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Digital is not the way forward

I like big statements. I like the way they can underpin books which promise easy access to money and success. I like the way they can position the issuer as an authority and smooth the path towards consultancy; surely the aim of any high flying member of the intelligentsia.

So I relished a statement made via the Twitter Gods, home to all off-the-cuff and unsubstantiated statements, that claimed all marketing had to figure Digital in any strategy.

Let’s first be clear: I love the possibilities afforded by digital campaigns. Technology is a marketing person’s dream, offering, as it does, a slew of measuring mechanisms to keep all but the most cynical of bosses happy. Digital plugs into many lives and the numbers it reaches increases daily.

It’s not, however, a must in every circumstance.

In fact the only real encompassing statement I stick my neck out on is that there is no “must”.

Let’s talk anecdotes.

Earlier in the year I had a meeting where I was urging a prospective client to do more with digital. We all agreed there was more to be done and it felt great.

Then, almost as a side discussion, I was given an insight into the value of a non-digital campaign.

The reasoning began simply with: not everybody has easy access to the web. And even if they do they won’t have the access you and I have. I’m here twelve hours a day and a web-capable device isn’t far from my hand.

It makes sense.

I don’t work behind a till or in a hospital or any of the many jobs that mean a person can’t access the Internet whenever they want to. Access to media can be restricted to a newspaper in backroom between jobs or over a sneaky brew.

Yet these people still lead consumer lives and companies still have reason to urge them to buy during their break times.

In these digital times when it seems everybody is forever on Twitter or Facebook it is all too easy to overlook these people and, in doing so, overlook the effectiveness of what is now called “traditional” media.

Digital is a way forward, not the way forward.