4 insane but true things about digital media growth

For one of my Michigan State University classes, I was asked to discuss where I think digital media will grow and how it will impact careers in marketing and public relations in the future.  Below is my answer:

An area that I see growing currently and think will continue to grow is businesses outsourcing elements of their web presence that were previously done in-house.  For example, a large number of college campuses have transitioned over to using Google’s Gmail or another cloud e-mail as their e-mail and web calendar function for employees and students. But it doesn’t just stop there. Businesses are now using blogs instead of newsletters to communicate with employees and customers, social media sites as their main communication medium with customers, public relations sites to send out news releases instead of e-mailing editors directly, etc.

Figure shouting by using an RSS feed
Companies are using external media sources vs. their own website to communicate information

One of the ways that I think this trend will most impact businesses is that websites will become less important.  Instead, a company’s blog, social media pages, and external media hosting sites will become more important. This has several implications both for a business and those looking at a future career:

  1. Businesses may no longer need to host their own website. This will free up server space as well as time previously spent by the IT department maintaining the server/back-end portion of the website. This may limit the number of IT jobs, or it just may change them as IT departments focus on other aspects of a business.
  2. Transliteracy skills will become more important.  As mentioned above, content is more important than design. With this in mind, it will become very important that those promoting companies on the web be able to communicate their message across various digital media platforms (podcasting, video, tweeting, etc.)  I would not be surprised if we see the words “transliteracy skills” showing up in job postings and in application materials.
  3. Online reputation management and protection of confidential data will become even hotter topics as businesses struggle with the two-way communication aspects of social media and storing their data on external servers. I can see a whole new market for online protection businesses because of this trend.
  4. Funds previously spent on advertising purchases will begin to fund new positions in public relations and marketing.  Most of the tools that will be used now are free (such as most social media) or low-cost in terms of dollars, but do require a large amount of time and maintenance.  I think companies will begin to shift dollars from advertising towards hiring more staff in their public relations/marketing departments to maintain all of the digital media tools that the company uses.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree?

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