Meeting the Digital Challenge: Part 1

There is little argument that social and digital media are profoundly changing how we, as global society,  engage with the media, our colleagues, family and friends, as well as how we do business.  Most executives and managers are aware of the digital revolution; many of them have explored it through mobile and social media; some have implemented it with varied successes; but few have integrated digital media as strategic priority in their marketing mix. This gap between the growth of digital media and the implementation of a Digital Marketing Strategy is exacerbated when comparing the U.S. with other countries.  The hotbeds for competitiveness and innovation related to the digital economy are Sweden and Singapore. The U.S trails at #5.To maintain a competitive edge, U.S executives and managers must embrace these changes and drive transformation in their organizations. This is the Digital Challenge!

The Revolution

In 2006 Rupert Murdoch, known as the global print giant, suggested we are entering a major revolution.

“To find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of mass media … Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people who are taking control.”

These statistics demonstrate the Power of the Revolution:

  • More uploads to YouTube in 60 days than all 3 major US networks created in 60 years
  • 110 million tweets are sent per day on Twitter or 4+million  per hour (Twitter)
  • Facebook generates 770 Billion page views, 700+ Billion minutes, every month
  • StumbleUpon (43%) has overtaken Facebook (38%) as #1 source for US social media traffic
  • In 2010, Asia Pacific had more than 825 million internet users, 42% of the global total.

In 2011 Google suggested that digital media has transformed our buying decisions. Marketing has a Changing Rulebook based on Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT, “the moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service.”

These statistics tell the story of how our buying behaviors have changed:

Murdoch transformed his investments, building a global Integrated Media Empire including the purchases of MySpace, Hulu, Chinese Media company and Wall Street Journal online. As he suggested, “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”In 2011, his company’s phone scandal violated the foundations of social media (e.g., transparency, accountability) and is being challenged in the social media.

Google has responded to these changes, “Marketing strategies are simply not keeping pace… modern marketing strategies have to evolve with the changing shape of shopping.“ They are now providing core digital training in ZMOT for all members of their sales team internationally.

How many U.S. Executives are prepared to respond to these challenges?



“Digitally Handicapped”

Even as marketing agencies reinvent themselves to respond to the digital revolution, the reality is that most managers are struggling to learn new skills and evaluate the impact of social media conversations.  More than two-thirds (2/3) of managers admit that they are “digitally handicapped” in relating to understanding and measuring social media conversations and impacts on their brand.

  • “80% [of] marketers admit they are concerned their brand is at risk from not being as engaged with customers, or failing to have a good grasp of how online conversations are impacting their brand.“
  • “Less than 33% have a strong understanding of social media conversations related to their brand.“
  • “70% have very little understanding or use a few tools to measure social media conversations.”

Furthermore, many executives are “afraid of it“.  Here are 28 reasons why CEO’s fear social media.

New Digital Divide

Although the U.S. has led growth in digital technologies, marketers have been slow to respond and incorporate in the marketing mix. Forbes Insights reported that only 11% of US and UK executives surveyed at large businesses listed social media strategy as a leading priority in 2011.   eMarketerreports that 78% of U.S. executives think that a social business strategy is important to future business success, but only 27% deem it a top priority. According to 2010 Economist Intelligence Group’s annual “e-readiness” rankings, “In the race to stay competitive in the emerging digital economy, Nordic nations continue to rule the roost. The U.S. has gained ground, and Asian countries are on the rise.”

In fact, inconsistent responses by U.S. marketers have brought forth a New Digital Divide

“…between companies that truly understand the potential to go deep with their digital marketing efforts, and those that are still contemplating what to do with their Facebook presence… some of the world’s most sophisticated work is being done in [Asia] this region, [while] other companies are still not going beyond the basics.

On one hand, there is growing demand for Digital Marketing services in U.S. but there is a gap in understanding, skill set, and application.  There is a shortage of Business Schools and training programs to fill this need. To fill the void, some of the most innovative work in Digital Marketing is being put forward by groups in Asia, Scandinavia and Europe.


To fill the void and remain competitive, U.S. executives must go beyond the confines of traditional marketing and embrace digital training as a strategic priority or risk falling behind. They must extend digital literacy and lead an organizational commitment to integrate digital marketing into their corporate plan.

Meeting the Digital Challenge is required for survival and growth! Are You Prepared?

Part Two:  Digital Marketing Training … coming soon