“Which means that the future of marketing—the convergence of retail, the emergence of digital media networks and the cellphone as the linchpin—is not really the future at all. Because, as Geoffrey Frost noted, in a nod to science-fiction writer William Gibson’s famous quote, “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
I find this point on convergence/emergence really interesting. While P&G has placed increasing importance on Shopper Marketing, it is an area that is still in its infancy. The same holds true for experts in digital (not interactive…but digital). Digital experts are learning the world of not just interactive (ie traditional media applied to online) but also social media, mobile, consumer generated media and everything else that is digital today.
The case can be made that the worlds of retail and digital are going to collide and they are going to collide very soon. But I’m not sure if many clients OR agencies are recognizing this fact. If you look at the major agency holding companies, most of them have their digital shops AND their shopper marketing shops. Likewise you arent going to find many marketers that have spanned the world of both digital and shopper marketing during their careers. Sure many have taken traditional brand / mass media backgrounds and layered on shopper marketing. And many have done the same thing with digital.
But it is only a handful of marketers that have thought how to take a traditional background and layer on expertise in both shopper AND digital. It made sense just a few years ago when they were seperate worlds. But these worlds are now converging and we all need to change…we need to change fast. We need to understand that consumers can now become shoppers at any moment. They no longer have to step into a store to shop. It can happen online, on their cell phone or even on Xbox Live. Those transactions taking place outside of traditional retail might be small now but that wont be the case in several years (ask the music industry about how fast iTunes made that happen). Sounds like now is the time to start thinking about how shopper marketing and digital expertise are going to play together. Will your brand be ready? Your agency(s)? You?