What Is Digital? And Does Your Agency Need A ‘Head Of Digital’?

Portrait of Lovely Dogue De Bordeaux Puppy
SHARE
THIS



It’s a ubiquitous term now, but ‘digital’ is still baffling people, argues Jason Davey (pictured below), head of digital at Ogilvy. In this opinion piece he explains exactly what it is and whether agencies need a ‘head of digital’.

In a post-digital era, it’s a reasonable question. One that I get asked every other week by brand managers. Of course, the answer is never clear or simple; it’s the web, social, mobile, email, SEO, PPC, AR/VR, NFC, eCRM, IPTV – all that and more. The acronym list gets longer every day!

Jason davey head of digital

And that’s the point: everything is becoming ‘digital’, in the same way that 100 years ago everything became ‘electrical’. At one point, people stopped calling them ‘electric’ shavers and it was just the shaver, or the light bulb, or the toaster. You get what I mean?

In the agency landscape, ‘digital’ operates at the intersection of ideas, experiences and technology. It’s the glue that stitches together the vast array of elements that brands must deliver to be be truly powerful and effective. Digital is a loaded term: it’s both a noun and a verb. To make something ‘digital’ is to make it interactive; reacting and interacting to input from the user – unlike the more traditional forms of one-way communication we grew up with (for those of us who grew up when telephones had cords).

But why does anyone care? If it’s a loaded term with an unclear meaning, why do we keep using the word ‘digital’? Because it’s so damn important. It’s the most revolutionising phenomenon this world has seen for over a century; it’s changed business, economies, people’s behaviour, and even governments! I bet you’re reading this on some sort of digital device right now (whilst listening to music, checking your social feed, and working – or at least thinking about it).

The change has been so fast and widespread it’s opened up the opportunity for major disruption across businesses, categories and industries. This isn’t a diversion, it’s a major shift. With casualties. Those brands that don’t keep up, get left behind. Darwin would be proud: it’s evolution all over again.

To survive and thrive, brands need agencies with new sets of digital skills – but here’s the rub, they also really need all of the ‘old’ skills. Breakthrough customer insights, competitive brand positioning, big ideas, great creative that pulls on emotional heartstrings – something you rarely see done well by a ‘pure-play’ digital agency. That’s because they’ve mastered the new technology skills, but don’t possess the craft. And for your brand to matter in today’s world you need to seamlessly integrate crafted communications and experiences across the old media and the new – just like your customers do.

Do you need a ‘head of digital’?

So if digital is becoming ubiquitous, and seamlessly integrates across many forms of old and new media, do you need a ‘head of digital’ in your agency?

The answer is, “You bet.” At least for now.

Because right now, it’s the same as needing a creative director. You need a creatively driven agency that has all of the disciplines working collaboratively, including digital. In that way you make your brand matter more than your competition.

But, as any self-respecting head of digital will attest, the title’s days are numbered. Not the skill set, the title.

Because, like the head of direct marketing before us (and the head of social in the years to come), our job is to make ourselves redundant. To educate, infiltrate and agitate until everyone understands that digital is everywhere. It is everything. So, much like you don’t need a head of radio or a head of outdoor, you won’t need a head of digital.

Until then, an agency without a head of digital is like an engine missing a crucial cog.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Brother & Co. Tells Tradies To ‘Invest’ For Construction Skills Queensland In New Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Brother & Co. Tells Tradies To ‘Invest’ For Construction Skills Queensland In New Campaign

Brisbane-based creative agency Brother & Co. has launched its first campaign for Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ). The ‘Invest’ campaign speaks directly to tradies and their employers, encouraging them to invest in skills training to build a strong and sustainable future. To ensure down-to-earth relatable communications were created, tradies were cast as hero talent. Both stills […]

Social Soup Launches Social Media Management Offering
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Soup Launches Social Media Management Offering

Influencer marketing agency Social Soup has extended its service offering to integrate social media management into its tiered influencer programs, following a raft of new business wins. Social Soup’s recent client wins in social management include Church & Dwight across its brand portfolio, in addition to beverage brands Stolichnaya Premium Vodka, Angostura Aromatic Bitters, San […]

AdNews Editor Jumps Ship To Become GroupM’s Comms Director
  • Media

AdNews Editor Jumps Ship To Become GroupM’s Comms Director

GroupM, the media investment management group of WPP AUNZ, has announced the appointment of Rosie Baker to the role of group communications director. Baker is known to most of the media, marketing, and advertising industry as editor of AdNews. In this newly created role, Baker will take on responsibility for group PR and marketing, as […]

Cosmopolitan’s Bachelor of the Year competition secures over 21,000 votes
  • Media

Cosmopolitan’s Bachelor of the Year competition secures over 21,000 votes

Bauer’s Cosmopolitan magazine, in partnership with Tinder, achieved an impressive number of votes for its second Bachelor of the Year Award competition. Cosmo’s Bachelor of the Year celebrates modern Australian men from all walks of life and this year has seen an incredibly diverse group of contenders. Editor of Cosmopolitan Keshnee Kemp is excited to note this […]

Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve
  • Advertising
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve

In this opinion piece, MediaMath country manager Yun Yip (pictured below), explains how adtech platforms can make some serious inroads in cleaning up the industry. Ad fraud is a major concern in the media industry, being rated as anything between a mild annoyance to the very death knell of programmatic advertising, depending where one sits on […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years

In this opinion piece, Gavin McDonough (pictured above, left), co-founder and managing partner of Urban, shares through his own experience some valuable advice for independent specialist agencies. In November 2017, my brother Ryan and I celebrated 15 years in business. We started business out of my front room in Melbourne in 2002 – not with any […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Orange Line Bolsters Team With Two Senior Hires
  • Marketing

Orange Line Bolsters Team With Two Senior Hires

Digital marketing agency Orange Line has made two senior appointments following a series of new business wins and existing client growth. The independent Sydney agency has hired former Essence planning lead, Aishling Farrell (right in photo), as general manager of client service and strategy along with former senior ReachLocal executive, Stephanie Ford (left) as operations […]

W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges
  • Advertising

W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges

Susan Hoffman, co-chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K), has been appointed chair of judges for the 39th AWARD Awards. Known to challenge the status quo, Hoffman is behind some of W+K’s most memorable and game-changing ads, including Nike’s ‘Revolution’, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ and Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots starring Eminem and Clint […]

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers
  • Marketing

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers

Leading experiential marketing agency, Kreate Australia is embarking on an exciting growth strategy following its purchase by three of the agency’s existing management team from its UK founder, Steve Evans.

Carat Snares Media For Event Hospitality And Entertainment
  • Media

Carat Snares Media For Event Hospitality And Entertainment

Carat has won the media strategy, planning and buying responsibilities for Event Hospitality and Entertainment, the group behind popular hotel, entertainment and leisure experiences including QT Hotels, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, Event Cinemas, Moonlight Cinemas and Thredbo.

Top Tips To Build Millennial Brand Advocates
  • Opinion

Top Tips To Build Millennial Brand Advocates

In this guest post, Zach Hotchkiss (pictured below), country manager at CX management agency Medallia, offers his tips to snare, keep and then turn Gen Ys into your brand’s advocates…  It seems not a day goes by without an article about the brands and industries Millennials are killing off. From retail to transport to banks, the sectors that these […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!

This is a clarion call for B&T 30 Under 30 entries, although it's probably more mariachi band than angelic harbinger.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast
  • Media

The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast

Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network has announced that rising radio star and comedian Tanya Hennessy will take over hosting duties for its weekend breakfast slot in 2018. Hennessy will bring content to the airwaves each Saturday and Sunday morning from 7am to 9am with a regular rotation of guest co-hosts. The self-described talker, not walker […]

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients
  • Marketing

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle PR agency Straight Up PR has welcomed Changing Habits, Unichi Wellness, enerGi, SleepX, and Healthie Hampers to its client portfolio. Straight Up PR’s projects will include bespoke PR services and influencer marketing packages specifically focusing on communications strategy and execution, media and influencer relations, PR launch events, product seeding and gifting, […]

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia

Independent creative agency March One has developed a new fundraising event for White Ribbon Australia that turns a social moment into a social movement. Starting on Thursday 22 March and going until Sunday 25 March, Cheese for Change will ask Aussies to create a cheese platter that matters by gathering friends, family or co-workers together […]

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced
  • Marketing

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced

The winners of IGN Australia’s sixth annual Select Awards were revealed during a huge special event at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Friday, February 16. Some 225 Media & Game Publishers alongside 320 IGN Community Gamers attended the annual event. 2017 was absolutely crammed with terrific games and several categories were extremely tightly-contested. The top […]

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!

When it comes to an industry "who's who", you'll find there won't be too much who-ing with this impressionable lot.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs
  • Marketing

ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs

Mardi Gras is only weeks away and B&T has already hoisted the mirror ball and donned the hotpants to bring you this.

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering

Marketing consultancy International Creative Services has announced a new roster of diverse creative and production talent to provide a fully integrated solution for advertising and branded content. The roster includes a broad range of global and local directors, animators, illustrators, motion designers, visual artists, light projectionists, photographers and cinematographers – many of whom Australia will […]

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap
  • Opinion

Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap

Does the mere thought of data fog the brain and stuff the sinuses? Decongest immediately with this lozenge-like read.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Johnny Ruffo & Lynne McGranger Host Emotive’s New Video Series For HelloFresh
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Johnny Ruffo & Lynne McGranger Host Emotive’s New Video Series For HelloFresh

HelloFresh Australia, together with content agency Emotive, have launched a new video content series hosted by Home & Away actress Lynne McGranger and entertainer Johnny Ruffo. Dinner Diaries showcases the talent eating their way across the country as they drop into HelloFresh customers’ homes to see what the nation are cooking at dinnertime. The campaign […]

AppNexus Appoints VP Of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Experience
  • Advertising
  • Technology

AppNexus Appoints VP Of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Experience

Independent advertising technology company AppNexus has announced the appointment of Antoinette Hamilton as its vice president of diversity, inclusion and community experience. Filling a new position at the company, Hamilton (pictured above) will spearhead initiatives to promote a diverse and inclusive global community within AppNexus, broaden the range of the company’s talent pipeline, and drive […]

Mango Melbourne Appoints New Head Of Comms
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Mango Melbourne Appoints New Head Of Comms

If you were to lick your computer monitor while reading this Mango story, it may actually taste like a computer monitor.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Pac Mags Appoints Sales Leadership Team
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints Sales Leadership Team

Look, it's not one but two positive stories about the magazine industry today! You wouldn't read about it, would you?

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Three Ways To Propel Your Career Now
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Three Ways To Propel Your Career Now

Need a career kick-start without having to wear a feather boa and shake maracas about the office? Read this and pronto.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine