Digital should be embraced

Your TV has gone digital, so why hasn’t your marketing? Digital has been the buzz word of late as television moves from the old analogue system to the new digital era.

Indeed, we live in a digital age but there seems to be an attempt among numerous businesses to stay put in 1990, pre internet, and I am not sure why.

The people I speak to who tell me they are ‘dinosaurs’ are inevitably male, have often reached senior management positions and might use the internet to buy holidays, books and clothes – but when a conversation about digital marketing begins, they revert to their reptilian ancestry.

Then there are the academic marketers who appear to believe that social media and related channels are reaching the apex of their effectiveness. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are around six billion connected devices but by 2020 Cisco Systems are estimating that it could rise to 50 billion.

The connectivity of these devices which include mobile phones and tablets (of which there will be 100 million more next year) will include social media.

Twitter is primarily mobile, Facebook is growing in usage, LinkedIn now has 10 million users in Britain and YouTube is fast becoming the place of first resort for younger people.

If companies do not see these channels as an opportunity to grow their business, well then their business will not grow.

To put it simply, digital is nothing to be scared of, unlike the T-Rex. Today’s process is the same as it was in the ‘dinosaur’ days of sales and marketing.

I have to relate a story about a campaign created by my dad, Rex McKane. He was famous for an ad but proudest of the fact that sales went from five tons a week to more than 100 tons.

The ad starred George Best but the hero of the campaign was the humble Cookstown sausage.

Sales and marketing nowadays has the very same aim. In the digital age, everyone in the company should be marketing their place of employment in the hope that they can help sell more.

While before we could only see or hear an advert and then talk about it, we can now see marketing messages on social media and ‘share’ them with our friends digitally.

It is exactly the same opportunity and objective that companies have always had – we have now just changed the channel.