It’s time to dump “digital”

“Digital” has become a superfluous word

Many years ago, adding “digital” as a qualifier was necessary to make a distinction with the “analog”, the old way of doing things. But now, almost everything is digital by default. So the word has served its purpose. It’s time to retire it in those situations where the “digitalness” of something has become the norm, not the exception.

People don’t take “digital” photographs or watch “digital” TV for the sake of them being digital. They don’t consciously see “digital” advertising, they don’t listen to “digital” music. They don’t say things like “digital” media, “digital” newspapers, etc.

People are not “digitally” connected consumers, they are not “digital” shoppers, they are not buying things because of a “digital” strategy.

We are all just people. We are all customers. The tools do not matter so much, it’s the results and the experiences that count.

People have always been connected, people have always been social. We are people who buy things, enjoy things we love, and tell our friends about them. We just do so in the modern world.

The tech and nerdy industries will continue to talk about digital innovation and digital strategy and digital advertising, while the world around them carries on not giving a crap about how things get to them.

Though they are important tools, technology and transformation are only a means to an end, not a goal in itself. Businesses do not need “Chief Digital Officers”, “Digital Project Managers” et al. Though well-intended, using “digital” in a job title does not reflect a functional organizational mission, nor does it highlight a key organizational objective. Managers do not need to shift their focus onto digital technology or digital tools as such, but onto the best path to achieving key goals, such as delighting customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Time has come to disrupt the disruptors. And to focus on what truly matters.

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