We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

27 08 2012

Often, it is hard to know how far you’ve come until your look over your shoulder. It’s kind of like going mountain climbing. The path is steep and rocky, and the air getting thin. But just one look back affirms everything as you see the trail behind vanishing into .the blur of horizon.

Kind of like how things are with the Internet.

Of course, for those of you keeping score, the Internet has been around a very long time. Electronic computers, introduced in the 1950s, and ARPANET, developed in the late-1960s, have both evolved to the internet we all now take for granted. But even the last 10 years have produced an enormous amount of change. Just take a look.

Hey, is that our path I see way off in the distance?

It really is hard to believe we once lived in a land without Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. Blogs. If we wanted to share something, we had to meet at the grapevine, or forward it to all of our friends. Liking something meant holding an intense affinity, and more than likely just keeping it to yourself. And real comedians appeared in comedy clubs and occasionally on television. Heck, now they think they are rock stars and have their own YouTube channels.

But perhaps most importantly, it means that everything has changed for marketers. Gone forever are the days of traditional media only campaigns, like TV, radio, print and outdoor. Sure, we still use those media, but nowadays companies hire social media managers to oversee all of the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube feeds the company runs. Oh yeah…and let’s not forget Instagram and Pinterest.

Must be nice to be 22. They’re the ones getting all those cool jobs.

Let’s not forget shopping, either. While BAM (brick-and-mortar) stores will probably never go away, their roles are being redefined. They are becoming more and more showroom, and less and less inventory repository. Which is another way of saying that Amazon is kicking some major league booty these days.

Today’s marketing-savvy professional cannot afford to be without social media nor mobile devices. Anyone wishing to call him or herself a marketer must be on the cutting edge of technology, not the dull back side. Any company wishing to prosper in this hyper-advanced internet era must embrace the changes, or risk losing everything.

And while the path feels like it is only getting steeper, turning around is an option reserved for those whom we otherwise know by this word: Quitter.

Yes, that’s a hard pill to swallow, and perhaps I am being harsh, but this is the new reality. Ten years ago you could get away with having an e-commerce site, and quite possibly nothing at all.

The rarefied air of today’s high-altitude internet may cause us to stop to catch our breath, but it’s the only choice we have. Keep climbing. Suck some air. Trip every once in awhile. It’s OK, because we’re all in this together.

And that really is our path way down there at the horizon. Doesn’t it feel good to have come so far?

Dr “Three Miles High” Gerlich


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