The most challenging things about digital marketing is the ridiculous pace at which its very landscape changes. Social networks come and go. Search engines rise to supremacy only to be superseded right under the mainstream’s nose. The very technology frameworks that provide the foundation for the internet evolve at break-neck speeds. The sheer amount of marketing data being produced grows ever more profound.
And yet I find that it’s this exponential rate of change that provides the lion’s share of competitive advantage within this digital marketing thing of ours.
Like Aaron, I’m a big believer understanding – and predicting – how macroeconomic forces will shape the digital marketing landscape both in the short term and the long term. However, unlike Aaron and other industry thought leaders I’m not interested in painting Google – or any other industry entity for that matter – as the bad guy. Why? Because in my opinion it’s a) a waste of precious time b) there are much bigger bad guys to fry.
That said, it is important to understand how subtle changes in the landscape, like this one or this one, could ultimately lead to a complete redefinition of the rules for this marketing game. That’s what the big money is doing, and they’re not thinking 2013. They’re thinking 2023, 2033, and beyond.
So make sure to leverage mental tools like conjecture and criticism along with a healthy dose of skepticism in order to come up with innovative hypotheses on what it will take to differentiate your marketing programs from those of your competitors. And always be prepared to falsify and abandon even your most treasured “best practices” if the data and evidence seem to point in a new direction.
Because it’s this willingness to accept and embrace change that will likely determine your long-term ROI.