Bob Knorpp of the Beancast (which I’m on tonight) alerted me to this statement by Yates Buckley of Unit 9, made to coincide with last week’s Creativity and Technology event at London’s Saatchi Gallery:
“If you are a creative and don’t know about technology you’ll be out of a job soon.”
It’s a statement that I imagine touched a lot of raw nerves as it zeroes in on the debate raging in agencies today. In fact, I’d point to another quote made by Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade the other month that nicely encapsulates it. Greenslade talked about the fundamental divide between those who think the digital media revolution is transformative, or whether it’s tactical.
Substitute the word marketing in place of journalism here:
The split (in the pro and anti camps) is both philosophical and practical.
“There are those (with whom I agree) who believe that the digital media revolution is in the process of transforming journalism and those (such as Murdoch and most traditional newspaper publishers) who believe the net is merely another platform rather than an instrument of transformation.”
It’s a complex argument, but the truth as always surely lies somewhere in between.
I tell the 20-something execs at Cow that the skills set they’ll need in ten years time is different to the skills set they have now (and we have a responsibility to help them get there). That’s due to consumers, and so agencies, straddling the old and new media divide, meaning that you still need to know about the old way of doing things while also embracing the new.
Beth Harte in fact expresses it perfectly in her post ‘PR 2.0 will double your workload‘.
Perhaps the voice of sanity in all this comes from Iain Tait of Poke, an agency that’s squarely at the forefront of digital marketing. Iain talks about the dangers of getting carried away with technology for the sake of it:
“Now that we’ve been invited to the party and have money, influence and power, I worry we are like a bunch of kids with the keys to the sweetshop. Do we need all that? People like things that are free and simple – money likes stuff that is slick. Building big things is fun and impresses people, but it has no value.”