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The digital world of tomorrow

Posted on June 17, 2015

 

The annual online marketing conference SAScon rolled round once more with much anticipation. It’s nice to go and expand, validate and debate learning and best practice with other industry-leading experts.

The 2015 instalment promised to be no different, with a host of keynote speakers and interesting, thought-provoking debates.

Social and wearables

The discussion about social media, as always, is one that is well received. This year it included debates on the benefits and drawbacks of paid social media vs organic, and how incredibly difficult it is to show or prove an ROI. The event also looked at the possible loss in revenue and reputation management if you don’t have an active social media strategy.

The topic of wearable technology again was up for debate. Now, I generally find that the industry is split down the middle, with half of us adamant it’s going to be the next big thing, and the other half confidently proclaiming it’s just one of those crazes that’s going to fizzle out before it gets off the ground. Personally, I find myself on the latter side of the fence. Tech that takes off on a mainstream level does one thing; it fulfils a need, and in my view wearable technology – other than with fitness applications – does not. Products like Google Glass and smart watches don’t fill in a need because, among other reasons, you still need the actual smartphone to power the device.

The post-millennial generation

One major thought-provoking topic for me was a discussion about how the younger generation views media, TV and the Internet, and how their view is going to shape the digital world of tomorrow.

Now, I have always considered myself to move with the times, and being in digital marketing, it’s always been something I’ve prided myself on. However, in one of the debates, one of the speakers told a story in which a friend of his daughter asked her what was her favourite TV programme, and she responded, “I don’t watch TV”. The friend then immediately responded with, “Okay who’s your favourite YouTuber?’ and his daughter told her friend straight away.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. I am the ripe young age of 34, but I still watch TV and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you my favourite YouTuber. Maybe that’s one of the pitfalls (or blessings, depending on your viewpoint) of not having children. The younger generation of today, and the way they use media, will more than likely have an impact on the digital landscape of the future; after all, it is they who will be directing and leading the industry when their time comes.

Looking to the future

What we need to consider is this: when they eventually step into the working world, and thus the digital industry, will the way they use media and the Internet shape and change the sector? Or will they conform to the industry’s current rules of best practice? History has taught us that it will probably be a combination of both. This is one of the reasons why I love working in this industry – it constantly changes, adapts and evolves.

In reality, no one can really know what the digital industry of tomorrow is going to look like, but what we do know is, with a little bit of forward planning and the foresight to make sure we shift with the times, it’s going to be exciting.

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