Our industry throws around terms such as ‘marketing’ and ‘digital’ and ‘communications’ with abandon that is truly reckless. Let’s be more precise to be more effective.
A few weeks before Cannes Lions (and all of the controversy there), Google made a major statement that was surprisingly unnoticed by most of the marketing world: “the end of digital marketing is here.”
Marie Gulin-Merle, chief marketing officer for Calvin Klein and chief digital officer of parent company PVH, said in an interview with Think With Google editor-in-chief Bethany Poole that “it’s misleading or very duplicative to talk about traditional marketing and digital marketing.”
“Consumers really don’t act that way. You research online. You buy offline. You have your mobile with you. The consumption of videos, the search behaviour — all of this is present throughout the journey. [Separating traditional and digital marketing] creates silos within companies.”
At first, it might seem surprising for Google to promote such an idea. Surely, the company would want to encourage ‘digital marketing’ and persuade marketers to spend less on TV, radio, outdoor and print and more on its advertising products?
But read Gulin-Merle’s quote again. Everything she mentions is something that benefits Google. Search stores your user queries and targets you with ads. Online video platforms know what you watch. Smartphones — especially Google’s Android — collect a lot of your personal information.
So, Google’s goal is not exactly to break down any wall between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ marcom. Rather, the company seemingly wants trackable digital technology to infuse — some might say ‘invade’ — the rest of the ad industry.
But just because Google is self-serving does not mean they are wrong on the larger point.