In order to put this report and its conclusions into context, it’s important to explain what I mean by Digital with capital ‘D’.
It is essential to not see Digital as “just one new channel”. Digital is much more than that. It’s not a passive broadcast channel – in the UK people spend 17 hours per week online, checking social media, email, shopping, watching online TV, etc.
When categorising Digital as “just one more channel”, an organisation falls into the trap of thinking that whatever they did in other channels can largely be simply transferred into Digital.
It was fascinating to see the evidence of this in the leaked New York times innovation report: “For someone with a print background, you’re accustomed that if a story makes the editor’s cut –you’re going to find an audience. It’s entirely the other way round with digital… The realisation that you have to find your audience –they’re not just going to come and read it –has been transformative”.
This kind of attitude is evident across all industries (not that this is a justification for the non-for-profit sector to keep doing it). Google recently published stats that show that the amount of time people spend online is constantly increasing, but the investment in traditional channels is still dominating marketing budgets.
So to do justice to Digital, I describe it as an ecosystem of digital channels (social media, advertising, marketing, websites), content, data and user experience. Digital is now one of the significant ingredients of cultures and consumer behaviour in the West and, increasingly, in the developing world. Digital is therefore an essential for any marketing, whether commercial or cause-related.
Ofcom digital trends report – July 2014