Twelve years ago I graduated college and took an internship at a traditional advertising agency. As a young person entering the business world, not only was advertising cool, but ATL was the place to be. It was where all the excitement was. It was all about working with big brands and creating even bigger TV ads, billboards and magazine spreads. It was the pinnacle of greatness in the marketing world.

We thought it would last forever, but all that has now changed. People don’t watch TV like they used to – they’re too busy on their phones reading the latest news to notice a glossy magazine ad. Traditionally, prime time TV presented the most expensive, most sought after media spots for big companies. As the transition started happening, prime time TV also became the most popular time for people to sit and browse the internet and connect to social media via their mobiles. The digital era arrived

What started out as “we need a nicer website” and “how do we make money with this Facebook page?” has become far more. 40 ft billboards have been replaced with precision-targeted ads on your favourite blog. TV ads have been replaced with impactful 15 second ads on YouTube and the news can be found in your Facebook feed.

Digital seems to have crept in overnight like a silent assassin and companies needed to act fast to avoid being left behind. The consumer is now leading the way by leaving breadcrumbs online and all over social media. We need only invest in our digital portfolio to find and create dialogues that will encourage people to act.

Consumers want to collaborate. They want to be a part of something and most importantly, they want to be heard. Your Facebook wall will quickly tell you what’s good, what’s great and what’s bad about your offering. For marketers and business owners, this transition presents a unique opportunity to ask for input and ideas, involve people in the evolution of the brand and ultimately, foster the growth of a database of loyal customers.

The most desirable advantage of digital is that it is now extremely measurable. Brands can measure consumer behavior as well as their preferences and expectations. And they’ll express their opinions and feelings with the online community, even if they’re not prompted to do so. Digital breaks down barriers to honest feedback – and constructive advice is extremely valuable when placed in the right hands.

I saw the excitement shift from traditional towards the undiscovered digital frontier and I quickly jumped on board.

Digital is no longer a value-add service or a marketing add on, it is an industry in itself that is growing exponentially. For a range of companies across the board, it serves as a way to attain a competitive edge – to embrace a new way of doing business. If you don’t know how to get started in digital, find someone who can teach you – the only way to keep up with an industry that is always evolving, is to ensure that you’re always learning.

Joanne Reid- Head of Client Service, WWC

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