexperienced we really are with this whole Online Marketing thing.   I thought it would be interesting (and mostly just fun and hopefully humorous) to look at the 40 year history of Digital marketing through the context of one day at work.

So, you've all seen the charts of earth's history as one showing modern human existence and comparing it to one day.   So, let's look at a clock and imagine that our 12 hour work day, is equal to the last 40 years of history.  And the previous 40 years were yesterday's work day and so on back through our work week...   Here's one marketing guy's blog and it shows how young and inexperienced we digital marketers really really are....  

Friday 7:00 AM 
Woke up groggy from the night before - and thinking about the day ahead of marketing the business. It's been a long week, and one that started badly.  Monday, just after lunch - Bob told me about this new thing - print advertising - and the first print ad was published.  It was a French newspaper, La Presse  - and apparently it was the first to include paid advertising.  Damn, why did it have to be the French.  

Anyway, luckily we had a couple of days to figure that out - and Tuesday was pretty uneventful.  Well, unventful except for those Southern guys in the South Carolina and Virginia offices, who tried to spin out their own division of the company.  Luckily, the CEO was able to send a few guys down there, and it was all over by lunch time.

Wednesday, late in the day the VP introduced this new thing called Radio advertising and we had to figure out how to leverage that.  And then Thursday morning, just when we thought we had the radio thing figured out - he brings in yet another new thing "Television".  I mean 24 hours later... Come on man...  I  had to skip lunch on Thursday because everybody was all ga ga about this new thing - especially the sponsorship possibilities on this "Texaco Star Theater" show.

So, anyway, it's now Friday and man am I ready for this weekend.  Finally I feel like I'm settled in.  We've got our Print advertising still working.  My Radio advertising is finally starting to pay off - and this new TV thing is really just fantastic. It seems like everybody's got a TV now.  In fact, late last night I saw an ad for Westinghouse saying they were coming out with a brand new kind of TV... It's got a rectangular picture tube.  That's cool.

8:06 AM
Ready to jump into my brand new Dodge Charger and head off to work.  I'm hoping it's going to be a quiet day and I'll be able to leave early for the weekend.

9:10 AM
Got to work and am just settling in for the marketing strategy update here in about 20 minutes.  Feels pretty good.  We've got television, print and radio going pretty well now - and even though we don't have a good idea of what's working, our sales are up. Turn on my radio next to my desk and it's "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y  Night!" at #1... Man do I love the Bay City Rollers.

11:50 AM
Bob just stopped by my cube and told me that there's a rumor going around that the IT Guys are toying with some new techie service called "Compuserve"... It's some new thing with computers.. I don't even have a computer.

12:10 PM
Went to lunch with Bob, and he told me that we're looking at advertising on this new television network being launched called FOX.  Really?  Fox?  I don't think it will last.  I mean apparently some late night talk show with Joan Rivers is their first real show. I mean with stars like Joan Rivers, it'll probably end up being some really liberal network. Who would want to advertise there? 

1:33 PM
Oh my god.  I just got back from lunch and all hell has broken loose.  Apparently this whole "Compuserve" techie, computer thing has taken off - and now I've got a computer on my desk.  Have to learn how to use e-mail.  The IT Guys and the VP of Marketing have been talking about this new "World Wide Web" thingy.  Apparently it's the Super Information Highway.  The IT Guy showed the VP of Marketing this "clickable" ad on the HotWired site and the fact that he could also now "e-mail" customers. He freaked out.  Said this was the way of the future.  He said this, combined with CD-ROM's will change the world.  Great, I was really hoping for an early Friday exit.  Now, not so much.

2:28 PM
Okay, it's not even an hour later, but now the whole office is buzzing with this "Web"  thing.   The VP of Marketing has been holed up with our CEO and they're talking about launching a .Com version of the business.  I don't even know that that means.  

3:29 PM 
The IT Guys have set up our First "Web Site" and they think it's really cool.  The CEO  just loves it.  I've been running around like mad trying to figure out the business case for marketing - but everybody just loves that the logo is spinning.  Spinning?  Really?   Now some new guy (I think he's like 14) just came by my cube to introduce himself as Tim, the new "Online Guy".   Apparently we've hired some giant consulting firm to help us out with this stuff too. They've got a sock puppet version of the CEO.  The VP Of Marketing said this is the future.  I'm worried.  Gotta go - there's cake in the conference room. 

4:12 PM
Okay, everybody's pissed.  We've been running around like crazy (I'm literally out of breath) and this whole thing has been a giant bust.  IT is blaming marketing, and marketing is blaming IT.  Some people are calling it the biggest recession we'll ever see in our lifetime.  They're probably right.   Tim is gone - and so is the giant consulting firm.  Our VP of Marketing just got fired and now the CEO wants to talk to me.  Oh boy.... 

4:31 PM
Well that went a little better than I expected.  They just promoted me to VP.  Well, now  I guess I have to figure out this whole online marketing thing.  Okay, job one is to redesign this Web site and give it a business function.  I've got to see how I can leverage this new "web" thing  into my other marketing strategy.  I should hire an ad agency to help me figure this out.

4:45 PM
Hmmmm... can't really seem to find an ad agency that knows this stuff...  Bob came over and said about an hour ago that this  new pay-per-click type of advertising became available on Google. I originally thought he said "Paper clip" advertising and I said - "why the hell would anybody want paper clip advertising?"  Okay, It's been a long day and Bob didn't deserve that.  Anyway, he said it was kind of like the stuff that has been around for a couple of hours on Yahoo.  Only it was based on relevance.  Okay, add that to the list of new marketing acronyms to learn.    

5:01 PM
Okay... found a decent agency, got the Web site re-designed and republished and I'm learning about this Search Marketing thing.  The agency says we have to re-design again, because our Site isn't "search engine Friendly"... Ugh.. What does that even mean?  Okay, to top it off, one of the marketing managers just told me that the banner ads we're running are not working any more - and that we need a "landing page" program on our site.  I've decided I need a "cocktail" program.

5:45 PM
So, (and I'm not kidding) I literally just got out of a meeting with the agency and they're telling me that there's this new thing - "Web 2.0".   It's the first day people!!!    How can there already be a second  version of this stuff.   But, okay, I'm rolling with it.  Apparently, there are these new sites "Twitter" and "Facebook" (where do they come up with these names).  And we need to have a strategy to market to the people using these sites.   Also, we need to start building a community. Looks like I'm going to be working this weekend.

6:05 PM
Man am I tired.  I have to get out of here, and go home for a little while.  This day has literally just exploded in my face.  I mean, I didn't even know there was such a thing as an Internet until after lunch, and now we're trying to figure out how to monetize a second version of the Web. 

I have to admit, though, it's been a pretty good day.  I got promoted - and I feel like we're really getting alot done.  We are actually seeing better results.  I'm pulling most of the money out of my print and radio budget and putting it all into online.  Everybody's telling me that print is dead and has been for hours.... But I'm not sure...  But I do know that with online I can even measure my other tactics like TV and Radio better.  

But it's just amazing.  Literally in the last half hour of the day, the team is bringing me this new Web 2.0, and Social Media strategy for online marketing.  They're telling me that we've got to be transparent, experts in our industry, provide thought leadership - and be "part of the conversation".  I've got no idea how to measure it - and neither do they. 

I've had to learn more since lunch than I have over the last week.  Things are changing so fast now.  I guess that's really the new way.  Time for that cocktail.  

Thank god it's Friday.

       

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