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Why experience does not always come from power, by Clark Turner from

There’s a popular belief that power comes from experience. But experience does not always come with power. Let me explain. Any PR and marketer climbing the career ladder will have their sights set on the position of director or head of their department. 

As top dog they hold the power and as such are expected to hold the knowledge. As traditional practitioners they most likely do – as a result of their experience of traditional marketing and PR channels. After all, for decades the media landscape remained unchanged: TV, radio, press and outdoor.

But the worldwide web means that marketers and PR professionals have the opportunity to reach numbers globally as never imagined or was possible before. Not only that, it’s also shaping how and where communicators reach audiences allowing them to enter into a dialogue with consumers, engage and even entertain them.

Globally, people who have online access have digital sources as their number one media channel. The recently published Digital Life report from market research firm TNS found that 61 per cent of online users use the Internet daily against 54 per cent for TV, 36 per cent for radio and 32 per cent for newspapers.

Looking at the UK specifically, there are over 16.8 million mixed residential broadband connections in operation, according to Ofcom. In addition 71 per cent of adults have access to broadband in the UK (fixed and mobile).

You’d think that as senior practitioners, directors and heads of communications departments would universally understand the value of and be actively be operating through digital channels. But you’d be wrong. I know this for a fact after interviewing top marketing directors across various industry sectors.

In fact, there are two schools of senior marketers and PRs today – those who are embracing the new opportunities presented and those who are holding back, or running scared. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like King Canute and the sea – there’s no holding back the advancing, all engulfing surge of digital.

The reasons why some are resisting is no mystery. It’s all down to a lack of knowledge and, to a degree, fear. After all there’s a lot for any marketer to get their head around: search marketing, display, SEO, eCRM and email marketing, social media, website optimisation, blogs, mobile, apps …

But the only way to deal with a challenge is to meet it. Ignoring a problem won’t simply make it go away.

There is no shortage of great award-winning digital marketing campaigns to provide inspiration to comms operators that clearly demonstrate what can be achieved, whether that be engagement or conversion to sales. And what’s more, the digital space is ultimately more measurable than traditional channels clearly showing that all important ROI.

Thankfully there is help. There are ways for marketers to gain the skills they need to meet the challenges of this new space. As the plug is being pulled on the world of traditional marketing, the future has never looked brighter for clued-up digital marketers.

HTTP, CMS, URL, ISP, SEO … it’s as easy as ABC.

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