The new ‘digital divide’

We have all seen the articles in the paper over the years about the so-called ‘digital divide’. According to Wikipedia, the ‘digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalance both in physical access to technology and the resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen’.

There is a different type of digital divide, a new type of ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’, if you like. And it has nothing to do access or limited access, but all to do with the fact that they people are doing nothing with that access. Those with access are simply not boned-up on what the ‘digital and information technology’ really means for them and their company.

The amount of preconceptions, half-truths and snippets of information that people bring to the table about online, digital marketing, mobile capability is astounding. And I mean, these are people who are well-educated, probably in a senior role in their company, and, who can put together a well-formed argument on almost any topic you care to mention.

But, when it comes to what ‘moving things online’, ‘search engine marketing’, or god forbid, email marketing, the amount of people who cannot work out the basics never ceases to amaze me. For good measure, these also tend to be the people who control the purse strings.

My personal favourites: first, the argument of moving all marketing online, and then flnding out that it is not working. Then being horrified at the cost of acquistion of using Adwords or display. Then the zinger: let’s rely on SEO to solve that problem.

Secondly, that other corker, lets get a database of emails, but only write to them once a month (take your pick) as ‘I hate receiving emails’. Ignoring the fact that unsubscribe rates for databases are below 1% in most cases, and also ignoring the decades of history from a related type of marketing, direct marketing, which also show that response rates INCREASE when you send more out.

Imagine you met your accountant, and told him or her your opinions about how things were going to work, and what results you expected. That tends not to happen, as most management understand how the world of finances work. However, with all things digital, this appears to evaporate!
This is the bit that amazes me. The infomation is out there. For free. Generally, there are experts you can ask, who can tell you all this in advance. But it is ignored, and all the personal prejudices and opinions are brought to the table.  The question I have is: how long can this continue?


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