From the Editor: Sometimes, it’s better to let someone else do the talking. Too often we get so caught up in our own story that we forget what it’s like to see something for the first time. That’s why at Engage 2013, we invited one college student to provide her own take on the conference and share what digital marketing means to her. Her guest blog is below.
“Get on the wave and ride it, or get crushed along the shore.”
These words, spoken by Webtrends CEO Alex Yoder, sparked a powerful image in my head. After all, I’m no stranger to waves; I grew up on a surfboard. Born and raised in San Diego, I know what it feels like to ride a wave with full force, the rush that comes when confidence, technique, precision and experience come together for a successful ride.
But it’s also a moving target. As Alex pointed out, “You can’t afford to miss a decision today. You’ll miss the opportunity.” Riding the wave, then, isn’t reactive. Catching that big wave means staying on top of trends and becoming part of the innovation in an infinitely digital world.
I’ll be honest, though: it’s exhausting trying to stay on the cutting edge, with trends shifting amoeba-like from one breakthrough innovation to another. I see this every day in my marketing classrooms; lesson plans are constantly evolving to meet new demands, sometimes turning over completely every three months.
But one such innovation at Engage was absolutely exciting: the showcasing of Webtrends Streams. It simply blew my mind, being able to see consumer activity as it happens through interactive and engaging visualizations. For the first time ever, you could see data instantly and act on it when it matters most: at the exact moment customers are engaged with your social, mobile or online property. My jaw about hit the floor.
As a marketing and advertising student, I immediately thought about how I would be able to take action and really guide a consumer through a custom experience and toward specific objectives, all thanks to live analytic feedback. It’s one thing to guide a consumer step-by-step, but now, if we can track that in real-time, we can truly see what works, where it works, when it works and act on it immediately to make sure objectives are met.
This is what many of my peers and fellow students are starting to understand and prepare for in their careers. Not how to say something in order to be wanted, but how to know when you’re wanted in the first place. The future consumer will want, expect and most likely demand an experience of collaboration and communication with our businesses, and it’s up to us to be prepared. In that sense, the future of marketing is already upon us; this is the reality.
And maybe that’s the best part: If the “future” is happening now, then I can’t wait for what’s to come.