Navigating An Evolving Digital Landscape

BY Emily Nordloh // Business Analyst

There is an age-old phrase that says change is the only constant. I feel those five words are a very accurate depiction of the advertising industry. 

There is no question whether marketing tools and tactics have rapidly evolved over the last few decades—the growth in technology is staggering. My generation took to the social scene at the very end of the Myspace and AOL trend—in the late 90s and early 00s—when there were only a few popular networking and blog sites. Unlike Gen Z, I would not say I grew up with social media at my fingertips.

LinkedIn was born about 18 years ago, which may seem like a lifetime, but when you look at other industries, it’s a short timeframe to where we are today. A few years after LinkedIn came YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, then Tumbler in 2007 and Instagram in 2010. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, there are over 103 social media sites today with over 2 billion users worldwide.

The platforms that have shaped this industry are constantly evolving. Industry veterans who have been in the game for 15-20 years must learn right alongside those right out of college—who are likely to be more tech and social savvy if they’ve grown up with this technology from a young age. 

There is something to be said for embracing this change. It opens the opportunity for flexibility. When we reflect on the past year, entire media plans and goals had to completely shift focus in uncharted waters. Social media boomed. TikTok was the most downloaded app in March of 2020, and if you think it’s just for the Millennial and Gen Z crowd, think again. In just 18 months, its adult population grew 5.5 times. 

To gain a new perspective on these fast-moving trends, I initiated a discussion with my colleague, Christina, who has spent the last eight years at Levelwing. Before her current role, she worked in traditional media at a corporate printing company. I asked her how she stays informed in a constantly changing landscape while also being a mentor for her fellow teammates and new recruits who may have less hands-on experience. Fortunately for her, she started at Levelwing when social media was rapidly changing, and clients provided her with the opportunity to learn the space quickly. She credits adopting a continuous learning mindset and being inquisitive to help uncover new opportunities. Emulating this behavior cultivates the same mindset within the team, which helps empower them to be curious, resourceful, and ultimately learn how to be flexible and fluid. 

Not only is it important to instill confidence in your own team, but clients need to be able to trust your recommendations. Christina attributes having a proactive team that constantly monitors campaigns and the market while utilizing competitive monitoring and paying close attention to industry trends to help build the foundation for this trust. 

As I previously mentioned, TikTok is experiencing groundbreaking growth. From a veteran’s vantage point, Christina explains that a platform such as TikTok should be considered by a brand for many reasons including, competitor presence and the rapidly growing nature of the platform. 

To keep up with the evolving industry, everyone should be learning—whether you have been in the business for two years or twenty years. Be curious, research trends, and be open to all opportunities that may present themselves. Or as marketing and advertising industry leader Wenda Harris Millard put it in the Parker On Tap podcast with our CEO, “always be a student of the industry, there’s always more to learn.”