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The Responsibility of Digital Marketers
By: Andy Weiss
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Forget the certification programs. Forget the years you logged at the dotcom. And even forget the iPhone app that the client’s CEO wants you to build. Your responsibility as a digital marketer is to crawl inside the head of your target and truly understand the role digital may or may not play in her life. It’s more that reading the strategy deck or research report. It requires getting out there and observing and interacting.
As digital marketers, it is easy to insulate ourselves in a digital cocoon and assume that everyone else at the Starbucks also checked in on Foursquare, that the drycleaner was tweeting during the Mad Men premier, that the bus driver reads books on his Kindle Fire, and that the woman behind you at Target is using Pinterest help plan her wedding. Some of that may be true. But odds are it’s not. Because we surround ourselves with the latest digital tools, toys, and apps, we often forget that not everyone is like us and we end up building campaigns, apps, and sites that speak to us.
That’s why we need to carve out some time where we put down our smartphones and walk into a Starbucks, a public library, or a grocery store and just observe. To take a look at what devices and tools (both digital and analog) they use to complete the tasks of everyday life. To talk to them. To absorb how they interact with technology and others. To examine the differences between women and men, young and old. Then to come back and re-examine that creative brief. We may find we read and interpret it just a little bit differently. And hopefully, that little daytime diversion will unlock an insight or idea that’s more relevant and meaningful to our target than if we’d just continued to plug away. So go now and come back different.

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About the Author
Andy Weiss is a digital direct marketer, consumer evangelist, change agent, and cultural anthropologist.
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