“So what exactly DO you do?”
With titles in my repertoire like “Interactive Communications Strategist” and “Social and Digital Brand Manager,” you can imagine I have heard this question a lot over the years. It doesn’t always have an easy answer. Arguably, these titles are a little ambiguous. I’ll give you that. But here’s the kicker… what I am doing at work today may be drastically different in 6 months time.
Because marketing in the emerging media landscape is constantly changing.
When I graduated college in 2002, we were in the process of transitioning from Web 1.0, which was characterized by flat, one-dimensional, readable websites, to Web 2.0. Digital marketing was in its infancy, and did not extend beyond email communication and basic websites. We didn’t learn about that stuff in college.
With the evolution Web 2.0, the Internet became more interactive and collaborative. Blogging became a popular activity for individuals, and companies began to catch the blogging bug in the mid- to late-2000s as well. Social networks began to pop up in the early 2000s and were mainstream by the end of the decade.
For marketers, this rapid change of the web over a decade meant much of the tactical implementation we’d learned about in school had to undergo a massive overhaul. Tools of the ’90s were overshadowed by the arsenal of shiny new arrows we had in our quiver – websites, e-newsletters, blogs, social networking, online advertising, which were the emerging media of the mid- to late-2000s. So, we began learning new tools, the execution of which at times felt like learning a new language (and sometimes literally was – HTML code, anyone?). While we could apply some of our knowledge of strategic development to these new tools, we were often creating, tweaking, tossing out and revamping strategies on the fly as we were living in try-and-see-what-works mode.
As we neared the end of the decade and were finally feeling like we were starting to make progress and see (and prove) ROI for our efforts, a new shift in the web began. Enter Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web. (Here’s a great post about how the Semantic Web will work.) Depending on whose blog you read, we’re either at the beginning of this new shift or smack in the middle. Check out this video to see how we got from Web 1.0 to 3.0 and where the world is headed with the Semantic Web.
One thing is clear: Our emerging media channels are evolving with the Semantic Web. Videos and photos are dominating our content, including our social posts and online ads. Mobile sites and apps are now a marketing must-have. With the proliferation of mobile smartphones, location-based marketing tools (NFC, Bluetooth, QR codes, SMS/MMS) have become more important. Augmented and virtual realities are on the horizon as well. In addition to this transformation to our tactics, our systems are becoming more intelligent and we have more data available to us that ever before. Now, we have to figure out what to do with it.
So, I can tell you THAT is what I am doing right now. But you might want to ask me again in 6 months.