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Connecting the digital dots

Digital means many things to many people.

To some digital describes the nexus between new technologies and marketing/business resulting in new ways to connect consumers and marketers.

To others digital is an ethos. It describes a new way of working, conceptualising ideas, seeing the future, and testing, learning and iterating. Digital involves a different way of doing business.

For Steve Sammartino there is no digital. Sammartino believes that technology is innate, that there have always been technologies which help us do things better, faster, differently. For him a digital strategy is just a strategy. People come first. Digital is just a set of tools and methods to help people.

“Anyone who doesn’t get digital, doesn’t get strategy. We need start to think again in terms of utility for the audience – it’s only when we focus on their needs that we can ever hope to be a solution in their day.”

Sammartino wrote about this in 2013. Smart guy.

What he is saying is don’t become enamoured of technology. Focus on living, breathing people with emotions, habits, fears, and passions. People are/should be the ultimate beneficiaries of technological advances.

A recent article in e-consultanc, Three digital marketing mega trends for 2015 reminded me that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“But we are a long way yet from the seamless, omnichannel, personalised customer experiences we all talk about. To deliver on that promise we need to connect a lot of dots.

“Only then will the digital and marketing engine start to purr efficiently rather than stutter as it does currently.

“We have a lot of dots to connect. We need to join up data, we need to integrate technology systems, we need online and offline to become joined up.

“But it goes well beyond that. We need to connect dots in our processes and operational practices to enable, for example, agile ways of working. We need to connect dots in our organisational structures to enable multi-disciplinary teams and multichannel thinking.”

I love the metaphor of connecting the dots to describe the process of using technology to integrate online and offline worlds, provide  customers with a consistent experience regardless of channel/device, and build innovative products. For some dots the connections are clear. For others, connectedness seems impossible, the stuff of dreams.

Closing the gap between technology and our mad imaginings is what makes us uniquely and magnificently human.  Thinking digitally helps. Thinking about people and what makes them get up in the mornings helps more.