Digital marketer Steve Rubel has an interesting post entitled "Three Internet Careers That Soon Won't Exist" in which he predicts that social media managers, internet advertising salespeople and digital talent agents will see their jobs disappear as the tasks they perform are "integrated into other roles."
Interestingly, he also notes that "jobs in Web 2.0 are way off their peak" and that Indeed.com shows a "steep decline in listings that mention social networking, Web 2.0, Ajax and blogs."
But I wasn't particularly interested in Rubel's post because of its premise. I was interested in the flaws in the details.
"The web has finally become the dominant marketing and media platform and where everyone is largely focusing their resources."
I found this to be quite interesting. There's no doubt that the internet is the focus of quite a bit of attention. After all, it is the new kid on the block.
But currently the internet accounts for less than 10% of ad spending in the United States and a little more than 20% of consumption time.
Television, on the other hand, accounts for around 40% of ad spending and about the same percentage of consumption time.
A commenter on Rubel's blog pointed out a number of other facts that deserve attention:
- 80% of the world is not connected.
- More than half of global internet users don't have broadband internet access.
- For many businesses, offline advertising drives considerable increases in their online performance, highlighting just how powerful offline advertising can still be.
Throw in the fact that internet advertising isn't perfect and that it has been established that the people who are clicking on your internet ads probably aren't the people you want clicking on them, and it's quite premature to call the internet today's "dominant marketing and media platform."
What this demonstrates is the level to which the hype has blinded even ostensibly intelligent people to the fact that, when looked at in perspective, despite the internet's rise, there's still much more to the marketing and media landscape.
Is the internet important? Yes. Does it play a prominent role in the marketing and media landscape? Absolutely.
Because of this, I don't necessarily disagree with Rubel's argument that "everyone will be expected to know how to navigate the online landscape if they want to have a thriving career".
Being able to "navigate the online landscape" has different implications for different professions but it would be naive to assume that workers can thrive without an ability to leverage the online tools relevant to their professions.
But at the same time, amidst all the hype, I think an important fact is being overlooked - to thrive, you still have to know how to navigate the offline landscape.
After all, even though it may not be as sexy as the online landscape, it's still just as important, if not more important.
Especially in a world where integrated marketing and media is most likely to be the most effective methodology for reaching consumers effectively.
Given how much emphasis has been placed on the internet at the expense of less-hyped yet still-powerful media and the fact that younger generations of workers are naturally comfortable with the online landscape, it would not be surprising to see an ironic twist.
Employers may eventually place more value on workers who can also navigate the offline landscape because workers who can navigate the online landscape will be a dime a dozen.