All trails lead to digital

Dec 15, 2014

Name one industry, which has not had significant change because of mobile and digital. Ok, fine, the DMV….but I challenge you to name a 2nd. I am sure the DMV, is getting on board any day now.

The rest of us have to learn digital and mobile. Now. The ride has been a mix of excitement, confusion, and pain. If you come from a traditional (print) advertising industry like I do, the old trail was like a good old fashion trail ride. On a normal trail ride the horses instinctively arrange themselves in order of leadership. For the most part they stay in that order. Once in a while a horse tries to break rank and get ahead of a lead horse. We all know what happens to that horse-they get bit by the lead horse for daring to challenge the pace (the goal of the challenger of course being to grab market share). But unless there was an incentive to get ahead, like a challenge from a rival media company, everyone focused on keeping their place on the trail, and making it to the barn (AKA: revenue and deadlines).

The entrance of digital, is akin to taking the same group of horses and riders, and entering them in the Kentucky Derby. Suddenly there is no trail, and no obvious leader. Some horses embrace the race, and take off at full speed. Other horses are more cautious, but eventually run to catch up. Several horses panic at the vastness before them, and refuse to leave the gate.

And the riders? Not a good time to learn to ride a race horse. Many riders just hold on, eyes closed and hope the race ends quickly. So they could get back to the trail ride. Others accept the change, hold on to the saddle, and race to win. It’s not a mystery which riders will win, place, or show. Or which ones will most likely lose.

No matter how badly we want our old familiar trail, it’s gone. In my next few articles I will discuss how and why to transition from trail riding, to running the Kentucky Derby.