Posted on: 30 04 2019

Why marketing has been late to the digital transformation party

Written by
Luxid London
Reading time: 3 mins

Writing in 1973, Arthur C Clarke suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  Fast-forward to today and innovation is the new status quo. From AI-driven voice recognition to 3D printed aircraft engines, magic is no longer magical.

In the dizzying onrush of digital transformation, we’ve left the 20th Century far behind. But like Monty Python’s Black Knight, advertising and marketing agencies perhaps haven’t realised how much some pretty fundamental things have changed.

That’s not to say technology’s passed us by: real time bidding can be properly mind boggling, re-marketing – once the worst kind of Green Eggs and Ham marketing – is being transformed by new applications of machine learning, and shifts in digital marketing operations are dramatically simplifying campaign management to create new levels of engagement and impact. 

But while our tools and tactics may have changed, the ways they’re being applied are often rooted in the pre-digital past.

Always-on - We’re long past the time of Mad Men.

Back when years started with a one nine, our world was shaped by Henry Ford and Madison Avenue. The twin engines of mass marketing and mass production fuelled mass consumer demand. Marketing was advertising. And advertising meant monolithic campaign ideas with one-size-fits-all messages.

Around the time of Bill Bernbach and David Abbott, agencies fixed on an operating system to deliver those ideas. It starts with research, insight and planning. Then there’s lengthy creative development. And finally, extended deployment – ideally followed by a shelf full of shiny awards. 

This linear advertising thinking is still very much alive and kicking. And, frankly, it’s a problem.

Ads are so last century.

The golden age of advertising produced fabulous creative work. But the premise it rested on – pushing out messages to interrupt the consumer – has been becoming less and less relevant.

Now, communications are two way. And it turns out that you can’t have rewarding conversations by repeating the same thing, loudly, over and over.

In the age of social media and perpetually divided attention, people move on fast. They expect brands to do the same. And smart brands are doing just that – transforming their marketing to take advantage of real-time, always on possibilities of data, mobility and analytics.

Customer behaviour - We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Today, we have amazing tools to help understand customer behaviour. We can extract meaning from the cadence of a net user’s keystrokes. We can serve thousands of individually targeted personalized communications in the blink of an eye.

Every day, these capabilities are getting stronger. But to enjoy their true potential, we need to recalibrate. Instead of pushing messages out, we have to draw customers in. Instead of betting the farm on one-off campaign hits, we need to plan and optimise for long term relationships.

It’s already happening over on the client side. From fashion to B2B brands, marketing is no longer ‘what happens before we ship’. CMOs are in the ascendant. Customer relationships, enhanced by analytics and the power of big data, are a central part of the product lifecycle.

Let’s talk about how to do more with digital

At Luxid, this is music to our ears. We were born in the clear air of Finland, far from the London/New York/LA marketing bubbles. We were born digital, way before agencies started scrambling to adapt their analogue ways. 

The world has never seen change like what’s coming in the decade ahead, and we couldn’t be more excited.

If that strikes a chord, we’d love to talk to you.


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