Is Digital Still A Thing?


Several years ago, a new agency category was born. The digital agency. There were digital copywriters, digital art directors, Jr. Chief Digital Ninjas.

In fact, if you wanted to get a job, pretty much all you had to do was put “digital” in front of your title and, bam, interview city.

Lately, there’s been a pendulum swing of digital agencies now becoming “full-service,” a term that half a decade back showed that you just didn’t get it. You were a dinosaur, and not the cool kind that shows up ironically on airbrushed t-shirts.

Now, the cynic in me might see this as just the next wave of opportunity being chased by those who’ve run their course. But I think it’s bigger than that.

I think it shows that marketers recognize that digital isn’t a thing. It’s everything. It’s where we live. It’s how we market. It’s the way we measure.

And as a creative person, it’s constantly restocked with new toys to play with and ideas to extend.

I did my first—maybe one of the first—Facebook Canvas ads a few months ago. Now, they’re about as common as a quarter-page black and white newspaper ad was twenty years ago.

And when you’re thinking about campaigns, it’s not just that we can take ideas to places we’ve never been able to before. It’s that we can do it without blowing the budget. We can target by personality, geography or, shoot, both and then some. And that makes our work that much more meaningful to our audience.

The trick is to make sure we keep them in mind. Because as much as measurement entices marketers, it can also entice us to change direction on a whim. Or, more accurately, on a decimal point.

As we (at RT) get ready to wrap a campaign that we’ve been running exclusively in social and display, I can safely say that I never once wondered if I was “digital enough” to work on it. I was, however, thrilled by the real-time nature of audience engagement and pursuing new media portholes for our ideas.

And I’m glad we are no longer approaching digital like a new species of human. Instead, we are embracing its potential and finding out where it leads.

And in a couple weeks (long way to go for an event plug, I know), we are hosting the Ad Club St. Louis Digital Symposium along with Social Media Club St. Louis. Or, #STLDIGSYM, if you’re into the whole brevity thing.

The topics for the event illustrate the continued relevance of digital-forward thinking.

We’ll have speakers and panelists discussing creative strategy, technology, data & analytics and social & content. Check out the people who will be there from Apple, Rated VR, Adobe and more at this link. They’ll be speaking from their experience alongside leaders in our market, like AtomicDust, R/T, Launchcode, HLK and Build-A-Bear, who are blazing new pixel paths every day.

Hopefully, I’ll see you there. Just don’t ask me what singularity is. At least not until after the show.

By Jake Edinger