Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Trend No. 3: Digital Marketing Will Cease To Exist

Max Kalehoff is one of those people who is followed by many in the marketing tech world. He is currently VP of Product Marketing at Syncapse… one of those fairly unheard-of tech companies that is really changing things.

Max recently published a paper for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School’s Future of Advertising 2020 Program. His paper entitled 11 Big Trends That Will Reshape Advertising In 2020 And Beyond has garnered a lot of attention. Over the next few blog posts, I will attempt to take each one of his eleven points and give it my interpretation from the nonprofit Development perspective. Let’s take a peek into the future together.

3. Digital Marketing Will Cease To Exist. Face it. We’re all doing less “digital marketing”. Instead, we’re simply doing more marketing in a digital world. It’s a nuance, but an important one. It will dictate your organization’s culture and marketing roadmap for the future.

Although this trend and explanation by Max Kalehoff is short … only four sentences … it is loaded with insights for nonprofit fundraisers.

Face it. We’re all doing less “digital marketing”. Instead, we’re simply doing more marketing in a digital world.”

Many of you, after reading that, are probably saying to yourselves, “We are???” After all, digital marketing is relatively new to the nonprofit world. Realizing that he is addressing the whole of the marketing world (mostly commercial) puts his statement in context. There is, however, a more important point here and that is that just like we all are getting more and more of our news and information from digital sources, so too, marketing communications will inevitably move more to digital.

It (digital marketing communications) will dictate your organization’s culture and marketing roadmap for the future.”

Actually, this is the most important insight. Essentially, what he is saying is that digital marketing communications are fundamentally different and because of this, your very roadmap for the future of marketing communications is fundamentally different. And because it is so different, it will actually be a different “work culture” for your Development organization.

In our programs, in which we train fundraisers how to connect with younger donors, we say this a little differently, but make the same point. Your current fundraising business model will at some point cease to work. You will need a new fundraising model that is built online (digital). This is not a transition, it is a fundamental transformation of the way you develop supporters and develop relationships with those supporters. There is no transition from the old model to the new model; the old model will decline while the new model (online and digital) rises. It will be different in every way including the actual work culture of Development. The good news for fundraisers, however, is that you can start growing again.


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  1. I found your post very interesting. I think that digital marketing keeps on evolving and will continue to change. Thank you for posting!!

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  2. Wow...This is really true globally. Spends on digital media has been increasing rapidly. I've been going through portfolio of few agencies like ibs, Communicate2, etc. and the work they have done reflects many of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing this article.