Tech Line

Come for The Digital, Stay for the Physical

A wise man once said: “In the end, the human experience is hybrid.”  

So what? Let’s backtrack a bit.

Much business-strategy talk over the last decade has been about digital transformation, in one form or another. Simply defined, digital transformation is “the adoption of digital technology by a company to improve business processes, value for customers and innovation.”

Businesses have come to realize, however, that digital transformation alone is not the answer. According to Accenture Interactive , “the powerful convergence of marketing and technology in today’s marketplace means brands are no longer built through advertising, but through experiences. . . . Experiences that can make lives easier, healthier, safer, more productive and rewarding.”

In other words, to be meaningful, transformation must evolve to include the offline world to mirror how people truly live and engage in what has, more and more, become a hybrid world. By failing to acknowledge the importance of the human experience, digital transformation cuts itself off from half of what people crave—authenticity and reality. Consumers demand that brands shift to their needs in real time, in both online and offline channels.

In short, it’s the comingling of the analog and the digital.  

Human Engagement

What’s more, the most successful digital channels are driven by human engagement. Think of it: Despite massive creative and media budgets, it can be argued that the most effective new digital marketing today is influencer-based—a real person lending expertise and building credibility for brands. Research from the Influencer Marketing Hub backs this up. It reports that the influencer-marketing Industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 Billion in 2021, and that 90 percent of its recent survey respondents believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing.

Why so effective? One theory is that it’s the closest we’ve come to bringing authenticity and personalization to digital. According to a recent blog by Forbes Agency Council member Bradley Hoos (the italics are mine): “Influencer marketing is effective because it capitalizes on our most natural tendencies, emotions and desires. Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth at scale, where people listen to those they trust and those who can use storytelling effectively. When we dive into the psychological details, we find that natural emotions, fear of missing out, care and relationship-building play out digitally.”

Hoos summed it up this way: “These reactions are all natural, human and hardwired into all of us. The digital world has found a way to tap into personal connections. And because of these human connections, I think it’s safe to say that influencer marketing is not leaving the marketing mix anytime soon.”

Come for the digital, stay for the physical. As stated: The human experience is hybrid.