Technology has caused major disruption. The Digital Revolution has impacted almost every aspect of daily life. It’s torn down global barriers and empowered average people everywhere.

Sure it feels like digital has significantly changed the way marketers think about marketing. There’s access to more data. People have control over the conversation. And answers are expected real-time. But even with all of this change, marketing in the Digital Age is really quite simple. It goes back to mastering the basics.

Here’s an easy analogy from fellow strategist Ingmar de Lange. Take the idea of a baker.

Pre-Industrial Revolution, the baker was a central part of a small village.

  • He had personal relationships with his customers.
  • There was daily dialogue between him and his customers.
  • There was a shared context as everyone lived in the same village.
  • He offered a consistent habitual experience.

The Industrial Revolution changed things. The local, familiar butcher was replaced with the faceless factory.

  • The factory had no relationship with its customers.
  • Factories talked to their customers; there was no dialogue.
  • With distance grew lack of shared context.
  • The focus was on product and operations; there was no personal experience.

The Digital Revolution is disrupting things again. This time, it’s boomeranging marketers back to the basics. Today’s brands, big and small, are behaving like those local, familiar village bakeries from days long gone.

  • Brands strive for personal 1:1 relationships with their customers.
  • Rather than talking to their customers, brands are creating more dialogue with their customers.
  • They embrace shared contexts with their customers.
  • The focus is on brand experiences and not just functional product features.

Lesson for the Digital Age is to put focus back on the basics. Embrace the shared overlap between brand and customer. Develop a genuine relationship with customers. Live the brand’s core purpose. Have a consistent brand personality.