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Digital Advertising Leaders Brought Together
By: Don McLean
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What happens when you take the 20 most exciting “success stories from leaders in advertising, marketing, search & social media” and put them all in the same place? A really good book. Pioneers of Digital, by Paul Springer and Mel Carson, brings these stories together as a sort of history of digital thus far. All in all, there are 20 success stories that would get even the most seasoned professionals fired up to do something more.
There are many great takeaways from each digital pioneer in this book. Thomas Gensemer, one of the masterminds behind President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, reminds us not to “let the head of IT dictate policy; remember what the function of IT is for.” June Cohen, who brought TEDTalks to the web, reminds us to “Stay curious and adopt early,” as well as "Don’t assume you know what your audience wants.” Let us not forget Kyle MacDonald who with one red paperclip started a digital storytelling journey like no other. MacDonald traded a paperclip and 14 trades later walked away with a two-story farmhouse in Canada, reminding us to “Consider how you’d manage the ‘story’ of your project in real time.”
With each master comes the background story, how they got there, and a few strategic thoughts to walk away with. They all have a different story. They all got to their level in a different way. Now it is time to develop your story.
Springer and Carson, outline ten steps that were most important to the successes of these digital pioneers. Here are a few to give a taste of what makes each of them great.
One: You don’t have to be original, but relevant and ‘of the moment.'
Four: Some of the best ideas come from stepping outside the sphere of digital. Many of our pioneers had ‘other lives’ that informed their innovations.
Seven: Make decisions in real time: don’t expect a campaign to roll out online to a pre-determined agenda.
Eight: Make something that satisfies needs. Look for ways to fulfill an audience’s desire rather than force in digital where it will offer little that’s new.
Ten: Create experiences that are fun, engaging, and stimulate an emotional response. Keep it simple.
These are only half of the takeaways but they shed light on the essence of Pioneers of Digital. Springer and Carson dare you to be in the next edition of the book. What steps will you take to get there?

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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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