I'm in a unique position, I can take an "inside out" approach to Digital Marketing because of my unique background. I've been a CEO for the majority of my business career and understand the complexity of running an organization. As well, I've been doing this, meaning Digital Marketing, since the mid-90's. That's as long or longer as anyone.

I was a CEO over 30 years and have seen a whole lot of change and nothing is changing as rapidly as marketing today. Years ago there was usually no more than one or two trade publications that everyone needed to read to keep up with whatever industry segment you were part of. Those "trades" were published daily or weekly but there was a limited number of them and everyone was pretty much equally informed. That's certainly not the case today. Our inbox's are inundated, I know mine is. 

More important consumer's had a few limited ways to educate themselves about product choices. Obviously that's not the case today either. We've entered an era, for the very first time, where consumers are fundamentally ahead of the brands that serve them and from my perspective this is a huge danger for organizations that don't respond to this new challenge -quickly!

Consumers, both B2B and B2C are connected and this connectivity has empowered them like never before - and this is just the beginning of all this.

As I teach my students, Tim Berners-Lee only gave us the World Wide Web 24 years ago. While it may seem that it's been around forever, and for most of my students it has been, it's still nascent. 

Now all buyers of products or services have the ability to inform themselves like never before and they are using their empowerment, and this is true for both consumers and businesses, to educate themselves about products and services that they're interested in and more important we all have the ability now to know the companies behind those brands and products.

Consumers are smart and getting smarter and the challenge for businesses of all kinds is how to adapt to these new consumer demands. Many companies (may I say most?) are struggling with these changes. But the good news is that they don't have to.

Here's the bottom line, every company needs to be a media company now. You need to able to produce targeted valuable content and distribute it through the right channels at the right time. This content needs to be targeted, strategic and immediate. We're all impatient now, we want what we want when we want it. Those organizations that position themselves as the thought-leader in their segment will be the winners. I shudder to think what will happen to those that don't.  

The  good news is that digital marketing is within the reach of everyone. Those same technologies that empower your buyer empower you too. I don't care if you're a lawyer, a medical organization, a consumer products company, a non-profit in search of a donor base or any other type of organization - you have the ability to start a two-way dialog with your buyer. Your challenge is that buyer is going to go somewhere else if you don't. That's what Inbound Marketing is all about; building a reciprocal relationship with your buyer that educates them and makes you the thought leader in your space. You have to become a reliable, trusted source and be indispensable to them.

I like the term "digital arbitrage". You leverage your uniqueness, those things that distinguish you, against the new technical capabilities that are available to you.

I am really blessed that I spent years in an industry, fashion, that changes more rapidly than any industry I know of. In the apparel industry you're only as good as what you're going to do next - and that "next" means tomorrow or at best next month. So, as a young man I learned that you have to keep looking forward. You have to forget what the competition is doing and focus, like a laser, on forward trends. This was great preparation for Digital Marketing, a field that is growing and changing exponentially.