Ben Hourahine Head of Strategy, Amnesia Razorfish
Are marketers embracing digital media fully?
It really depends on the individual, but that question has now gone way beyond marketing, which, as a whole, seems to have come full circle and is now excited about the opportunities.
How much the CEO embraces digital, as well as the head of IT and customer service, is critically important to what we can achieve now. Beyond helping with education and benchmarking, you can’t argue with brutal economics and many brands were shocked into digital last year through loss of sales to online.
The biggest opportunity, however, is also the biggest problem for businesses, because digital ultimately impacts every facet of an organisation. It is not discreet. Digital is breaking down boundaries inside organisations, in much the same way it has done so in society.
Is there still lack of digital talent in Australia?
The key difference is between technical understanding and talent. Finding both is hard, but if you can manage that trade-off you can find great people here.
There are a couple of rules I use when I recruit strategists. I have a neverending lead time; I always meet planners whether there is an open role or not because it can take such a long time to find great planners. I always look abroad and getting people straight off the boat means you have to attract talent that will find you, when they are looking, rather than the other way around.
What is the future for social media?
Seamless social applications will gradually replace brand pages and brand channels, which will focus us back on brand interactions and not just ‘like’ metrics.
Social media and the internet are not separate things; so many changes are true for both: more mobile, more video and more contextual (tap to interact). In the short term, the questions now are less about the consumer-facing side of social and rather how we create social businesses and social within businesses.
What will be the ‘next big thing’ in digital?
I’ve already mentioned social business and analytics, tap to interact and contextual mobile. The other biggie is the cloud. The cloud will accelerate all of the above and change almost every aspect of marketing.
Imagine you could do anything anywhere without any hardware requirements (the flashing lights under your desk, the whirring hard drive and those servers in the cupboard). It is more of a philosophical question really for us at the moment; it’s about freedom from all previous machine limitations and ultimately presents endless possibilities for marketing interactions.