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We are all headed towards our own Dark Valley. Getting through it has little to do with future-gazing. It has everything to do with the will to change, the structural agility to adapt and a form of leadership willing to hear and speak hard truths.
While I respect the idea of a CDO, I am not convinced that it can work… yet. Why? Because each of the above domains is vast and deep. Most organisations have a hard enough time giving a digital marketing officer proper room and respect to succeed. The concept of a CDO expands what is an already (often) dysfunctional relationship. Further, the very notion that what is “digital” should be compressed into a single figurehead is something is a dubious presumption.
In many cases an organization needs to seek out its “best self” – the parts of it that exemplify where it wishes to go. This is always a process.
Channel-thinking is not only false – it is harmful to corporate reputation. It tells you that you can treat digital like old media. It reinforces the idea that there is still an old media (there isn’t) . So why use the word?
If you can significantly improve the user interface to complete the job better, faster, cheaper you can disrupt the status quo. Even in a saturated, hyper competitive marketplace.
The kernel of the argument I will make is that the social web is pressuring organizations to accelerate all forms of communications from “batch” processing to real-time interaction. The result is an fundamentally different approach to how a marketing/communications organization needs to be structured and serviced.
We are hurtling towards a world of total information capture where email, texting, instant message and mobile video are documenting our everyday speech and action – in effect rendering all speech as text. There will be few places to “talk” without that talk being given the weight and permanence of text.
Gaining attention in this world becomes as much about the science of standing out as the art of being outstanding. And every link forged is a form of currency exchange where the market favors the heavyweights.
When checklist cultures meet non-checklist cultures – the clash can be ugly. Much of the difficulty that “digital” people have with integrating their discipline with others (traditional PR or marketing for instance) derives from this culture clash.
I have been watching the Old Spice phenomenon with interest and admiration so don’t get me wrong; it will set the bar for great, creative work in advertising but is it a high point for …