The digital landscape is basically a school playground

by Mark Cunnah on 26 January 2016

Digital and digital marketing is getting complicated. With so many channels to manage and different audiences to cover, it gets hard to tell everything apart. What role does everything perform? Where do they sit in the digital landscape?

Rather than trying to pretend that all the different channels always work perfectly together, I thought I'd try a more chaotic analogy. I decided to look at the landscape as a schoolyard.

  • Analytics would be the teacher watching over recess. It makes sure that everyone is behaving and keeps an eye on proceedings to make sure none of the students are getting into trouble. If a student causes too much trouble, Analytics will likely recommend expulsion.
  • PPC can be seen as the sporty kid, always active and taking part in some kind of game or activity. It's a little big and maybe a bit brash, but when it's in the right sport it'll deliver results. Even if other students aren't the biggest fans of this jock, he can deliver results and so remains important for the senior management at the school.
  • SEO would likely be the emo kid: there's always one hanging out on the bench or bleachers. Their appearance changes every day, and they don't hesitate to annoy everyone a bit by not going along with the rules of the game being played. If only someone could understand their complex soul...
  • Then of course there's the popular girl: Social Media. She's "so hot right now", and everyone wants to spend a little time with her to bask in the glow. It's worth noting though that she's quick to jump from one trend or fashion to the next. If you don't keep up with the changes (and everyone is trying to keep up), you'll risk falling out of favour and the limelight. Only a few people really understand and are close to her.
  • Sadly, the playground isn't all fun and games, as there's a bully about called Remarketing. Even if you only interact with a site once, he won't leave you alone. If you've put something in your basket but don't check out, he'll be following you to hound you for money until you give in. Of course, you can stand up for yourself and refuse, but he won't relent easily.
  • Remarketing is often paired up with Email Marketing, also known as the bully's sidekick. He'll egg the bully on and loudly shout at you, often popping up when you least expect him to. Luckily he's a bit easier to tune out, unless he immediately grabs your attention.
  • There's also Affiliate Marketing – the rumour spreading group. They're somewhat of a double edged sword, as the wrong rumour will leave you struggling to recover, the right whispers will bring you plenty of benefits. It's best to play it careful with this lot.

Of course, you've also got to think about Web Design and Web Development, two kids who couldn't be more different in a way but do share one thing in common: they don't tend to hang out on in the schoolyard with everyone else, but prefer to go their own ways.

  • Web Design is the student that's smoking over by the bike shed. He's cool, maybe a little aloof, and doesn't always listen to the rules. All the other kids look up to him however, and his strong influence helps him run the show at recess. While he's often the star of the show however, if he governs the whole process it's likely you'll be paying the price.
  • Web Development on the other hand is staying in class during recess, working hard and leaving you wondering how he does everything. You can go in at any time to find him working away, but he'll never be happy with what he's doing so he'll constantly be updating. Since he's not outside with everyone else, he often does his own thing and doesn't worry too much about what the other students are up to.

Finally we get to UX. I like to think of UX as the new kid who's just arrived. The class only knows a little bit about him, and he's still just meeting everyone and getting to grips with how the social scene is set up. There's potential for him to get along with everyone, or to be neglected and to start becoming a problem in class. It's up to you how you integrate UX in your business!

So that's the playground scene! Digital is constantly changing and developing, so I'm sure there are plenty more stereotypes to discuss, so let us know your thoughts.

Keen to know more about the digital landscape? Why not check out our Fast Track to Digital training course?

Melody says 09:55am 19 Jan 2016

Yep. I think that's spot on.

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