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Digital Marketing Strives for Analog Goals

J. Walker Smith

The bleeding edge of digital tech provides marketers many new opportunities, but an old objective remains the same: brand name awareness​

The future of digital technologies is not digital—at least not simply digital. The analog edge isn’t going away just because digital technologies are taking over. As digital technologies continue to advance, everything analog is making a comeback. In particular, digital technologies themselves will look and feel analog.

For decades, as digital technologies have been in ascendance, consumers have had to master a digital interface, and indeed multiple, often inharmonious digital interfaces. With only a few notable exceptions, digital technologies have been designed with the underlying presumption that people could and would make any necessary accommodations to adopt them. It has been taken for granted that humans would become more digital rather than digital technologies becoming more human.

This is changing with smart speakers, which are a turning point in the trajectory of digital technologies. Voice technologies don’t require people to learn or do anything digital. Talking is all it takes. People tap into the digital power of smart speakers by having a conversation, which is the very thing that many experts argue sets humans apart on the tree of life.

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J. Walker Smith

J. Walker Smith is chief knowledge officer for brand and marketing at Kantar Consulting and co-author of four books, including Rocking the Ages. Follow him on Twitter at @jwalkersmith.​