An always on society – #squaredonline Module One Reflections

We’re in the middle of a digital revolution that shows no signs of letting up.  The pace of change is an exciting one, and over the past few weeks whilst studying module one of squared online the digital marketing qualification from Google, my mind has been racing with ideas and reflections about how digital has changed my life.  The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know – and what you do know now, will be out dated/have evolved within a few months.  Crazy huh?

As a marketer, the time to broaden digital skills and knowledge is paramount to understanding consumer behaviour and to try and adapt and keep up with them.  Brian Solis suggests that this era of ‘Digital Darwinism‘ is the natural selection process wherein businesses will either adapt and change with society and technology or risk being left behind and at the mercy of the environment they play in.  There are numerous examples of businesses that didn’t adapt: Kodak, Blockbuster, HMV, for example – where digital came along and ate them for lunch.  I remember the days of getting Kodak films developed, hiring a video from Blockbuster for the weekend and buying CD’s from HMV to listen to on the school bus.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I went into an HMV store, and Lovefilm and Netflix mean I don’t even have to leave the sofa and movies are a couple of clicks away.

Consumers now have a wealth of technology and information to hand to guide them in their journey along the path of purchase and now on average consult 10.4 sources before purchase – the Zero Moment of Truth as Google have coined it.  As a consumer, I love this, but as a marketer I recognise now more than ever that we must add value at every touch point in order to remain in contention during purchase consideration.

I was recently at a conference and heard an interesting phrase ‘smart boredom’.  With a smart phone always to hand, there are very few instances where we are unproductive or not being entertained.  When we’re waiting in queue’s or commuting on a train our phone keeps us occupied and entertained to pass the boredom.  The challenge is that we’ve become so accustomed and addicted to our phones that this ‘always on’ behaviour amongst society often overlaps and interferes with our inter-human relationships.

One of the most thought provoking videos I’ve seen recently is the ‘I Forgot My Phone‘ showcasing numerous occasions where rather than being in the human moment, we often ignore friends and family and pay more attention to our phones.  A fellow square, Chris Michaeloudis on the course posed the question in her own blog ‘Surfing the net or snogging….what would you rather be doing‘ – it was a fantastic read and shared the thought that the always on society has replaced the need for human engagement and intimacy.  I’m going to try really hard to make sure I am always in the moment, and that the smartphone comes second to friends and family and would challenge all of us to do the same.

This always on society, like everything has it’s pro’s and con’s – but I’m an advocate of this digital revolution and the opportunities it creates particularly for marketers.  I’m excited for what’s round the corner, and it promises to be mind blowing!

Bring on Module 2!

And here is that ‘I Forgot My Phone’ video: