The Future of Digital Marketing is Human

By Ted Lim

This piece was first published in Marketing Weekender Issue 304

What would we do if we found an uninvited guest in our house?

Just because marketing now has the technology to reach someone even in the privacy of his or her home doesn’t mean he or she will want to start a conversation with us, much less buy what we are selling.

The future of digital marketing may look blindingly bright, but we should be mindful that the person we have spent so many marketing dollars to reach is a living, thinking human being who can literally swipe us away.

Effective reach is not effective engagement, it doesn’t necessarily translate into transaction. So what do we say or do when we are face-to-face with this person we have made so much effort to reach?

A good marketing proposition – digital or not – is like a good friend people want to spend time with. Friends get us, understand our pain points, offer us a hand, make us think and feel. We listen to what they have to say and may even buy what they are selling.

Times have changed and so have the channels marketing uses to reach potential customers. But what moves people – love/hate, security/insecurity, a good laugh/a good cry – is timeless.

The best digital marketing is human.

digital marketing ted

Creative Consultant, Ted Lim is AdFest 2020/2021 Jury President of Branded Entertainment and Effectiveness. He was Cannes Lions Jury President and honoured by AdWeek as 1 of 13 global creative leaders who is innovating advertising worldwide. Ted led Dentsu Asia-Pacfiic to a Cannes Lions Grand Prix, the D&AD Black Pencil, the Facebook Award for Innovation, the Asia-Pacific Effie Gold Award, Campaign Brief Asia’s Most Creative Network 2017 and 2018 and AdFest Network of the Year 2017, 2018 and 2019.


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

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