Digital revolution on its own doesn’t explain everything that’s happening in today’s society and affects the consumer, their companies and, consequently at the marketing landscape.
It is a fact that the Internet has evolved and provoked great changes, but precisely because it competed with other media, achieve the ‘status quo’ of communication mediums and advertising businesses. This evolution wasn’t immediate, and in many cases, it was disqualified. For a long time, the Internet was seen like a young people’s thing or an exercise on futility.
Few people saw or accepted what in fact was happening, and how it transcended the Internet itself. The continuous and crescent blogger movement, the self-publishing of books, the various releases of rousing bands, web series, stand-up comedians and entertainment shows by unknown people were seen, in the beginning, as an ‘amateur’ thing. Many newspapers, recording studios, and producers qualified those movements as an amateur thing, associating such categories to low-quality productions.
The sum of these independent content production movements without the traditional filters of publishers and producers, plus the explosion of content publication platforms, new mediums, and social media; all created something more significant than the Internet itself: a change of paradigm. And when the paradigm of a sector change, there is nothing left to do but to accept it and enjoy it as the new opportunity it is.
The 20th century was characterized by the exponential growth of communication and advertising agencies. People get used to reading papers and magazines, listening to the radio and watching TV. Like passive characters in that story, people started to accept media as the center of the universe, creating a popular celebrity culture and the faith that the press was the only producer of reliable information.
Companies took advantage of that moment and heavily invested in those media with advertising, merchandising and sponsorships, managed by advertising agencies, producers and publishers. Therefore, during the 20th century, the media was everyone’s center of attention, including companies and consumers. Almost all the communication between a company and its clients was made through it. The focus of all advertising was media.
Even when the Internet came on, the initial focus was to think of it as a new media. Until the turn of the century, most websites were full of Ads, and the center was to get an audience to your page, selling ad space as you would in any other conventional media.
The movement generated by the production and consumption of independent content and by the media and social media transformed people’s perception, and little by little they turned from passive characters to active ones in digital media.
People have abandoned newspapers and magazines and started reading blogs. They have left printed books and began reading eBooks. They have found out new talents, more adequate to their musical tastes, listening to music online or watching videos on YouTube. More than that, they started to communicate directly with bloggers, writers, musicians, and actors from the pieces they consumed, and they could also produce their own content, inspired by their online experience.
A creative explosion embraced people at the beginning of the 21st century, and the quality of the independent content has exponentially grown since then. With that, a significant change of paradigm has occurred, with the focus changing from the media to the people. The media became passive characters in this whole process, and today they must reinvent their business to survive, while the Internet became the creative bond between people.
The focus of the consumer itself ceased to be the media and started to be other people with more useful and relevant information for their decision-making process. With the emphasis on people and no longer in the media, today consumers are more interested in the story of other consumers, in meeting them and reading what other regular people write, create or produce.
This process was reinforced with the birth of mobile phones, apps, faster connections, video and music streaming and smart TVs. Those technologies had increased people’s power, who could now have content mobility and watch what they wanted when they wanted.
This has completely changed marketing. Companies who before have to focus their efforts in media communication to reach people now had a way to communicate directly to their consumers.
Beyond that, the young millennials had grown and are now an essential part of the consumer market, with excellent purchase power, and a massive influence capacity. But unlike previous generations, these new consumers were born and raised with the new paradigm, ignoring the media and advertising entirely from the generation before.
Traditional media are still an important communication point with consumers, and they should survive all the changes. Like it happened to cinema, which adapted to the TV; traditional media like TV and magazines are making an effort to adjust to this new reality. But the fact is that the focus has changed on people, and that makes digital marketing growing relevancy in communication strategy and publicity in the companies.
The change of focus from the media to the people changes the way companies have to face the challenge of communicating with the consumer. And, above all, the need to understand that it’s not a technological change, but a behavior one. It’s not a matter of choice, but of survival of the business.
In the digital universe, the focus is always on people, not on media.